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It feels like just yesterday when I was moving into my dorm in Hewett/Manchester, meeting my first ever roommate, getting Subway every other day, and doing yoga and Zumba with the girls on my floor. Floor four for the win <3. Freshman year was when you made all new friends, joined all the RSO’s, and got to explore around campus for the first time. Now that I’m almost done with sophomore year, it could not have been more different than freshman year. After spending almost an entire year with online classes, it felt like it was my freshman year all over again. I had to adjust yet again and as soon as I get comfortable in college, things seem to change completely. I love changes, I think they’re exciting and part of our own self-growth. But now things are changing more than ever before. How will college be in the fall now that I’m almost a junior?

Junior year means you’re halfway to that beautiful Bachelor’s degree. But for people in my grade, it also means returning to in-person classes for the first time in a year, making it feel like freshman year all over again. At this point, I’m pretty sure I’ve had more experience with online college courses than being in a lecture hall. I’m not even sure if I remember how to get around the quad anymore. I’ve maybe been on the quad three or four times this year and it definitely wasn’t for class. When you’re a junior you’re supposed to know what you’re doing, but right now I’m feeling a little lost. I feel like being sent home during spring break and not having the full experience this year in-person set us back. It’s distracted me from my true purpose being here at college. What am I supposed to do in two years when I graduate? Am I supposed to be getting a job soon? I’ve also never had to live in an apartment before and have no idea how to manage that. What are the next steps in my college journey?

A little about me, my ultimate dream is to work in a maternity ward or in the NICU with newborns. I had the privilege to shadow a job in the labor department in the hospital in my hometown in high school when I got my CNA license and it was LIFE-CHANGING! I knew that’s what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I was actually happy to wake up every day at six in the morning to go to clinicals for hours. When I decided to go to ISU, I knew I wanted to be a nursing major. Things don’t always work out in my favor though. I ended up applying to the program too late and did not get in. I was crushed. Super sad. I did find out though that there was a program for nursing that I could apply to AFTER I graduated. It wasn’t my preferred option, but I didn’t want to switch schools and it was my best option. So I figured I would be a psychology major in the meantime. That would be kind of like my backup career. I also think psychology can be applied to nursing in so many ways because you take care of new patients every day. Every patient and coworker you encounter has a different mindset and it would be helpful to try to understand how each one processes and understands things that happen to them in their lives.

This is another reason I feel a little lost. What if I don’t get into the nursing program after I graduate? What if I’m taking all of the nursing prerequisites for nothing? This year my goal is to work on getting a more solid backup plan in what I want to do if my dream fails. It’s a scary thought, but it’s a part of getting older. Adulting is also another aspect I’m worried about. When I lived in the dorms, I never had to worry about cleaning the bathrooms, cooking for myself every day, or knowing how to fix something if it breaks. Having to worry about all of this while going back to classes in-person is something that will take some time to adjust to. I fully believe though that if I’ve made it this far, I can definitely make it another two years. I’m excited to see where these next two years take me because the first two years in college have absolutely flown by and been some of the most fun and exciting times in my life. I also want to take time to savor all of these memories and really live in the moment because you only get to be in college once. I have to allow myself to have fun while also being goal-oriented.

Getting older is something we all go through whether we like it or not. We have to remember though that these are going to be the best years of our lives. We’re all still pretty young even though we’re adults. We have our whole lives ahead of us and instead of worrying all the time, we should focus on the now. It’s easier to say than do for sure, but at the end of the day, things will fall into place and we’ll be grateful for all the good times we’ve had. You might miss being a freshman when everything is new and exciting, but make every year feel like freshman year. You can reinvent you and your college self whenever you feel like it. Looking back on all the memories will just remind you that you can always make more.

Bella Sibenaller

Illinois State '23

Hi, my name is Bella and I'm a junior here at Illinois State. I'm a psychology major, but I'm also going into nursing. At ISU, I am also apart of the National Society for Leadership and Success and currently serve as the social chair. My hometown is Charleston, Illinois. It's a super small town south of ISU. In my free time, I enjoy hanging out with friends and Facetiming my eight year old sister. If you have any questions about Her Campus or any of the other organizations I'm involved in, please reach out! My Instagram is @bellajsib.
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