If I could go back to the beginning of my freshman year, I’ll tell myself, enjoy your time as a student. Being a student is perhaps the easiest thing ever; if only you work harder, you will succeed because it’s fair. There will be many things in the near future as you step out of school and enter the real world, where you find that even though you work hard, you can’t always succeed. So while you still have several years of school before you, don’t wish for winter break, then spring break, then summer break. Hope that days go slowly, that you learn more while you have all the opportunities at your hands to do so. Treasure all the people you meet, all the relationships you create, all the fun you have, all the struggles you go through, all these will be times that one day you wish you could relive.
If I could travel back to the beginning of freshman year, I would tell myself to be more social and focus more on my mental health. For as long as I can remember I have found a group of friends I get really close to and I usually stay within that group. I realize now that I need to branch out more to become exposed to the diversity of people. This is also important if I am to learn the art of networking. Nobody can get anywhere on their own so it is important that people are able to network and be able to ask for help or support whenever it is needed. It would also be nice just to know a lot more people that I can share experiences with. I would also have told myself to start meditating earlier in the school year. Meditating helps me keep peace of mind and I think that it would have been very helpful if I had begun meditating sooner rather than later. I also should have taken more time to do things that I enjoy such as reading and drawing so that I was not always so focused on school work. It is a healthy mental practice to be able to take a break from work that can be strenuous on the mind or cause stress.
There have been many times where I had to physically sit down and reevaluate my life this semester. It has been an incredible adventure and I learned so many things but if I was able to talk to my freshman self, I would warn him of the things to come. Coming into college, I was so excited to leave behind my home town and to live in a new city where no one knew me. I was so busy fantasizing about my new life in Ann Arbor that I didn’t really care about how hard my classes were going to be. I was at the top of my high school and nothing really challenged me academically up until college. I believed that I could take 18 credits my first semester of college and that was my first mistake. The classes wouldn’t be that difficult if I had put time into studying. I got my wakeup call when I received two D’s on my first two exams. I would tell my past self to first learn how to study and then to study more often. I also wished that I explored more fields. UMich is such a big school with so many resources and I regret not exploring options other than the health sciences. Although I still have a passion for health, I kind of feel tied down to that set path and I feel like I can’t really explore other options. There are many things that I kind of regret but I am also proud that I survived this far. My many mistakes have taught me how to pick myself back up and move on.
I remember Adam showing us this picture at the beginning of the year and thinking it was a nice idea, but not really buying into it. Little did I know that this year would be one of the most difficult and uncomfortable of my life. As a result, I experienced a lot of growth, or “magic”, despite being hesitant to change.
When I applied to the University of Michigan, I believed that I wanted to be a physician. However, a few months after my application had been submitted, I realized that nursing, or advanced practice nursing would be a better fit for me. Because U of M has a direct admit nursing program — meaning that students are immersed in nursing curriculum their freshman year — I would have to transfer into the program for my sophomore year. This has been a huge challenge and source of frustration for me.
This year I have had to be patient, advocate for myself, cope with uncertainty and anxiety, and work harder than I ever had before. Because I am not in the School of Nursing yet, and therefore don’t have a reserved seat in classes like those in the program do, I had to receive overrides for the majority of the classes I took; before I had even arrived on campus I was emailing professors begging and pleading with them to allow me into their classes.
Within the first two weeks I frequently called home crying, questioning whether I really even wanted to be in the health field or not. This uncertainty pushed me to pursue information about other majors, occupations, and even nursing. I started volunteering as a doula at the hospital, and fell in love with the idea of being a health care provider all over again; though a time commitment, and somewhat awkward first engagement, the connection that forms between laboring mothers and me is something I would never trade. These experiences have taught me to pursue what I want with a passion, and to try to learn something along the way. This year I’ve learned to love being uncomfortable because I know that the outcome on the other side will be something unexpected and worthwhile.
As I sit and type this, I’m still uncomfortable. The School of Nursing is notoriously unorganized, and has yet to alert me of their decision about my admission into the program. However, I know that whenever the news comes, be it “good” or “bad”, I’m going to be okay. The growth is going to happen whether I want it to or not, so I might as well embrace it.
