Who I Am Because of What I Have Done
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Politics and Activism

Who I Am Because of What I Have Done

A lot changes in the first two semesters of college.

Who I Am Because of What I Have Done
Sydney Cole

It is always healthy to look back at what you have done. Not critically, but to see how you have grown and accomplished things. We all have heard a thousand times that you can learn from your mistakes. On the contrary, you can learn a lot by thinking and reflecting on who you are because of what you have accomplished. Everyone experiences and goes through something different their first year at college. Here is a reflection from my Freshman Year.

No matter how many times you move, spend summers away at camp, or take hard classes in school, nothing comes close to fully preparing you for moving to college. The physical adjustment of moving in and suddenly having to walk everywhere on the planet is manageable. The emotional toll of beginning college is borderline insanity. I live in a dorm with 1,200 other people, yet somehow the first days were lonely. Torn between wanting to hide away in my room and try to make friends, I began to critically think about my life.

As it turns out, making friends is actually one of the less stressful elements of college. When you move in, everyone is on the same page when it comes to wanting to get to know people and wanting to find friends. Once classes are in full swing, the realization of what you signed up for really starts to set in. Each person has different classes and they vary in difficulty based on your major of study. I would not even classify any of my classes other than calculus as difficult, but the combination of all of them made me wonder if my brain was going to randomly implode within my head. That was when I began to wonder, what convinced me that college was a good idea? Can't I live a perfectly content life without a college degree? More importantly, do I even have the mental strength and emotional endurance to survive four years of strenuous schoolwork at a collegiate level? The tweets and memes you see online about how people always contemplate dropping out of college are all too real. These tossed around in my mind for weeks on end, but no one had the answers for them. Only I could answer my own questions through personal contemplation and reflection.

Another huge adjustment about starting college is your faith. For people who grew up going to church, you most likely went to church where your parents went. College is the first time that many people have to take full responsibility for their faith. Whether you are religious or not, you can relate to how challenging something like this is. Your faith is constantly tested in a number of ways once you get to college. It is not by any means easy to keep growing in your faith while adjusting to college life. Continually growing your faith is challenging enough without the trials of college to add to it. You can't live without having struggles after being uprooted from your home, family, and friends all at once. Then you are just plopped down in a brand new environment to face the stresses of college. Hopefully, you realize that your faith is something you can control and keep constant in this transition. That is what it was for me because no matter where I go or who I am with, God is always there with me and for me.

"Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

Throughout my freshman year at college, I struggled a lot with my future and purpose. I have always been they type of person to look at the big picture and the end goal. Before college, school and church were relatively separate for me. Even though I was in Young Life in high school, no one from my school went to my church with me. College is where these two separate entities collided, and that means physically and internally. Instead of wondering just what I was going to do with my life, I started to wonder how God's plan for me directly fit into it. More directly, how does what God has planned for me connect with what I am doing today and tomorrow right here in college? My purpose on this earth is to serve other people by helping those in need with the skills God gave me. I definitely do not need a six figure paycheck to be happy, and I do not need much more than the clothes on my back to give my time in service to others. Because I knew these things, I struggled with the question of why I was at college. The simple question of, "Why am I here?" helped me to understand who I am throughout this year.

I study Building Construction, and I enjoy it a lot. The community and people around the major of study are amazing. For as much as I do not mind going to classes and growing in my education, I just love helping others more. Every year I travel to Honduras with the Carolina Honduras Health Foundation and Doctors Against Borders for about 10 days. In Limón, Honduras, I work as a translator in the pharmacy that we have inside of our clinic. For hours upon hours each day, I stand at a little window handing out medications and giving directions for each and every one of them. It is an exhausting and draining task while being in a completely different environment from home. There isn't anything else I would trade in the world for this. Most people would complain about working all day every day for a week while getting paid, while I essentially pay to work long hours in a nice hot and humid climate. The simple reward of a smile on someone else's face makes this worth its while. So why was I paying countless thousands of dollars for a college degree when all I wanted to do with my life was help people? It took me most of the first semester to figure out the answer to this problem. My college degree fits into God's plan for me because I can serve him by helping more people. By graduating college, I will get a job that makes a lot more money than a job that I would be able to get right now without one. A job like this will include me making more money by doing something I enjoy and expanding my set of skills. By accomplishing those things, I have the chance to help more people and make a difference in more people's lives than if I didn't finish college. That might not seem like a big realization, but it is for me. This realization is what will motivate me to graduate college and grow within God's plan for me.

To say my first year at college was a rollercoaster of things is an understatement, to say the least. I might have doubted some things, but a reasonable amount of doubt forces you to think things through. I realized a lot about myself by taking the time to contemplate elements in my life. Whether you are a freshman in college, already were one, or will be one in the future, I hope something that I learned about myself this year is relatable for you.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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