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They say that college is the best four years of your life, but I wish someone would’ve given me a play-by-play of what’s in store because I am utterly clueless. I was never one who knew everything about everything, and I often found myself scrambling to get everything done in time. I even messed up applying to college, where I forgot to fill out a CSS profile, and low and behold NYU is asking $80k for tuition (obviously didn’t end up there). This trait is something I’ve been aware of for a while, but the fear of it setting me back didn’t settle until recently when I traveled home for winter break.

Back home I was able to meet up with all of my hometown friends— the friends that constantly drive and inspire me— and was filled in on everything going on in their lives such as work, internships, and relationships. When the conversation turned to me, I faltered coming up with anything, literally anything, that would paint me as an ambitious college student instead of one going with the flow. I wasn’t able to come up with much. The problem wasn’t the fear of my friends thinking less of me if I didn’t have a plan; it was the shame I felt because I have a plan yet no motivation to get myself there. I can share the excitement with my friends that are going to study abroad and congratulate the ones with internships lined up, but I find it difficult to see myself in those positions when I don’t feel up to par with my peers. Thus, the predicament I’m in as a 20-year-old college student is wondering if even with all this ambition, am I falling behind everyone else? 

So, after winter break I came back to BU with a changed perspective on what I want to do for myself. I wanted to see myself thrive in and beyond academics— because good grades can only take you so far— and begin to apply my ambition towards good outcomes. I have dreams of studying abroad and taking on research positions just like my friends have, but I’ve allowed my motivation to diminish when instead it should be shining. Was I hit down a peg when my roommate decided to go on Linkedin and read out loud where all of our BU peers are interning? Maybe. But I was also reminded that I don’t even have a Linkedin— yet another example of not being on top of things— and maybe one of my first steps towards reaching my potential is making sure I have all the resources necessary to start the climb.

I’ve grown to encourage instead of reprimand myself when I’m not doing my best. I remind myself that yes, time goes by fast, but at the ripe age of 20, it’s okay to not have everything in order because you still have time to make the most of yourself. In all honesty, I haven’t even officially declared my major yet, so I’m assuming it’s understandable that I don’t have tons of psychology research or internships under my belt. But of course, this doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be looking for opportunities, it’s more so a reminder of where I am in my life right now and the trajectory of my development.

The fear of falling or being left behind is still there, but the much stronger and brighter force of ambition has taken the reins. I don’t want to compete with my peers— I want to be equals with them. and instead of feeling inferior when I hear about their accomplishments, I feel inspired. Your peers achieving things before you doesn’t mean you will never get there in time, you just need that extra push towards reaching your potential.

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All the way from St. Petersburg, Florida, Isabella is currently a sophomore at Boston University majoring in Psychology and minoring in Public Policy Analysis. Her hobbies include coffee dates, traveling, concerts, and fashion, and you can usually find her running late to class with a Starbucks drink in her hand!
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