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New Beginnings: Start of Freshman Year vs. Start of Senior Year

As we all complete the first week of Fall Quarter, every one of us is facing a new beginning of some sort. In the midst of a pandemic many of us are adjusting to the fact that Fall of 2020 is partially online, and in addition, a time where we have to wear masks and are not able to come within six feet of the people that mean the most to us. 

Looking back across these last three years as I begin my senior year, each year has presented its own set of challenges. As a freshman moving into my dorm room in Centennial Halls I was so nervous. I had a complete breakdown in the hotel the night before move-in. I hadn’t met my roommate yet, I had never lived on my own before, and I moved three states away from home. This was truly a new beginning like nothing I had ever experienced.

Over the course of freshman year, I began to meet people and figure out who I wanted to get to know better. I went through my first quarter having met so many people I barely remember who they were even though many of them still remain in my Snapchat. While freshman year was a bit of a whirlwind and had its ups and downs like any other point in my life, I can definitively say each thing that happened that first year has helped shape the new beginning I am facing right now. 

[bf_image id="qaln1v-33eyag-fwf4t2"] Even though many of the people I met my freshman year are not people I am still close friends with, the friends I did have back then filled the appropriate place in my life at the time. I found friends to have fun with and friends to support me when I was lonely. Watching those friendships disintegrate was sad at the time, but over the years I have come to realize that every year is a chance to start over. Each year I have made new friends and been exposed to some of the most amazing experiences of my life.

The friends that seemed to mean so much 3 years ago are now acquaintances in my college career, whereas the funny crazy moments with folks I met once are some of the highlights of my time here. Freshman year opened me up to what college at DU could be and I am forever grateful for that as I have faced each new year. I felt so much pressure to find my very best friends that year, when in reality, I am thankful that wasn’t the case as I face this next new beginning, my senior year, alongside some of the most important people in my life. 

The start to this year has been different for me as I reflect on the fact that it will be my final year before I start my life post-college. I have to start thinking about what it might look like when I graduate; I am now again receiving the questions, “what are you going to do after you graduate?” Now I am considering that I need to apply to internships or jobs. I have to think about what field I want to go into and what the job market might look like in 10 months. 

[bf_image id="q5wt45-ivz60-25osva"] I feel more independent than I ever have living on my own and am beginning to grapple with what it might be like to have a home other than my parents. I am almost 21 facing momentous occasions left and right. I can’t believe I am a senior in college already. Trust me, it goes by wicked fast. I am so proud of how far I have come and believe that facing new beginnings pushed me to be someone I am proud of.  I have grown so much in how I handle challenges and my confidence has grown with me since freshman year. I have carefully chosen my friends and have learned how valuable quality is over quantity. I am not ashamed of who I was as a freshman, as I know that each stage of my life has been important in its own way. I now feel like I belong at DU as it has been my home for the last four years. As I enter into this last year, I feel as though I am spreading my wings and becoming the person I have always wanted to be. 

Though I am sad to leave the comfort of DU and the friends I have made over the years, I have come to understand how new beginnings are a way of closing one chapter of your life to open up to another adventure. I hope to stay connected with those important to me and I am excited to take on this final journey and be propelled into whatever life has in store for me after college. 

Clare Link-Oberstar Art and Gender and Womens Studies Major
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