As I’m writing this, it’s been exactly one month since I packed up my most precious belongings and began the next chapter of my life. I can still remember my palpable nervousness as the day dawned, as I snuggled comfortably one last time in my own bedsheets. Sitting here now, that morning feels almost like a lifetime away. The photographs from this summer, artifacts gleamed from an ancient Egyptian tomb. Memories are clouded by a film, separating me from the life once lived and the life I now experience on a day-to-day basis.
Stepping beyond the only community I’ve ever known, I recognize how isolated an unchanging life can be. I look back and appreciate the pleasurable simplicities, while disregarding the petty tribulations. In a sense, I’ve never been so free to feel, express, act, live, and BE myself. You develop a real sense of self-confidence and motivation when you’re living on your own – you have to. College isn’t the place for indecisiveness. Choices, decisions, and goals must be made and pursued with rigor. Otherwise, you’re floating through a sea of opportunities with no direction whatsoever.
I’ve learned to plan ahead, think on my feet, and stick my foot in so many people’s doors that I’ve started to wonder if I’ve become a nuisance (and it’s only the first month). But above all, I’ve come to appreciate communications and networking as the means to move me beyond.
College is merely the platform on which you launch yourself into the world of careers, travel, and experiences. ACT scores and high school accolades can only get a student as far as the college entrance gates. When you walk through the doors of your first class, the accomplishments of the past four years dissolve seemingly into midair. What matters now is how you perform, prepare, and plan for the next four years.
I’ve heard many people describe college as the “best years of your life.” This sentiment may be so, but I’m looking at college as the “years of endless growth and opportunity.” You are what you make of your experience, and I intend to chase down every project involvement, every leadership certificate, and every potential connection within these next four years. It’s an exhilarating race against the clock – the countdown until I begin a career and a lifelong pursuit of knowledge, wonder, and love.
Next month, I’ll be traveling to Columbus to cover the annual ScienceWriter2014 conference for Ohio University, where science journalists throughout the country will be convening to discuss the future of science journalism.
As a new member of the Society of Professional Journalists, I’ll now have connections and access to journalists throughout the country, working in the fields of study I one day wish to cover.
And above all, I’ll be graduating from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, one the most prestigious journalism schools in the nation, with an extended, supportive “Bobcat Family” scattered throughout the world.
It’s a great day to be a Bobcat.
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