Of Learning and Change

So how are you feeling at this point in the semester?

I currently am feeling pretty good. I know I have a lot of work coming up, so I feel stressed about that. But I don’t know, I feel pretty calm right now, but yeah, there’s a storm brewing ahead.

You’re a junior, right? So how has being an upperclassman been different than the first two years of college?

I really like being an upperclassman. I know what I like and I know what I don’t like on campus. I have kind of taken a bigger workload this semester. Because I want to have a more relaxed senior year. But yeah, I like it.

How have you had to prioritize things in your schedule, because there’s a bigger workload like others, other people or other things that you care about?

I definitely see less of some of my friends this semester than in the past, which is kind of sad. But I’m pretty good about trying to schedule lunch or things like that to see people. But I’ve definitely felt overwhelmed in terms of my extracurricular activities and just setting aside time to do stuff like that and then also just time for myself, working out especially. It’s kind of hard to find time to do that if I have class all day, Monday, Wednesday, Friday. And I don’t want to get up super early. And then when I’m done with class, I’m tired and hungry, and I just want to be alone for a little bit. So yeah, it’s been interesting but I’m kind of starting to find a balance now, now that we’re close to the end of the semester.

What do you wish you could have told like your freshman self now looking back?

That’s a hard question. I would say that people and things change. And you’re not always going to be friends with the same people and you’re not always going to be doing the same activities, and your major is going to change. Lots of things are going to change in a very short period of time, and it’s gonna be very overwhelming, but it’s okay and it’s for the better. And you’ll find your way, and what you’re supposed to be doing, whether it be in college, or not, later on, but you find your way, eventually.

How do you feel about change in general? Are you regretful about anything that’s changed, or is it more like you’re always moving forward?

I’m the kind of person who doesn’t like to regret anything. So, I don’t regret anything that’s changed. Some of the changes, if I think back on them, it does make me sad but a lot of them have been good and positive, and I think all of it just really helps shape me or the person that I am today. And I’ve learned a lot about myself, these past two, almost two and a half years here. And I’m honestly thankful for all the changes because I have learned a lot about myself and I think it’s good character building and experience and it’s part of life.

What’s the biggest change that you’ve undergone in college, big realization or turning point?

I’ve had a lot of friend changes. Well, I mean I’m still friends with a lot of the same people – I haven’t had a falling out or anything with anyone. But in terms of who I’m closest with and things like that have changed a lot and I think that’s because I’ve changed. I don’t think I’ve changed, and I say this because I’m biased towards myself, but I don’t think I changed in a negative way. I think coming out of high school senior year, I was very comfortable with who I was and I knew what I wanted, I knew what I liked, and then coming here freshman year, I was very overwhelmed. It was a new experience having to make new friends again, having had the same friends since elementary school or middle school. That confidence in myself was definitely shaken, a lot. And I tried new things and just hung out with different kinds of people trying to find who I was again. And I think the past two years, I’ve still been trying to find the confidence in myself that I had when I left high school. I think this year I finally am feeling very good about myself and the things that I like to do, I know myself very well. And I no longer let people around me or my friends or anything influence me in ways that I don’t agree with.

Has there been a specific person that’s like really been supportive of you trying to find that confidence again, in college or family or anyone else?

Yeah – I would probably say my best friend here. She was in my freshman hall. Her name is Mary Cook. She has been a consistent person by my side, since freshman year. She supports me in everything that I do and I don’t know, I just feel very comfortable around him. She’s always there when I need to make a decision and I’m not good at making decisions. So that’s helpful to have. But yeah, I really, really appreciate having her as a friend. And then my family of course. Coming to college, I realized how much of a homebody I am and how much I love my family. I talk to my family many times during the week and I know some people who don’t talk to their family at all. I know I don’t understand everyone’s family stuff, but I really appreciate my family and being able to talk to them multiple times a week is very important to me and they help guide me and my decision making struggles as well.

When you first met Mary, did you think or know that she was going to be such a consistent friend throughout college?

I figured that she and I would be friends, but initially, she was closer with another one of my friends who I thought we were going to be best friends forever like we were two peas in a pod. And we’re no longer as close like we’re still friends, but we’ve kind of grown apart. But yeah, Mary and I grew a lot closer together. So no, I didn’t think that, but as I got to know her better, I realized how good of a friend she is and how well we get along together.

What’s something that you’re looking forward to throughout the rest of the semester?

I’m in the choir. And I was in the Barksdale Treble Chorus last year, which I really enjoyed and I’m in choir, this year. I just really like singing, and my favorite time of year to sing, is during the holidays, especially coming up on Christmas. I just love all that music and all the winter concerts and the caroling and things like that so I’m very excited for that time of year. Even though it’s stressful with other things, it’s kind of nice to take a break and sing because I really enjoy doing that.

Any goals you have for yourself, in terms of personal growth throughout the semester and into senior year?

I’m currently working on self-motivation as a goal because I am definitely a person who gets burnt out a lot. I recently have lost interest in some of the things that I normally would really like to do, including just normal academics. I like my majors and I like the stuff that I’m learning but I just feel like I lack that spark or interest, and so I’m trying to work on being more mindful of being able to motivate myself better and find things that help me in that process. So I guess that’s kind of a very like broad, vague goal, but it’s something overarching that I’m working on

What’s one piece of advice that someone’s given you during college that’s been helpful?

Coming into college, I had a lot of people around me telling me that these are going to be the best four years of my life. And I feel like that puts a lot of pressure on college. You’re supposed to expect it to be the best four years of your life, even though you have no idea what that means and you have no standard to compare that to. And so I think coming into college, I had that expectation a bit. At one point I got upset over something, and it just wasn’t feeling like the best four years of my life in that moment. And I don’t remember who said it, but people were telling me that it doesn’t need to be the best four years – it can just be about the change and the learning process. You’re learning stuff in school, but you’re also learning a lot about yourself and you come out a better person for it. We just can’t put that pressure on school, because I don’t think every year needs to be the best year. So I think it was important, people telling me no, that’s not the case, and you shouldn’t think about college that way.

I remember some random adult telling me, “Oh, just remember college is the last four years, that you have to kind of be a kid,” and I think that’s more helpful advice because then you take advantage of maybe not taking everything too seriously.

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