Columns, Opinion

The Next Four Years: The lessons you aren’t expecting to learn

Everyone comes into college with certain expectations of what they will learn, who they will become and how the next four years of their life will go. For me, I came in expecting to get a degree in journalism, maybe have a minor in political science and join as many clubs as possible.

Beyond that, I had no idea what college was going to throw at me. As I head into my senior year, I now realize I learned and experienced so much that I never would have expected as an incoming freshman.

When I began college, I was fairly sure journalism was my only career path — I was going to be an investigative reporter. I did not realize how many different career opportunities I would find just within the College of Communication, nor how I would fall in love with other academic fields as well.

By the end of my freshman year, I added advertising as my second major. And by the time I was a junior, I was researching marketing communication Master’s degrees I could apply to.

Be open to changing your major and your career path because you will stumble upon other subjects you love and may even want to keep learning about. I am still majoring in journalism and love my classes, but I also want to further my education in a different field.

Outside of the classroom, I knew I wanted to join clubs. But if I told my freshman year self that I would end up as the president of one, she would be shocked.

The presidents of all the clubs I checked out my first semester seemed so confident, put-together and motivated. I did not think I would be capable of handling all the pressure that came with being in charge of an entire organization.

Yet I sit here now, going into my second year of being president of HeForShe at BU. Taking on responsibility can be scary, and at times overwhelming. But I am so thankful I did something that made me a little uncomfortable at first. Through this experience, I learned so much and shared incredible memories with the executive boards I’ve worked with.

I look back at all of the things I accomplished in college and I know that freshman year me would be impressed.

When I first met the COM Ambassadors who gave me a tour of my college, I thought they were such successful students balancing a million clubs, jobs and internships. I never thought I could be that type of student, but throughout college I pushed myself to do all of the things I wanted to do and learned how to balance a busy schedule.

I look back on every job I took on, and I am so proud of all I managed to accomplish over my last three years. When reflecting on my accomplishments, I can’t help but think about the incredible people who stood beside me throughout this journey.

I knew I would make friends in college, but I did not realize how many amazing people I would have the opportunity to meet. Growing up in a small town with little to no diversity was part of the reason I left, but it was still a shock when I was suddenly surrounded by so many people with such different backgrounds and experiences.

Diversity has enriched my life and gave me new perspectives on the world. Even classes were better than I expected because the heterogeneous rooms lend to overall better learning experiences.

Despite having such phenomenal people in my life, I have always been a pretty independent person. But I did not know that I would learn to actually love spending time with myself.

In college, everyone is always busy and you are going to eat alone from time to time, which is okay. There will also be times when you are constantly surrounded by people, so having moments to yourself is truly more valued and fun in college.

Learning to not only be alone, but to enjoy it, was such an important lesson. Now, when I go to the gym or grocery shop by myself, it can be a fun excursion even though they are mundane tasks.

Every college experience is unique, and while you may not learn the surprising things I did, I can guarantee that you will not be able to predict everything that will shape you and help you grow. It’s a rollercoaster, but I have certainly enjoyed the ride — even with the unexpected twists and turns.

Just keep pushing yourself to learn more and do more. Encourage yourself to step out of your comfort zone. That’s what made me the student I am happy to be today.

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