As my freshman year winds down and I take a look back I can’t help but smile at how my year turned out. Choosing where I wanted to attend college was undoubtedly the hardest decision I ever had to make. However, looking back now at that decision, I couldn’t be happier. Throughout the past year, I met some of my closest friends, found my calling, and learned quite a bit both inside, and outside, the classroom.
Perhaps the most helpful part of my freshman year was the people I met. I knew when I accepted the Leader Advancement Scholarship that it was a special program. However, I never dreamed of how awesome the people around me would be. From the workers in the Leadership Institute to members of my cohort, and everyone in between, there’s never a time where I questioned whether I could possibly be in better company. The impact that my cohort has had on me can’t be put into words. One thing the people around me have helped me do is to be comfortable in my own skin. It’s easy to say I was proud of who I was in high school but since coming to college I have truly been able to be myself. My cohort has literally become some of my best friends and has helped me every step. Additionally,
seeing their passion shine, day in and day out is something that has put things into perspective. Everything they do, they do for a reason. Whether it’s going vegan, shunning single-use plastic bottles, or encouraging me to vote whatever they do, they do with passion. They have helped me to be conscious of what I do, and be aware of my impact. As a result, I have not doubted for a second that I am a better person because of them.
Furthermore, I have had more opportunities to fulfill my passion than ever before and it has helped me find my calling. During high school, I had opportunities to work the Special Olympics but since coming to college I have been able to do more than I ever imagined. Throughout the past year, I had the privilege of being a part of the SOMI LEAD Team, going to the SOMI winter games, and have even been named SGA Rep of the Special Olympics RSO. During this time and the myriad of experiences I have had, I realized that working with students with intellectual disabilities, as well as teaching, is what I am passionate about and what I want to do with the rest of my life.
On a final thought, this past year has brought me more knowledge than I ever expected. Of course, I hit the books and survived the gruesome freshman year with my GPA intact. However, the knowledge I have acquired stems so much farther than the classroom. One thing I was not ready for coming into college was all the opinions and passion on every controversial topic out there. Whether or not you agree with their beliefs (which you won’t on every topic), you have to admire their passion. For example, even though I am not going vegan or becoming a vegetarian, I have learned tons about substitutes for meat, the harm it does, and the environmental impact. This is just one example from a year’s worth of learning about stats, governmental corruption, religions, and the list goes on. At the end of the day, knowledge is enlightening and I become more enlightened every day.
The past year has brought me friends, opportunities, and knowledge that continue to help me grow each and every day. But I know now, more than ever, that when they say college is the best four years of your life, they aren’t joking. Let’s hope next year can be half as fun as this one.