Like most first-year students, I can honestly say that my life has changed in drastic ways in just eight months of being on campus. It’s insane to think that I have known everyone here for less than a year considering just how quickly we became a community together. There is very little in my life that has been kept constant since September. I have developed a love for tea, I’ve grown spiritually in countless ways, I have a tentative plan for my future now, I care less about what people think of my appearance, and I have proved the freshman-fifteen myth to be true. This is all to say that I have experienced so much more than I thought imaginable when I walked in through the doors of Couzens Hall for the first time.
If I could go back to that move-in day, I would tell myself that “the next eights months of your life are gonna be packed with the craziest, most challenging, and laughter-filled moments you’ve ever had, so be present for them. Stop scrolling through Instagram when you’re with your friends, you don’t need to document every cool thing you do on your Snapchat story, that text can wait for ten minutes after you finish your meeting, and that email will still be in your inbox after dinner, so live with your head up and not in a screen.”
Through these past months, I have come to see that when I have chosen to be present instead of on my phone, I can appreciate the small details in my life I would have otherwise missed. I know that I am never going to regret investing myself in a conversation with a friend instead of watching a video of a pitbull on Facebook, or smiling at a stranger passing on the street instead of checking my texts. I have wasted so much time on my phone, and I’m not gonna lie, I still do. I just wish I could have realized earlier how pointless all of it is. Social media doesn’t have to, and shouldn’t dictate my life. Weaning myself off of it has been hard, yes, but also incredibly refreshing and freeing. I’m glad that even though it took me a long time to recognize my unhealthy addiction to my phone, I did eventually see that it was a problem that needed to be fixed. Life wasn’t meant to be experienced within the confines of a screen, so lift your chin up, be present, and live.
If I could go back to the beginning of the year, I would tell myself to enjoy every minute. I spent a lot of the first few months worried I would not fit in and/or do bad in classes. Consequently, my memories from this time period involve me being stressed out, worried, and unhappy. If I could go back I would tell myself to relax and be myself. Once I did that I found the most amazing friends and have created some of my fondest memories. I absolutely love the experience that I had this year! I have grown, and developed so much and honestly learned so much about myself and where I want to be in the future.
My only regret is not starting to have the time of my life sooner. However, without that brief period of confusion I might not have appreciated what this year has become quite so much. If I had the option to go back, I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t trade where I am today, the friendships I’ve made, or the knowledge I’ve crammed into my brain for anything. I feel extremely lucky to be here and to be a part of the university of Michigan.
So, if I could go back and tell myself one thing I would say “your doing great!” Because honestly, I love my life and I love all the crazy experiences (even the bad ones) that got me here! I think moving forward I need to remember that even if I don’t like exactly where I am at a certain point, it is going to shape the amazing future I have ahead of me, and that makes me really excited!
Coming into college, academics and grades were definitely of priority to me especially as an out-of-state student who wanted to pursue a Nursing degree in 4 Years. And while that still holds true to now, there are definitely a few pieces of advice I’d give myself if I could go back to the beginning of first semester.
I can’t stress enough how incredibly important it is to plan ahead and to manage your time well throughout the school year. In most cases, we tend to push back assignments and study times because we’re “too lazy to start them earlier”, or “because we acknowledge the loads of time we have before the deadline”. Although I never found myself to be much of a procrastinator in high school, there were definitely times when I was noticed how stressed out and anxious I was the week before homework, papers, and projects were due. Good planning helps us create a sense of order and undoubtedly helps to reduce unnecessary pressure which is something we could all benefit from. And often times, our physical and mental health become better when we allocate sufficient time to study, plan for appointments, and even get together with friends.
Another piece of advice I’d tell myself would be to relax and have fun! College is a great time to meet new people, become more involved in new organizations, and to ultimately grow as an individual. I never would have thought I’d love Ann Arbor and its food the way I do now, let alone already signing an apartment lease with a group of girls I’d never even met before coming to the Mid-West. These opportunities and memories opened up because I was willing to step out of my comfort zone and try new things. Yes, college is supposed to a time of learning, excelling in academics, and becoming part of the leaders and the best, but we can’t forget that these next 3 years are full of potential memories if we’re willing to venture out and explore.
