Looking Back on Freshman Year

Looking Back on Freshman Year

As I look back on who I was before college and who I am now, I can honestly say that I am proud of who I have become and cannot wait to see what the future holds for me.
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This time last year I was a senior in high school and getting ready to graduate. College seemed like a far away land, and while I was excited about the adventure I was going to take, I didn’t want to rush out of senior year. I was spending time every day with my best friends, hanging out in the art room instead of gym class, and trying to calculate who everyone in my grade had for senior assassin. My life was pretty care free but little did I know that life was going to start moving at a pace ten times as faster that it had before.

As August rolled around I was getting ready to move into my freshman dorm room. I was able to move in early for a retreat called FIRST and I was super excited, but I was also sad at the same time because I was the first of my friends to leave home.

On August 15th I moved into my dorm room and decorated it to my liking. It was sad saying goodbye to my parents and younger brother, however I was excited to spend the week at the campus lake house for the retreat. Little did I know I would meet some of my best friends during this one week.

The retreat was a blast and I didn’t want it to end. We did many service projects that really brought the Jesuit values of my university to life. I made so many great friends and couldn’t wait to hang out with them on campus.

After the first week of classes I realized that I knew nothing about college and what I wanted to do with my life. I ended up changing my major from Forensic Chemistry to Criminal Justice and was super excited about the path I was on. I also joined the Mock Trial club which I was extremely excited about.

I quickly made more friends than the ones I made on the retreat, two of which lived in my hall. Their room quickly became my room too because I would always hang out in there. My best friends from the retreat also became friends with the girls in my hall and the five of us hang out all the time. We are practically inseparable.

The classes I was taking in the first semester were much more difficult than I thought they would be. Mock Trial was also taking up a ton of my time and energy with all the effort I had to put into learning the case and getting ready for competitions. I also had two jobs on campus that took up a lot of my time. It was hard for me to find a balance and because of this my grades weren’t what I wanted them to be by the end of the semester.

Before I knew it, it was time to go home for winter break. I was so excited to spend time with my family and friends, make some money, and relax! Winter break lasted almost two months and by the end I was ready to go back because I missed my friends so much. It’s weird going home and not living with your best friends like in the dorms.

Finally, its second semester! My classes are going good and I am so happy to be back with my best friends. We are hanging out more often than ever before and I am happier than I have ever been!

So many things are happening and I got so caught up in it all. I had to figure out who I am rooming with, where I am going to live next year, what classes I need to take, and so many other things!

I figured out my classes for next year pretty quickly but had no idea who I was going to live with and where. Sophomore housing is quad style and my friend group was made up of five people. The two girls from my hall are rooming with each other again and going random with quadmates. I am going to be quading with my friends from the retreat but we need one more person. We were asking around for weeks until we found someone! I didn’t know her at first but she soon became a part of my friend group and now I’ve decided to room with her. My friends and I also got the nicest sophomore dorm on campus and we are thrilled!

The second semester of my freshman year sped by. Now I am finishing up finals and packing up my dorm room. I have grown so much as a person this past year and have made lifelong friends. Sure I have had my ups and downs but I made it through and wouldn’t have traded my experience for the world. I was able to work at two amazing campus jobs, compete at Penn State for mock trial, start writing for Odyssey, and even get to be on the planning board for the events on campus next year.

As I look back on who I was before college and who I am now, I can honestly say that I am proud of who I have become and cannot wait to see what the future holds for me.


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To All Student-Athletes Beginning Their Respective Seasons, Remember Why You Play

You are going to get tired. You are going to get worn out...

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Dear athlete,

The season is by far the most exciting time of the year. Big plays, good memories, traveling new places, and winning championships... But yet another promise is that season is also exhausting.

You are going to get tired. You are going to get worn out...

But remember that this season of your life doesn't last forever. Remind yourself why you play.

You play this sport because you love the game. You love the competition, you love your teammates and the friendships that you've formed, you love the lessons you learn aside from the physical aspect.

So each day, continue to choose the game.

It's not easy. But if it was, everyone would do it. But discomfort is where progress happens.

Quit dreading practices, quit wishing for rain, quit complaining about conditioning, and quit taking for granted a busy schedule that is literally made just for you. Tens of thousands of young girls and boys would do anything to be in the position (literally) that you are in. Take advantage of being a role model to those young kids who think the world of you.

Freshmen, this is what you have wanted for so long. Take advantage of the newness, take advantage of the advice, encouragement, and constructive criticism that your older teammates give you. Soak it all in, four years goes by really quickly.

Sophomores, you now know how it works. Be confident in your abilities, yet continue to learn and grow mentally and in your position.

Juniors, prepare to take the lead. Use this season to, of course, continue to sharpen your skill, but also recognize that you're over halfway done, so mentally and physically ready yourself to take the seniors' lead next year.

Seniors, this is it. Your last year of playing the sport that you love. Be a good leader, motivate, and leave your mark on the program in which you have loved for so long. Encourage the athletes behind you to continue the traditions and standards set by the program. Lay it all on the field, leave it all on the court, and leave your program better than you found it.

Take the season one day at a time and, each day, make it your goal to get better. Get better for your team, for you pushing yourself makes everyone else work even harder. So even if you don't get a lot of playing time, make your teammates better by pushing yourself so hard that they have no other choice than to push themselves too. And when a team has every single player pushing themselves to the max, success happens.

Take advantage of this time with your teammates and coaches, for they won't be your teammates and coaches forever.

No matter what year you are and no matter what your role is this season... GROW. You are an integral part of your team and your program.

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Intimidation Isn't Always What It Seems

Always ask yourself this question when feeling intimidated...

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A few months ago, I read something online that really stuck with me. I don't remember who said it, or where it came from, so my apologies for not accurately crediting the genius who spoke these words, but it said this:

"Am I actually intimidating, or are you just intimidated?"

Growing up, you constantly find yourself in situations where you feel scared or uncomfortable. I don't think there's one person on the planet that can say that they didn't feel intimidated at one point or another growing up. Maybe it was by the "popular kids" or by a teacher or a supervisor. So many people can make you feel a certain way and it can be scary when you're a child growing up. Maybe you felt intimidated because they were bullies or they were a strong personality.

But after reading this quote, I started to think about every time in my life that I felt intimidated. Walking into a new job, taking a chance on writing, seeing a group of girls in the cafeteria - whatever it was, I thought of it. And my perspective completely changed.

It wasn't necessarily that the people who I was encountering or the situation I was entering was scary. In fact, most times, those people turned out to be incredibly welcoming and nice, or that situation was nothing but spectacular, but at that moment, I was completely intimidated. It was something new and the unknown can always be scary. But looking back, it wasn't that those situations and people were intimidating - it was that I was intimidated.

Being intimidated is completely natural. It'd be crazy to say 'hey, don't be intimidated' and expect people to actually feel comfortable. But it's something to think about moving forward when you find yourself in a situation where you feel uncomfortable, anxious, or even scared. It's easy to get caught up in the moment and let that timidness get the best of you but think of that question and realize that it's not necessarily the situation - sometimes it's you letting the situation get the best of you.

At the end of the day, people are just people. Everyone has boogers and everyone had good and bad days and to be honest, the people who others find intimidating are usually the ones who are just better at putting up a front. They're the ones who find having a hard exterior is easier than being vulnerable and letting others in. Don't let those people scare you. They're usually fighting a battle that they're taking out on the people around them - and that shouldn't scare you.

"Am I actually intimidating, or are you just intimidated?"

Think about it, feel it, let it wash over you, and don't let those feelings get the best of you. Most of the best things in life are just past that line outside of your comfort zone.

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