With the first few weeks of college behind me, I have decided to write a letter to myself with some goals for the next four years. The beginning of this new chapter in my life (or maybe its the ethics and philosophy courses I am taking this semester) have caused me to think about what I want to get out of the next four years and who I want to become. I am in this unique stage in life where I get to be malleable; to adapt, to change, and to be molded and then remodeled. I do not want to outline exactly what I want to study or accomplish or even which classes I want to take and experiences I want to have. Instead, I am leaving it open and uncharted so that I can carve my path as I go. I am excited for the next four years and hope to take advantage of the resources and people around me because I know they will lead me see the world in ways that will help me to continue to define myself.
Be spontaneous and open to the serendipity
Stray from structure. Live in moment. Be present. I have always thrived on structure and schedule, always needing a goal and a plan of action. Over the course of the next four years, I am challenging myself to go where my experiences lead me and to let go of fear of not having a clear structure and plan. I think I will find that it is in the experiences that I allow myself to venture off to or in that aren't planned or in my comfort zone, when the limits of my comfort zone will be expanded.
This is somewhat cliché, but I have come to realize in the few weeks that I have been here that rejection and failures, as small or big as the might be, are the experiences that fuel me and inspire me to grow. I don't want to let failure hold me back, instead I want it to be what ignites me to try harder and learn from my mistakes. It is easy to feel inadequate in this expansive pond of incredible talented, bright, and creative people, but I have an opportunity to learn from them and use it as a way to push myself to never settle or give up.
I want to get my feet wet in a lot of different areas; whether it be sitting with new people at every meal, taking a wide variety of classes, or going to performances or club meetings that I would have never thought to go to, I hope to have a wide variety of experiences even if I dislike some of them. Try out for swing dance club or the adventure club or may even the running club. After all, isn't this what college is really all about?
Invest in friendships
I have realized that I learn the most from the people around me. I am challenged and inspired by the conversations I have and people I meet. My perspectives and ideas on issues are enhanced and shifted by the people I am surrounded with, and it is those conversations and shared experiences that will lead me to uncover my aspirations. Even though it takes the extra effort of making plans and maybe not getting done what I might need to get done, I want to take advantage of the incredible people in this community. At the end of my four years here, I am confident that it is the people I am with and the relationships I build that will be most meaningful and impactful.
As much as I hate to admit it, up until this point I have , for the most part, quantified success. In the next four years I hope to reshape my definition of success to encompass a more fulfilling definition and one that cannot be measured by grades or achievements. This is a daunting goal and one that will not easily be fulfilled, but I think that my experiences here will help me reach a definition that reflects more accurately reflects my values.
So if you are like me, a freshman in college, or even just starting a new phase in your life, consider not what you hope to accomplish but what you hope to get out of the experiences and challenges we are all destined to face.
Together, we can hold each other accountable. Now close your eyes and jump in!