A Word From The "Wise"

I often find myself somewhere between laughing and crying when I think back to my life at Emory just over three years ago. In moments of procrastination or moments of relaxation, I take a look back at my Facebook photo albums, reliving the crazy memories that defined my first year in a new college environment at Emory. I reread old messages and wall posts, thinking back to a time where my biggest life concerns included figuring out who I’d eat with at the DUC and surviving one class a semester in the business school to finish my pre-requisites. As I continue to revive these memories from their seemingly distant past, I find myself mixed with emotions: on one hand, I’m sad, as I realize that the distant nature of these memories only means that my time at Emory is even closer to nearing its end; on the other hand, I’m taken aback, laughing at the distorted perceptions I had as a young freshman. In the hopes of easing the lives of some freshmen, here’s what I know now that would've been helpful to have known as I navigated Emory back in my first year. 

1. Making New Friends Isn't Just For Freshmen

A few weeks into freshman year, you’ve likely made some new friends and are starting to establish some sort of “crew,” typically defined by a group texting chat and lots of shared Uber rides to Mags. While it may seem like you’ve finally gotten over the hump of trying to find your people (or maybe you haven’t yet – that’s okay too!), I’d urge you not to get too narrow-minded. While it’s always nice to have a group of friends, it’s even nicer to have a group of people outside of your immediate circle. I’ve made some of my closest and best friends in the most unexpected ways; whether it was my choice to live with a random roommate from my sorority sophomore year, sitting next to someone new in the library, or meeting Emory students I’d barely interacted with in the past at my job this summer, I could’ve never anticipated having made some of my best friends so late into my time in college. Keep an open mind to new relationships – it’s never too late to meet more people that will help enrich your college experience and help you grow.

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2. You Likely Have No Idea What You’ll Be Doing in Four Years

Maybe it’s just me, but in a million years, I would have never thought I’d be taking the job I’m now going to be working at following my graduation in May. As a freshman, I was certain I’d be graduating and entering the world of journalism, likely as a writer or broadcast reporter. If you had told me that I’d be taking a job I absolutely loved within the financial services industry, I would have completely laughed in your face. But, guess what – that’s exactly what I’m doing. As college went on, I came across some new opportunities outside of my typical interests that I chose to take advantage of, leading me to identify some completely new areas of interest. With that in mind, I’d encourage you to step outside of your comfort zone and explore things that you would’ve never thought about doing before. After all, that’s what college is for: it’s a time to explore new things and learn what you love (and what you don’t love, for that matter). It’s great to come in with a passion, but don’t let it stop you from exploring new things!

Image Source: Her Campus

3. Unlimited Dining Halls Actually Aren’t the Worst Thing in the World

I know what you’re thinking. There’s nothing worse than the DUC (or, should I say, the Ducling). Almost all freshman can’t wait to get away from mediocre food and unlimited crappy desserts that inevitably lead to the dreaded Freshman 15. Trust me, I get it. However, in moments when there’s no food in my refrigerator and I’m way too busy to take the time to grocery shop, I would kill to have unlimited food at my disposal at any time of the day. While the options aren’t wonderful, there is something to say about never having to think about planning out your meals or making sure to get to the store. Two pieces of advice I learned from being a freshman who hated being on a meal plan: firstly, if you hate the food at the Ducling, attend meetings at FACE, the Food Advisory Committee at Emory – Emory Dining is open to your suggestions and will happily implement most of them. Secondly, there are ways to eat healthier on a meal plan – you just have to set your mind to it. Spend a little more time putting together a good salad and grab some grilled veggies to get started.

Image Source: Giphy

4. Hard Work Pays Off – Yes, It’s Worth It

In high school, senior year brought “senioritis” – after working hard for three and a half years, we could finally take a step back and relax a little when it came to our school work after receiving our college acceptance letters. Everything we’d worked toward for the past four years had finally come to fruition, showing us the payoff we'd been waiting for. In college, it's a little different. Yes, most of us hope to be employed upon graduation, but typically a great interview will get you that job you wanted -- it's not all about whether you had a 3.5 or 3.8 for many of the jobs we find ourselves applying for. However, I will say that the work I have done from the moment I have entered Emory has helped me immensely in supporting my intellectual and personal growth, even if the grade I got in a specific course wasn't what really propelled me toward the job opportunities I've had. If you work hard, things will likely fall into place: just because you aren't looking for a college acceptance doesn't mean the hard work isn't worth it. If nothing else, the hard work will always pay off in a sense of pride and accomplishment -- feelings that make all the challenges and struggles worth it in the end. That being said, find your balance: make sure to enjoy the ride as you work your way through it. 

Image Source: Tenor

With all that in mind, try to take a bit of a breath: you have time to figure things out -- actually, you have a lot of time. Keep an open mind and you'll be on your way to making the most of these amazing four years.