Hey class of 2019! My name is Catherine, and I’ll be a junior in the fall. I’m an Environmental Studies major and an English Literature minor.
The summer before my first year I felt a little apprehensive. While touring colleges, I never had ‘that moment’, that immediate feeling like I’d found the place I was meant to be. Obviously, I liked Allegheny when I visited, and I’m very happy with my decision to come here, but at the time, I still wasn’t sure what to expect.
My first week at Allegheny had moments where I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath and moments where I had more free time than I knew what to do with. Sometime between attending to all my classes, staying up late talking to my roommate, and going to a ton of different events I had found my place. I quickly started calling my dorm room home, and I felt like I was exactly where I was supposed to be.
My first year, especially my first semester, was a whirlwind. If your first year is anything like mine, it is going to be an experience. I loved my freshmen year, there were so many wonderful moments, and I gained so much that year. However, I also had many moments where I felt unsure of what I was doing. Moving away from all the friends and family that you’ve grown up with is a big change. With so many changes, you are going to encounter a lot of new situations, and in new situations you’ll probably feel uncertain of what to do. Looking back, I think the best thing I could have done was to embrace that uncertainty.
You’re a first year student, so it’s okay if you act like a first year student. It’s okay to ask the obvious questions. It’s okay to admit when you’re unsure. It’s okay to reach out for help, if you want or need help. No one expects you to have it all figured out.
Allow yourself the freedom of not knowing. Open yourself to all the experiences you can have. It’s okay to spend your first year trying a billion different things, even if you only try them once. With newness also comes a chance to start over; a chance to go after new experiences you never felt able to go after before.
You are going to have so many new opportunities in college. Not only in the classes you take, but also with the people you meet and within the community you are now a part of. Try not to let uncertainty stop you from pursing new interests. Instead, take it as a sign that you’re headed in the right direction; if you feel uncertain it’s probably because you’re gaining new experiences. Gaining new experiences and insight is what college is all about.