Before entering college, I've heard so many stories about how grueling, toxic and stressful freshman year could get, that this would potentially be the most difficult experience I would ever have to go through. And yes, for the most part, those stories did live up to reality.
Just like any other freshman in college, I had countless fears and uncertainties that bugged me every night.
In the span of eight months, I was urged to improve my social skills and to always put my best foot forward, to befriend people. Personally, there was a clear struggle on wanting to adjust and not simply adapt. Adapting required a change in behavior for the sake of "fitting in" and I didn't want that. Just a reminder, that no one should ever settle for such. Luckily and eventually, I was able to find my own group. It just required extra work and patience, especially being a commuter student.
Naturally, there were academic obstacles that arose. One example is switching a major and even adding a second one. I enrolled as a communication studies major. I chose it because it seemed like a safe haven. I then discovered that I wanted something more hands-on and practice-based. Since communication studies are very theoretical and broad, I then discovered that it didn't actually fit my likes... even if I initially thought it would. After two quarters, intense contemplations and several mini breakdowns, I switched to journalism. Ever since I was younger, I knew I wanted to work in the media - whether it be in print, television or broadcast. However, when decision day came, I became really scared and insecure, thinking that I don't currently have the needed skills to survive in that major. It took me quite a while to realize that the main reason why I'm going to college is to learn. Professors don't expect me to know everything, but I expected that from myself. Silly, I know.
As earlier mentioned, I also declared a second major, which was philosophy. The field has always intrigued me. To be honest, I've never had to read such challenging texts in my life... but I enjoy it. It pushes me beyond my limits in a good way. It introduces me to concepts and theories that I've never heard of. More importantly, it doesn't only make me more logical. It also makes me more empathic and understanding of others. I started to vicariously live through the texts.
I eventually overcame the aforementioned challenges. As I ponder upon it now, I'm thankful that the good always outweighed the bad.
The good came in the form of new friends, significant learnings and deepened self-understanding.
As I head off to sophomore year, I plan to bring this good with me.