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Freshman year as a college student is not easy. No matter how far you are from home, it can be extremely difficult to adapt to your new life. As an optimist, however, I like to make the best of these situations. All I had to do was follow a few steps to become the best version of myself.  

Step 1: Put yourself out there

            The first step was the hardest: I had to put myself out there fearlessly.  Only problem?  I had a lot of fear.  I wanted everyone to like me, and I worried about how I would be perceived.  In an attempt to combat these mental walls, I decided to go through formal Panhellenic recruitment.  This turned out to be the best decision I could make since I was able to find a family of women who were going to support me through everything.  It provided me with true friends and the best motivators.  This allowed me to discover my love for philanthropy and helping others which landed me a position on our program council.  As Think Pink chair, I plan daily events one week each semester to raise money for breast cancer education and awareness.  This position introduced me to leadership and responsibility, and I was able to put my new ideas in action.  

Step 2: Chase your dreams

            This is where our second step comes in: chase your dreams.  While it can be extremely intimidating to go after opportunities as a freshman, it is still worth doing.  One of my passions includes physical fitness since I grew up as a competitive dancer.  So, I chased my dream and became a certified group exercise instructor!  I did research, broke my bank account, completed training modules, and passed my exam to be called Olivia Barclay, NETA-CGEI.  Now, I teach barre fusion classes twice a week and create fun themes to motivate students to attend.  Despite being very difficult and draining on top of first semester classes and finals, it was completely worth it.  

Step 3: Believe in yourself

            As cheesy as it may sound, the next step is to believe in yourself.  This was one of the most challenging parts of the process since I tend to think I am not enough.  I struggled to toss this mindset aside, but once I did, I was able to succeed.  I finished the fall semester with a perfect 4.0, made the Dean’s List, and got another job as a campus tour guide for prospective students.  Even though I was lucky to have the support of my friends and family, I could not have completed a lot of the accomplishments above without faith in my own abilities.  

            It is essential to note these steps are not perfect.  In fact, they do not guarantee success.  I failed many times along the way.  While you may not get every scholarship, job, or club position, it is always worth a shot.  I made some bad friends, accidentally paid for an invalid CPR certificate, and procrastinated on assignments that were reflected in my grades.  Nevertheless, I did not let these obstacles stop me.  I simply thought of them as aspects that would contribute to my character development since every girl boss has main character energy.  

Step 4: Put in the work

            The final step and most important reminder for yourself is the following: dreams don’t work unless you do.  Nothing comes to you because you hope for it.  As long as you are willing to put in the time and effort, anything is possible.  If a clueless people-pleaser like me can grow this much before the age of twenty, think of what you can do throughout your time in college!  I believe in you!  Get out there and become the girl boss I know you are!

Olivia Barclay

Louisville '25

Liv Barclay is a freshman at the University of Louisville and prides herself on being a leo + infj personality type. Some of her passions include scream singing in the car, eating different forms of potatoes, and dancing like everyone is watching. She has no idea what her life holds, but she does know that she wants to live on the beach one day with a big dog! Mostly here for the goofs and gaffs!
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