Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

Three Ways my Perspective has Changed from my Freshman Year to Junior Year 

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at MSU chapter.

College. When family members hear you have been accepted into a university, they all congratulate you and many say, “Those will be the best four years of your life. Enjoy it. It flies by too fast.” Fresh out of high school and yearning for freedom, a change of surroundings, and new experiences, you feel like you have a vast desert in front of you, ready to be explored and changed by your presence. Looking back as a junior, I feel like I have run across the whole desert at the speed of light, and I can see the ocean on the horizon. There’s a part of me that wishes I could go back to the beginning of my journey knowing what I know now, but there’s another part that is just focused on savoring every moment left. 

I began my freshman year of college at a community college close to home. It was the best decision for me, and I wouldn’t have changed my choice for anything. Yet, I distinctly remember wanting to go away to college and have that experience so desperately. At 17, even when I was enjoying experiences, I was always looking forward to the future and what else I would do. This is one way my perspective has changed. As a junior, I am trying with all my might to enjoy every single second of each experience to the fullest extent. The future is also much closer than it once was, and much scarier than when it was still in the distance. Currently, I am convinced that everyone should take a second each day to soak up the happy times in whatever situation they may find themselves in. There is no point in wishing to be elsewhere because one day you will undoubtedly be there and may wish you could go back in time. Appreciating the current moment, in the best way you are able, makes life sweeter. 

As a freshman in college who was still living at home, I often imagined what it would be like to go away to college. The ironic part is that when I did transfer to MSU for my sophomore year, I was absolutely petrified. I had an awful roommate experience, and my first fall semester here was extremely challenging in many ways. What often brought me the most sorrow on bad days when my roommate was being unkind to me, my classes felt draining, and I had hit a new level of exhaustion was the fact that I was no longer in my high school bedroom upstairs, hearing my family chattering and watching TV in the living room. That first semester I wanted nothing more than to be with the people who I had spent 18 years with and to be back in my quiet, familiar hometown. Ever since then, MSU and East Lansing have won my heart, but I have built a new appreciation for the people who make my house a home and my simple hometown. This is a new perspective I often carry with me everywhere: Never take the people you’re used to seeing every day or the life you live for granted. One thing that is so inconvenient about life is that it is constantly changing. Being young and at the start of such an exciting experience can make this difficult to keep in mind. So, enjoy being young, inexperienced, and most importantly enjoy the times when you still get to feel like or act like a kid again. They are rare and so much more precious than even I realized. 

My last and final new perspective has to do with the way I felt about my future as a freshman. I was so excited to get there and begin my journey to finding my life’s work. I had just graduated, enrolled in my first college classes, and I was ecstatic to see what else life had to offer me. Ecstatic and possibly a little impatient. I wish I could go back and tell my 18-year-old self to slow down. There will always be time to stress, agonize, and plan for the future. It can feel like it’s approaching tomorrow, but unless it actually is then you still have time. Instead of racing towards the finish line, maybe slow your pace from a sprint to a light walk. You will still get to a beautiful future at the same time as everyone else, but slowing down allows you to enjoy the journey you must take to get there. It’s so easy to be in a race to reach your dreams, but if they are meant to be yours there’s nothing that can stop you from reaching them at some point. If you can, remember to slow down and congratulate yourself for how far you’ve come. The future is exciting and brand new, and it is possible to be eager to see what it will be, while simultaneously taking a break every now and then to see how much progress you’ve already made. 

I do not have all the answers by any means, and sometimes I have a hard time following my own advice. Despite this trait, I do find myself saying the things I need to hear more often than not. Whether I listen is a whole other story entirely, but I am trying and making an effort to look back and appreciate my journey before the next chapter begins. I hope everyone can pat themselves on the back, and bask in the glow of all the things you have achieved so far. Writing this piece gave me a moment to sit and think back on how far I have personally come, and it feels a lot nicer than agonizing about all the places I still have to go. Appreciate the good times, hold those who you love close, and don’t forget to slow down and enjoy the exercise instead of sprinting through the marathon we call life with your eyes closed.

Isabella Cutean is a Junior at Michigan State University. This is her first year being involved in Her Campus at MSU. She is very excited to be able to share her writing with others. Cutean is a Psychology major with an additional major in Criminal Justice and a minor in Human Behavior and Social Services. Cutean wrote for her high school newspaper since her sophomore year, where she held the position of an assistant managing editor for three years. In her free time, Cutean enjoys doing yoga, spending time with those close to her, catching up on TV shows, listening to music, and she loves to read.