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The Journey From Freshman to Senior Year

Four years is a long time. There’s so much that happens, so many small and big things. Birthdays, fights with friends, making new friends, learning new things – within the classrooms and outside. You’ll learn so much more than the subjects you’re taking this semester or the next, and way more than what your research mentor will tell you. I definitely have.

​I’ve learned that life doesn’t always work out as planned and that things aren’t always going to be easy. That you’ll have to take risks and suck it up sometimes. You may not always get the leadership position you want. Or that A that you thought you worked so hard for. Sometimes life might surprise you, though. Things might not always work out as planned, but maybe it’s the way that they work out in the end that actually makes it better. You might not have gotten what you wanted, but maybe something better will come along. 

I’ve learned that sometimes it’s worth following your dreams, no matter how much you’re going to have to invest in it. I started BU as an engineering major, a very logical decision because it would produce a career straight out of college, and I was good at it. But then instead I found that I wanted to work in health, and I pursued that, even though it’s going to put me 300K in debt. Whether it’s your career dreams or your holistic life dreams, it’s always worth pursuing something that’s going to make you happy in the long term. Something that when you’re older and you wake up (irrespective of the student debt), you’re living a life you love.

I’ve learned to let go. Sometimes there’s more than just the BU bubble and the classrooms that we breathe in every single day. Sometimes it’s okay to go out to Cambridge on a Friday night to celebrate Halloween with a bunch of random strangers that you’ll never see again. Letting go helps you find who you are, what you like. And then there are the stories that you can tell.

I’ve learned practical things. Like to wash my dishes right after I use them. To go to the doctor and explain my own symptoms. To take my medicine every night. To budget money (sort of – we’re getting there). 

I’ve learned to stick up for myself. To care for what I want. Sacrifices are great and all, but sometimes you get to put yourself first, and not someone else. Sometimes you have to work as well, and you can’t meet someone for coffee just to hear them rant about their week. Sometimes you can’t make it to Tuesday night dinners because you’re going through a hard time and don’t want to be around people. It’s okay to stick up for what you want, to make yourself your priority.

I hope that every underclassman gets to have the experiences, whether big or small, that makes college what it is – a greater learning process about how life sucks and how it’s kind of great too.

Alizah Ali is a senior at BU. She's working on her biology-premed degree, which finds her often in the quietest parts of the library. She loves coffee and bunnies and running whenever the Boston weather lets her. She's a big advocate for mental health destigmatization and awareness. Follow her on instagram @lizza0419
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