#ITriedIt: Freshman Year of College

I did not expect to find myself at George Mason University. It happened organically. Or rather, I was waitlisted at three universities (*cough cough* William & Mary, UVA and private college with $50,000 tuition). When George Mason accepted me for its Honors College, I went on a whim and decided that heck, I’ll become a Patriot.

The last three months of high school I ditched a mass of insecurity, anxiety and unnecessary attachments that stemmed from years of dissatisfaction with the person I was and the societal standards that bogged me down for the better half of my life. I decided to thrive off of rejection, and by the end of summer, I was a revised, more confident self.

Two semesters in and I’m thriving. College can do that to you if you choose.

So seniors and current collegiettes alike, I present you with two options: stay in your comfort zone and become complacent with the self that got you through high school or take the challenge to grow from the moment you walk onto campus for orientation to the day you graduate. I incidentally chose the latter. For my first year, I have a list of things in college that I’d never done before:

  • Joined a Division 1 sport

  • Studied abroad / traveled to Asia / booked my own flight

  • Went to a concert (solo!)

  • Owned eight plants at once

  • Decided what I want to study and do in the future (environmental science)

  • Had a stable and healthy relationship

  • Became a writer for an online magazine (full disclosure: this is it!)

If I seem overly convinced, I’ll explain why. George Mason University, as much as it is my home now, was my backup. I applied as a Psychology major and put minimal effort into my application. I was far from an athlete in high school. I starred as a lead my senior year in theatre because after a bad track record (as in track and field), I didn’t have the self-esteem to join a sports team. And after a breakup in February, I had to learn to appreciate myself from the ground up. For a few months before graduation, I had a blurred idea of who I was.

My freshman year here at GMU has made me able to appreciate how different I am now, how much more resilient to outside influences and genuinely happier than only a year ago. I am confident in my decisions and my relationships. George Mason provided me with the opportunities to do the things that make me an individual. (Big example, a windowsill that can fit multiple plant pots.) Any university is there to provide you with a blank canvas and the room to be the artificer of your own life. If you get accepted to George Mason University, this is the place to transcend old boundaries you thought were set in stone.

Keep your head up about those acceptance letters.