Three years ago, on a warm August day, my family and I drove in a packed car up to college. We arrived at my new res. hall to be greeted by the “helping hands” and the building RAs. My first year on campus was full of new people, experiences, and food. Most of the friends I met that first semester were destined to temporary as we all tried to find ourselves in our new environment.
That first year, I fell in love and had my heart-broken. I lost friends I thought would be around forever. I struggled to find myself and stay afloat in the process.
The second year, I started to find myself. I made some friends who stayed around a bit longer and some that are still some of my favorite people. I started working in the college’s IT department under the web administer and helped the school migrate their website from one platform to the WordPress CMS. She taught me a lot about managing a big project and how all of the parts that come together to make the transitions. With her recommendation, I interviewed for a summer position and worked all summer long as a Student Technology Assistant where I helped faculty, staff, and students with their technology problems as well as assisting the professional staff with their projects.
The third year was by far my favorite. I was the president of the Computer Science Club, where I helped to expand the club and hosted successful events that led to Student Senate naming us the club of the month in April. I continued to make friends through the club and I also found my passion for digital forensics.
It wasn’t all sunshine and roses. Each year had its challenges socially, academically, and mentally. But, through the shadows of the challenges, I found myself.
I was told by people that they didn’t think I’d make it through my first year away from my parents. But in Hartwick, I found a home and a place I could thrive. Through the years, I learned many lessons both in the classroom and out. The lessons I learned out of the classroom will stick with me forever.
- Mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression can explain your actions but they do not excuse your actions. You’re still responsible for what you do and say when you’re anxious/paranoid/manic.
- Don’t talk down to people and don’t assume you know more than the person you’re talking to.
- People will surprise you.
- Respect others, always.
- Ask questions, be curious
On a sunny Saturday in May, I put on my graduation cap and gown, three sets of honor cords, and I walked across the stage to shake the college President’s hand as I received my degree.
That August day three years ago, I arrived on campus a shy, curious, anxious girl. On that stage, I was still anxious, more curious than ever, and ready to take on the world.
It still hasn’t sunk in that I’m done with college and that there will be no more quizzes, homework assignments, or tests. My days of living in a dorm, and sharing a bathroom with 10+ girls who don’t know how to properly flush the toilet are over. The academic rooms that I spent so much of my time in are now just a memory. The people I spent every day with/around are scattered around the country. How can I be done already?
Until next time,