Leadership Development · My Thoughts, etc.

“College Has Changed You.”

Having grown up in a family with very strong values and a community of people who shared many things in common, coming to college was strange. I wasn’t used to being around so many different people. The environment was something to get used to for sure, but I am so happy I experienced that change. In just 9 short months, Central has taught me so much about myself and has shown me so much of what the world has to offer. My experiences this year have led to changes in my views and broadened my perspectives, and I couldn’t be more thankful for that. But, every time I go home I tend to hear things like “college has changed you” and “you’re so easily influenced.” People say this as if it is a bad thing, but I am ecstatic to hear that I have changed. I am in full control of the decisions I am making, and I know how to balance the beliefs that I had before CMU with the ones that I have attained while keeping an open mind. To change is to learn, and that is exactly what I came to college to do.

From move-in day to this moment, I can say I have changed immensely. From the small things like trying a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup for the first time (thanks Makenna), to the big things like discovering what I am passionate about, I would have never had such a great opportunity to grow had I not gone away to school.

Let me begin by making this clear: my first year of college was in no way perfect, and first semester was especially rough. I had a very hard time adjusting to the college lifestyle and branching out of my comfort zone. From adjusting to having so many people in and out of my room to juggling homework with friends, I was overwhelmed a lot. I spent a lot of time in my room, sulking about not being home. I was in a constant struggle of never feeling genuinely content with life. It’s not that I was necessarily upset all the time, but there were just a few things missing that made life feel blah. And as much as I had hoped things would get better, I was genuinely scared that they never would. I was not openly accepting changes in my life nor was I allowing myself to learn from anything. First semester was definitely an emotional roller coaster, but I do not regret any of the the hard times. Without them, I don’t think I’d be this happy, or changed, now.

Surrounding myself with people who are all going through the same pits and peaks as me was one of the most comforting things of all this year. The friends I have made in the past nine months have impacted my life in incredible ways. These are the people I have had conversations with that I haven’t experienced with people I’ve known my whole life– conversations that challenged my conventional ways of thinking as well as my comfort level.  My friends have taught me that the best experiences come out of being uncomfortable, and I couldn’t be more thankful for that lesson. When faced with the opportunity to go on an adventure, they have taught me to always take it. From late night walks around campus to day trips to another town, these are times that we all really bonded and learned about each other. To Ashleigh Varney and Lucas Gustafson especially, I thank you immensely for being there for me on so many levels this year and teaching me so much about life. I really don’t think either of you understand the impact you have made on my life. Friendships you make in college are truly a different type of connection; you are all struggling, triumphing, growing, and figuring out life simultaneously. And that’s a beautiful thing to me.

Within the past semester, I’ve also learned the true meaning of the popular phrase “life’s what you make it.” If you want to be happy, you have to put in the effort. Bad things happen to everyone, but it is how we respond to difficult situations that makes all the difference. One of the biggest struggles I faced this year was balancing my happiness with the happiness of others. I am a people pleaser, so I normally sacrifice my happiness if it means avoiding hurting someone. I’ve learned to take a step back from situations though and try to see the good in all outcomes. The people I have met at CMU have taught me one of the most important things I’ve gained within these nine months: empathy. When faced with uncomfortable problems, I now evaluate why someone would feel the way they are feeling. People have struggled in ways I may never be able to understand, but I want to make more of an effort to. This has caused me to not get so frustrated in disagreements or just things that differentiate my friends and I. We all have our own backgrounds and lives before CMU, and that’s what makes us unique.

I also became aware of that fact that I struggle with channeling negative emotions when I came to CMU. Being a generally happy person, I tend to avoid/minimize things that bother me. This can viewed as a good thing, but only to an extent. I have learned that when you address negative emotions, you can so much more easily find the root of your problems. My friends have taught me that channeling my emotions is incredibly important, and I’d especially like to give Makenna Hogerheide a special shoutout for that. Thanks for reminding me that crying sometimes is okay and talking about problems is a great way to solve them. Learning this about myself had helped me grow so much and has also made it lots easier to deal with problems I face.

I sincerely feel that after this past year, I have changed greatly. And I am so proud to say that. I understand myself more, I’m more firm on my passions and beliefs, I have stronger views on social issues, and I have learned a lot about the world and the people living in it. Leaving my little bubble in Macomb has allowed me to see what else life has to offer, and I am grateful for both the good and bad experiences for helping shape who I am becoming. I’d say one of the biggest feelings of growing up has been understanding that it’s okay to not know everything or to have all the answers right now. My beliefs aren’t the only ones that matter and everyone has their own perspectives to keep in mind. So as long as I try my best in learning and understanding, I will feel accomplished. I just want to take as much time as I can doing so: learning about others, the world, and myself. I can’t wait to see where the future takes me, because I know that it has the potential to be great. I am growing, maturing, and learning my way through life, and because of that, I am becoming more of who I want to be.

So when anyone tells me that college has changed me with that sarcastic, negative connotation, I will respond contently with “I’d hope so.”
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{Spring Semester Recap}

As I did first semester, I want to recap some of the highlights of my spring semester. I’m doing this mainly to look back on and reminisce, but maybe you can find some enjoyment in them as well. 🙂

  • LEAD on Ice, when Angie and I dressed up in the Blades of Glory outfits that were passed down to us
  • LAS 2017 competition day and seeing the other side of the process
  • LAS in the D and staying up suuuuper late at night
  • Spring break with my best friend at Boyne Mountain and skiing for the first time
  • Going back to my high school and reuniting with old friends
  • The Corktown 5k in Detroit with my family
  • The night my suite mates and I battled against each other- Barnes 310 A vs 310 B. I’d say 310 A won (me & sar)
  • Marathon Hangouts with Shleigh, including our rockin’ workout sessions
  • Pulling off Relay for Life on such short notice, and having a great time doing it
  • Learning how to do a headstand and nonstop practicing them
  • Hiking around Mount Pleasant on nice day
  • Becoming a Leadership Safari Guide
  • Late night walks with Shleigh– especially the night we went from Target to Kroger to Downtown Mt. P for TWO HOURS
  • Going to Olive Garden with my suite mates and getting the best service ever from the coolest waitress
  • The Quinn XCII concert and the snapchat group that evolved from it
  • When my pals and I took a day trip to Lansing
  • My sister wives and all of our shenanigans, especially the night we sat in the parking lot and I lost my voice from singing so loudly
  • Doing headstands in dreamer with rose and kels
  • Hammocking around campus with friends on nice weekends
  • Playing football, soccer, and listening to music in the courtyard on sunny days
  • Taking Makenna to the physical therapist because she threw out her sacrum #momstatus
  • GETTING A BEAUTIFUL, WONDERFUL MENTEE

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