Since the beginning of spring semester, a question has been lingering on my mind: what is going to happen this year? Though this is a loaded question that no one can really answer, I find myself asking it at the beginning of each semester. My transition from high school to college has not been smooth and I have gone through a lot of changes that have shaped the person that I am today.
I started college in Fall of 2005 after graduating from high school that summer. I attended another state university in New York, stayed there for two years and had a rocky experience, took some time off to think about my experience, transferred to Stony Brook in Spring 2008, and took another year off before returning to school last semester. I took time off from school for a second time for several reasons.
My financial situation was not where I wanted it to be, and everything bad that could have happened, happened but they all occurred at the same time. My car was beyond repair, my laptop broke, and I was in credit card debt because of my car. I could not complete school assignments or study when bills were constantly being delivered to my house, reminding me of the debt I had accumulated. I was working while going to school full-time, and kept trying to fix my car each time it broke down, which happened quite often. As a result, I was forced to catch a train last minute or miss a day of school. I feared that things would get even worse if I did not take time off to straighten things out.
When not in school, I worked full-time at a home improvement retail store, and absolutely hated the experience. As a sales associate, my abilities and skills were not put to full use and I felt like I was not doing anything productive with my life. Working full-time and being away from college allowed me to be honest with myself and to understand what I wanted from life and, just as important, what I do not want from life. I knew that I hated being by a register and ringing people up because it was the most redundant thing in the world to me. But from working on the floor, I learned that I do enjoy communicating with others, especially understanding how people speak to one another, and how people treat others through verbal communication.
Eventually, I came back to Stony Brook, with less debt, a new car, a new laptop, and a new perspective on life: it is what you make of it, even in the worst situations. You can always try to get out of something that you do not want to be a part of, and sometimes you will fail, but it's worth keeping in mind that it is never too late to redeem yourself.
I decided to come back to Stony Brook because of its reputation as offering the "biggest bang for my buck." By commuting, I could save even more money. Also, Stony Brook consistently ranks as one of the top 100 national universities in the U.S. News & World Report. In Fall 2010, I came back as a part-time student. Since then, I have had many cool experiences. I enjoyed Mark Aronoff's Human Language class (LIN 101) as well as Moira Williams's Foundations class (ARS 154), where I learned how to transform creative ideas into physical manifestations. Now I am a full-time student and look forward to even more cool experiences.
Even though I am not sure where my major and minor will lead me, I am optimistic as I try to redeem myself. I know that I should have graduated already, but life does not always move linearly. There are many people in my position at Stony Brook who are also seeking to move beyond their current situations. Unfortunately, I did not have the college experience that I wanted; I did not make any lifelong friendships or study abroad, for example, but there are other things that I still can do. This year, I hope to make connections and move on to something better.