My freshman year in college has been a tumultuous but entertaining one. My time here at Michigan has been filled with memories, friends, and experiences that will help me develop for the time incoming. However, in spite of that, there were many challenges and hard realities that I had to face on a personal and mental note. As a part of the College of Engineering, my academic and personal interests often conflicted with the interests of my parents and my desires. Coming in to HSSP, I was debating whether or not a career in the healthcare field was for me. As i delved deeper and deeper into the year, I realized that my pre-medicine intentions were not my true calling. I wish I could tell myself earlier that it is ok to not be ok. In your life, it is ok to not be sure about your life intentions and be able to be satisfied with that. Often I thought that I had to be sure of my intentions, especially with those in HSSP and their desires to be in the healthcare field. Through the classes, clubs, and experiences I am now content with my career choice in Chemical Engineering and Computer Science.
At the beginning of my freshman year, I wish I had told myself that you just have to be yourself and learn to live. Through high school, learning was all about memorization and practicing the skill. Through my engineering classes, learning has become more of a skill than a repetition. I have become more content with being less competitive with my grades and actually being satisfied with what I have done. I am glad that I now know these things and can use them to be a better person ,student, and human being.
So coming to college, a lot changes, more than I could have ever imagined. I faced many challenges this year, some of which I came out with the “Dub” and others where I simply took a hard “L.” The biggest challenge I faced this year (which I am still working on overcoming) was taking exams. I have always been a less than stellar test taker; however, I was always able to make it out on top in high school. At Michigan, I’ve had a much harder time figuring out the best way for me to take exams. I’ve tried everything form wearing ear pugs, to sitting in the very first row of the lecture hall during the exams. Every time, I still did not do as well as I had hoped. I study a lot, and I am trying to find the disconnect of applying study to the material on the exam. My test taking skills have definitely gotten better from the first exam that I took here at Michigan but I still have a long way to go.
Dealing with failure, especially with exams worth so much of my grade, has taught how to be resilient. When I don’t get the score I want, it gives me a reason to try harder and harder each time I take an exam. I have definitely seen improvement and I am constantly finding different ways that are best for me to retain and apply the information needed for exams. I never really experienced failure in high school so this was a huge wake up call. Though I realize that failure is just a part of life and I must learn how to use it to encourage me. Even though I am still working on overcoming this obstacle, I feel I have grown to understand failure in a whole new way. Even though failing SUCKS, its something that I’d rather get a handle on and learn how to deal with now rather than later on in my life.
I’m sure I have a lot more failures in my future, but I just hope that I never give up and use them as fuel for dreams.
This was quite the year. Although it seems like assignments and exams drag on, the year itself flew by. I still feel like I was just in the Diag, exploring campus at Artscapade and trying to figure out where I would fit in at college. Now here I am, at the end of my freshman year, and it seems like it lasted barely a month.
With that being said, I have certainly encountered a few (a lot) of challenges. Of those, one sticks out: Make an effort to take care of yourself. This was definitely one of the greatest challenges I faced. I had to learn the hard way that if you do not take care of yourself, there is no way you can take care of school and perform well. So I have come up with 5 major points that I will keep with me for the rest of my academic career.
- When given the chance, pet every animal you come across.
- Studies have shown that they reduce stress
- Visit home to see your own animals
- Pet every animal that walks past you on campus
- Do not eliminate “you” time.
- Watch Netflix
- Get into bed sometimes
- Do the small things that make you happy
- Take care of your body and mind
- Start the day with a healthy breakfast
- Eat those 6 mojo cookies if they will make you feel better about your upcoming exam
- Your friends are your support system.
- Let them know about your classes and days
- Plan relaxing outings (or innings)
- Even if it takes time, you will find people you connect with
- Love yourself.
- Love yourself a lot
- Love yourself some more
- Love yourself the most
It was a crazy year, but it was one for the books and I would not change a thing (except for my General Chemistry grade).