I still can’t process the fact that after this semester, I only have one full year of college left. I’m no longer the eighteen year old who thought her college experience was going to be filled with nothing but studying, exhaustion, and crappy eating habits.
Although those things did happen, its been so much more than that. Every day here is a learning experience and there are a few key things that I feel can help me later on in life as well.
1. Everyone has a story
Back in high school, because of the way zoning worked (at least in my state) students were grouped together by neighborhood. This typically (but not always) ends in most schools having a largely homogeneous population in terms of socioeconomic status and race.
When you attend a university like mine, its so easy to generalize the entire student population. But the reality is that I’m surrounded by such a diverse group of people. Race, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender identity, and nationality are just some of the things that set us apart. However, they are also key to what has connected the whole community. This has made for a great learning experience both in and outside of the classroom.
2. Stepping out of your comfort zone is scary but can be worth it in the end
There’s so much to discover on college campuses that at first it can seem overwhelming to many people. If you go out of state, like I chose to, not only do you have to make new friends but you also have to get acclimated to the new academic system. Its easy to want to give up but taking baby steps are the key.
There are so many new things to try but my advice would be to try everything. Join clubs. Get a part time job. Find a mentor. When I first arrived, I didn’t do much else besides focus on my classwork which is one of my biggest regrets. Although now I’m a bit more involved, finding the courage to step outside my comfort zone and try something new is one thing that I’m still working on.
3. The people you surround yourself with can make or break your experience
The friends made during college are such an important part of the experience. Its great to have people with which to take classes and attend events on campus. Also, college can get stressful at times and its good to have a stable support system. I’m fortunate to have made such an amazing group of friends who have been so supportive of me and aren’t afraid to put me in check when I make bad decisions.
On another note, don’t let yourself be surrounded by negativity. Its very common to find people who only want to put you down. This can have a big impact on you. If your “friends” aren’t helping make you a better person then its okay to find new ones who will.
4. Don’t let yourself become your biggest enemy
During my first year here, I knew that I was in the wrong major but having the comfort of a set career path kept me from pursuing other options. I kept telling myself that the reason I couldn’t succeed was because I was still adjusting to the new environment. Continuously having this internal battle with myself didn’t help the situation and I eventually had to seek outside help.
Changing my major was such a scary experience because I was no longer sure about my future. I was now faced with so many career options that had never even crossed my mind. Looking back on it, I’m glad that I finally made the decision to switch majors because even though my future is unclear, I know that ultimately everything will work out and I’ll be a lot happier.
Hopefully by next year, I’ll be able to add a few more things to this list.
Until next time,
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