One of the first things I noticed around this time of month is how the trees started changing colors. As I walked to Brody, bright yellow leaves crunched under my feet. Being from Florida, the whole idea of fall, wi
th its crisp air and hot coffee was a whole new idea to me. This led me to start thinking about the other changes I was experiencing. College is a whole new beast, for sure, compared to high school life. There are so many good things that come with growing up, but I feel like no one ever talks about how the changes can be hard to handle at first. For example:
–School is so different! Now that I only have to go to classes a few times a week, there’s not as much instructional time. This means that I have to learn more on my own, whether that is spending time reading the textbook or taking the initiative to go to office hours. Yet, while struggling through my first chemistry midterm, I learned to strive for understanding. It’s no longer about going through the motions of a problem. These concepts are important and this knowledge is what I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
–JHU students are amazing. One of the first major events for freshmen is the club fair in the fall. From the aerial circus club, to Blue Jay Bhangra, to the ceramics club, there are so many different niche areas. I was amazed when I heard of juniors and seniors interning for the Senate or doing field work trying to stop the spread of malaria in Burkina Faso. While it may seem overwhelming when companies like Facebook and Google come to JHU’s job fair, it’s inspiring to see how much are capable of. All these opportunities are available and that could be you someday!
–All the new faces!! The hardest part for me about coming to college was leaving all the people I love back at home. I have been friends with the same group all throughout middle and high school, so it’s been hard not always seeing them in class or just having someone to instantly turn to for help. The thing is, you will find familiar faces. Those random people you sit next to in class or meet during orientation week will become your best friends. You bond during those late-night cram sessions where intense studying turns into fits of laughter as the night progresses.
These new experiences have changed me. They’ve shaped me into a stronger person. The overwhelming-ness of college is no longer scary, but it inspires me to keep reaching for all these possibilities. It has taught me to focus on the positive, (small blessings like chicken tenders at Late Night), and to keep working harder.