I Wish I Knew is a series of personal essays written by the courageous young female ambassadors of UChic. Learn how to survive and thrive during your freshman year from girls who have been through it.
This week we are featuring UChic blogger and ambassador Sarah DeGeorge. DeGeorge is a student at Centenary College.
I remember the jitters of walking into class for the first day of freshman year, wondering if I looked alright, if I’d make friends, and what I would end up becoming at the end of those four years. Well, it ended up taking five and a half years, but I made it to the end with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and plan to continue with a Masters in Globalization and Development Communication.
Let’s take a step back though, and retrace my steps through my freshman year and all I wish I knew back then. After all, hindsight is 20/20.
I wish I knew that you shouldn’t base your college choice off of what is ‘in’. I originally wanted nothing to do with community college because it seemed boring and not like a real college experience. While it is true, that most community colleges don’t offer dorms, and you don’t get the luxury of moving out, it is still a college experience nonetheless. I remember being pessimistic about my first day of freshman year and figured it would be like high school all over again. But alas, I was proven wrong. During my time at community college, I was able to make friends, join clubs, and even be editor-in-chief of my community college paper. I was also able to delve into different classes and explore different degree options without the high ticket price. My original dream of going away to a four year university would have set me back $40,000 in my first two years, but community college only set me back $7,000 over the two years I was there.
I also wish I knew that it was okay not to know what I wanted to do with my life freshman year. I wish I wouldn’t have focused so much on what degree would create a lucrative career. I remember crying constantly because I kept changing majors in my mind. “Should I be a teacher?” “Maybe I should be an accountant.” Yes, it is always great to go for the “safe” degrees where you know there are jobs, but what if you don’t have any passion for those professions? I could have been an accountant or a teacher, but I am not the best at teaching and I do not like numbers, so while the jobs were there, my passion wasn’t. Luckily, my time at community college allowed me to take Communications courses which allowed me to write, edit, and publish a lot of different pieces. I took this love when I finally moved onto a four year college and continued to push forward with the degree. I interned for public relations firms, I wrote for a regional and local newspaper, and I involved myself in clubs related to the field of Communications. I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish what I had done if I did not have passion. The moral is: make sure you enjoy what you are doing because that will yield the best results during and after college.
Lastly, I wish I knew that most of time you will have to make things happen on your own. I felt like because I was a student, that the faculty and staff should help me with everything—WRONG. You need to be proactive in everything you do, from picking classes to making connections and networking. No one will hold your hand in college and you are in charge of your destiny. Once sophomore year came around, I was more focused than ever and made sure to make great connections with my community college advisors, professors, and even the staff, all of which I still network with to this day. This mindset followed me to my four year college and I now have a great base of connections for the future.
College is not scary and freshman year is a great time to learn. Whether you go away all four years or go to community college first, make sure to look at freshman year as a year of growth and opportunity. What you make of freshman year will be carried with you through the rest of your college career and will be the foundation of your future.