As the days left in my senior year are dwindling down, I began looking back on the time I spent at James Madison and the memories I made. Graduating with a job lined up, amazing friends by my side and cords down my robe seemed to be so far-fetched at some points of my freshman year. But I did it. And you all can too.
JMU is a place filled with ample opportunities to make friends, step out of your comfort zone, and get involved with organizations that are so much bigger than yourselves. You will meet people who have the same passions as you, and you will also meet people who will teach you about yourself.
Don’t take a second of it for granted. You will blink and realize that graduation is about a week away and wish you could do it all over again.
What I would tell my freshman self:
- Let yourself grow. When you first get to college it can be easy to find yourself missing your high school friends, and planning visits home to see those familiar faces. It can be scary to be thrown into a brand new school with so many unfamiliar faces. Use this time to rediscover yourself. Your next four years spent at JMU will top your high school years, so don’t waste it dreaming about the past. The person you will become at graduation will be a completely different and more accomplished person than the freshman you arrived as, let it happen.
- Get involved. As a freshman, it can be intimidating to reach out to new people and join clubs. Push yourself. Make your four years mean something. You will learn so much about yourself the more you try new things. The more you put yourself out there, the more meaningful of an experience your college career will be. There are people out there just like you, go find them.
- Be present. Even when you are feeling exhausted from the week, and down about an exam, put it behind you and focus on the good. Live in the moment. Spend time with your friends, and really be there for it. These are going to be your best friends for the rest of your life, so don’t spend your time dwelling on the small stuff. You will only be walking distance from your best friends for a short amount of time, don’t waste it.
- The sky is the limit. It IS possible to achieve all of your goals if you just try. Believe that you are good enough and go for it. Apply for that internship that seems out-of-reach. Major in something that will challenge you. Don’t fill up your schedule with electives that you lack interest in, take the class that will push you.
Enjoy every second of being at this fabulous university, and make the most out of every day. Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. These four years will fly by and you will be wishing you could do it all over again, so do it right!