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Student Blog: Takeaways and Turning Points

How my first year of college shaped me and what I learned from the experience.

Student Blog: Takeaways and Turning Points

As I packed up the last of my boxes and prepared to leave my college dorm behind, I couldn't help but reflect on everything that made my first year of college what it was. I entered a brand new place during a global pandemic and trained for an industry that could barely exist with the given health risks. After graduating through a YouTube video and spending six months inside, the prospect of meeting new people, studying, and exploring a new place seemed daunting.

I had a better situation than a lot of my peers: some in-person instruction and extracurriculars, and a theater department that worked tirelessly to make the best of this year. There are so many things I did not know about myself when I first started college. I had no clue I would perform as the lead in many new plays, improvise with my best friends, or even become a certified spin instructor. This first year was such a transformative experience and I really learned who I am as a person beyond my education.

Some of my favorite memories from this year include dancing with my friends in class across campus, acting in a plexiglass box, and trips around Boston. Navigating college felt similar to reading a book under the covers where it can be hard to see the next phrase but you just keep telling yourself one more chapter. I remember feeling like the school could close from Covid spikes at any moment and making the most of my time entirely unsure of when it would end. My high school closure took me by surprise, and I learned to live every day in the present, instead of solely looking toward the future.

There are so many things I want to take with me from this year, and that doesn't refer to the stack of clothes blocking the rear window of my car. I want to continue enjoying every moment while also not putting pressure on any single experience. The most valuable part of my life has been the people I have connected with, and I learned that what makes the world spin is what you do for others rather than yourself. Everything builds to something, whether you can see it now or much further down the line, and it all becomes part of you in one way or another.

I need incoming students to know that it will all work out. You will find your friends and have amazing experiences regardless of what clubs or classes you make it into. You are so much more than your name, hometown, and current majors, and people who care will always want to hear more. You are still figuring yourself out, and I don't think that ever ends, at least I hope it doesn't. I know that being yourself can be so challenging when you don't even know who that is, but just treat everyone with the utmost kindness and respect and you can get pretty far. There will be a lot of low times, but the greatest highs can make up for everything in time. Come into this time with the best attitude and the biggest dreams, and I am sure you will surprise yourself in ways you cannot even imagine.

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