It's Okay Not To Find Yourself Right Away In College

It's Okay Not To Find Yourself Right Away In College

There's always still time.
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During the last few weeks of my senior year of high school, as graduation day got closer and closer, I was feeling on top of the world. My real life was about to begin. I was heading off to college to pursue my dream, and I was living on campus, away from home for the first time in my life. I remember the excitement that came with sending in my housing deposit, selecting my room and connecting with my future roommates via “.edu” email. I wore my UMass sweatshirt with pride everywhere I went.

Well, as it turned out, my first year fell a little short of my expectations. I’m not saying it was terrible, but, well, before I even started college myself, I had heard enough college stories—fictional ones in movies and books, as well as true ones from friends and family members—to start wondering and imagining my own story, and the reality didn’t quite match the picture in my head. A lot of the time I remember feeling kind of lost socially and emotionally, and I went home almost every weekend because somehow, weekends at home still felt more exciting than weekends at school. I was pretty confused, because by the end of high school, I felt as if I’d found myself—found my crowd, my place, and the kind of person I wanted to be—and at the end of my freshman year, I didn’t feel so sure of any of that anymore.

Here’s a secret, though—most of the friends I have now have also admitted to not having a super glamorous freshman year. It turned out to be more common than I let myself believe, especially when I watched other people in my year stroll through campus looking like they had it all figured out, and then wondered where I might’ve been going wrong. The answer was nowhere, and the more people I heard that from, the more I began to realize two things: 1) There is not, in fact, any specific point in time when a college kid is supposed to find himself/herself, and 2) No one can actually say for certain whether people ever “find themselves” at all. One thing I can say for certain, though—I am not the same student now, in my third year, as I was my first year. I joined clubs and activities that gave my on-campus life more purpose, and introduced me to a lot of amazing people. I realized I was unhappy in my major and switched to a field I was more passionate about. I thrived in my classes and raised my GPA. I sought out environments and situations that felt more comfortable and right for me. I learned so much about life, about people, about the world, and, yes, even about myself. Does that mean I’ve officially found myself? Who knows, but I sure feel a lot more confident these days than I did when I first started college.

My message to second-semester freshmen—and to high school seniors approaching graduation—and really, to anyone who feels like they’re still struggling to figure themselves out in these college years—is this: There’s still time. There’s always still time. In fact, I’m starting realize how ridiculous the pressure to get a completely clear sense of yourself within a certain time frame is. Not only does everyone grow at their own pace, but also, life and people are constantly changing and you really only need to worry about doing what feels right for you now, in the present. It’s perfectly okay to feel a little lost, and the sooner you stop dwelling on it, the sooner you’ll be able to get out and discover what makes you happy and fulfilled, and your personal growth will naturally follow.

Cover Image Credit: Ariana Leo

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11 Reasons Why You Should Release Your Wanderlust Spirit And Study Abroad In College

It will change your life forever.
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As I entered college I told myself that I would never study abroad in the next four years of my studies. I knew I didn't want to be away from home for an extended period of time. I loved to travel, but I never thought it would be possible for me while I paid for college. Things changed, however, and this past January I took a course with the Orchestra on my campus to Sweden and Norway. While it was only for one month versus the 3 to 5 of an entire semester, my time abroad changed my perspective of wanting to go and study elsewhere. Here are 11 reasons why you should study abroad while you are in college:

1. You get to explore the world.

Unless you are blessed with wealth, having the chance to travel the world for long periods of time don't come very often. Not only do you get this opportunity, but it typically doesn't cost much more than you already pay for tuition.

2. You mature in a different way.

Sure, being a college student helps you mature... but having to go through that same experience while learning and adapting to a new culture just seems to make you mature differently. You learn financial skills and budgeting and discover how you learn.

3. You appreciate the smaller things.

While the food there was DELICIOUS, often times I had no idea what I was being served. This was definitely something that I always took advantage of having the privilege to know.

4. You learn about your own culture.

Turns out, it isn't normal to only get a single slice when ordering pizza. While at two different pizza places, you are served an entire pizza with a fork and a knife. This soon became like number 3, and I learned to appreciate sliced pizza.

5. You learn about the culture of others.

While learning what you intended to study while abroad, often times there are other museums and cultural visits. I was able to see many different churches, historical museums, and traditional places such as the Grand Cafe while I was away. While walking the streets, you also learn the atmosphere and how people spend their day to day lives.

6. You can practice your language skills.

With not having known more than a few key phrases before I arrived, you quickly learn what different signs mean. Even though in Sweden and Norway pretty much everybody speaks various amounts of English, it was fun to learn new words and phrases.

7. You gain independence.

You have to spend your money wisely, you have to take transportation you've never taken before, and you have to learn how to manage your time. You gain all of this while being able to explore a completely unfamiliar place. You learn to rely less on others and more on yourself.

8. You learn to adapt.

In my case, I had to learn how to adapt with the orchestra. We performed in a wide variety of places and some of which we barely fit on stage. We played in acoustic cathedrals and then we performed on dry, theatre stages. We never knew what we faced until the day of the performance.

9. Studying abroad is different than a vacation.

Typically, when you are on a vacation you go somewhere to relax and have fun. While studying abroad is both fun and relaxing at times, you are also there to gain more knowledge about your desired topics. Studying abroad provides you with a greater understanding if different topics, unlike a vacation.

10. You connect with others.

Not only did I connect with many people within the orchestra, but I was also able to connect with people I never knew I would! For instance, this photo shows two of my sorority sisters. The woman on the left is someone who lives I Sweden that I had never met before!

11. You make memories you will never forget.

I don't think I need to say anything more.

Cover Image Credit: Paige Wormer

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Global Commercial Laundry Market 2018 Manufacturers, Types, Application and Region

Global Commercial Laundry Market 2018
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  • Whirlpool
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