I am writing this blog in the middle of a study session for the last final of my first semester of college. For some background information, I’m an Advertising, Public Relations, and Marketing Communications Major, with a Graphic Design Minor, at Ithaca College in New York. As I end this semester, I want to reflect on what the last 16 weeks have been like.
It is said that nothing can truly prepare you for college, and I cannot disagree. I was terribly homesick when I arrived. I didn’t socialize as much as I typically do, I was traveling back home most weekends, my sleep schedule was off, and overall I was incredibly anxious most of the time. Classes were going well, and I was understanding concepts, but one thing was bothering me: I was happy, but was I enjoying my time? “First semester is the worst semester,” I was told. Did it have to be, though? The most important and helpful realization came to my mind: I am the single person who has control over my own life. If I wanted to make the most out of my time, gain knowledge, and create memories to last a lifetime, I had to make the changes myself. I needed to get out of my comfort zone. So, I made a list of changes I wanted to make:
Join a couple of clubs
Add a minor to study
Make plans with fellow classmates
Spend more time in social areas (less time in my dorm)
So I took it upon myself to make those changes. I went to my academic advisor and requested to add a minor, and it happened within 24 hours. I went to two club meetings that week, planned to go to the movies with some classmates, and started doing homework in the Library. After about a week, I noticed the changes were working, I was excited for each day that I had a club meeting, and I was excited to be social and talk about adding a minor. The key to it all was self-motivation. I had to WANT to change, to grow, to achieve even more. Now, it is okay to stay in your dorm room and be less social some nights, or travel home when you miss your family, pets, and at-home friends. It is not bad to not know what you want to study, let alone add a minor in. The point isn’t to do/don’t do those actions, my message is that it is okay to grow and change. Baby steps, you’ll get there. Do what you need to adjust. Your experience is yours, so do it how you want, as long as you're healthy and safe. Going out of your comfort zone is a great thing to do. Now I am taking classes for my minor, exploring Ithaca with friends, and having study groups, and I have been promoted to a leadership position in the club I am in. Week 1 Louie would be proud.
The first semester is not the worst semester, it is the one that teaches you how to grow.
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