Rose-Colored Glasses Become Reality: Reflections from a Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, and Senior

Tell us a little about yourself!

Kendall (Freshman): I am a Strategic Communication & French major (with a minor TBD) from Suwanee, GA! I serve as the president of Her Campus, SGA Class of 2024 representative, social media chair for It’s On Us, and I am in a sorority, Alpha Chi Omega. A fun fact about me is I’m an enneagram 2w3 and other than people, nothing makes me happier than a color-coded calendar.

Caroline (Sophomore): I am a Strategic Communication major and General Business minor. I am originally from Chicago but have loved exploring Fort Worth! I am the senior editor for Her Campus, a member of Pi Beta Phi, and soon-to-be Public Relations Manager for Roxo Agency. I’d say my main personality trait is my obsession with Sex and the City and attempting to be Carrie Bradshaw (apart from some of her not-so-good plotlines). I am an enneagram 3w2 and striving to be in love with life daily!

Mackenzi (Junior): I’m a Strategic Communication and Fashion Merchandising major. I’m the founding president of It’s On Us TCU and a Public Relations Manager for Roxo Agency. I’m also working as the PR and Communications manager for a local non-profit, Be Fearless You. When I’m not working or in class, I’m usually spending time with my best friends or researching Marvel theories. I’m “that Type A” friend (enneagram 1w2, anybody?), and I’m already working on my friends and my senior-year trips (Spring Break & Graduation).

Katie (Senior): I’m a Strategic Communication major with a Spanish minor! I have been the President of Froggie Friends and a member of Kappa Alpha Theta here at TCU. To get to know me, I’m an enneagram 7w8 and an Aries sun sign, so adventure is pretty much my middle name. Luckily, though a graduating senior, I get one more year here at TCU as I pursue my Master’s in Business Analytics! Go frogs forever!

 

How have your relationships changed this year (with friends, romantically, or both)?

Kendall: I think as far as friends, having my senior year goodbyes cut off by the pandemic made me realize very quickly which friends from high school I wanted to stay in my life, and I have kept in touch with those people this year. Thankfully, I absolutely adore my roommate—she is the biggest blessing. College is so unique because your friends literally live steps from you. I also started dating someone within a month of coming to TCU, which I never expected to happen! We’ve been dating for seven months now, which is kind of crazy.

Caroline: Needless to say, this year has been interesting! Despite all of the craziness, living in the Greek Village was such a unique experience. I got so much closer with girls in my pledge class that I had previously not known well as we bonded over snow week, virtual classes, late-night snacking, and study-room sharing. Something I will always preach about TCU is how wonderfully inclusive girls are regarding sororities. Though I loved living with Pi Phis, some of my best friends are in all different houses. The Greek Village really is a small community, and it’s so easy to see friends from all different organizations. I will miss run-ins with friends at the BLUU 2, sitting under the stars in the “sophomore commons,” and Door Dashing ice cream to Pond Drive, but I’m thrilled to start a new journey in my own little house next year! 

Mackenzi: Well, this year I moved off campus into an apartment with three of my closest friends. I think that this year has been weird with relationships because of the pandemic. I spent all of first semester spending most of my time with only my roommates and boyfriend to avoid big groups, so I feel like my best friend (roommate) and I are now so much closer! And having a kitchen has also made me and my boyfriend find really fun, new things to do together (cook, bake, make a mess, you name it!).

Katie: Absolutely! Being off campus is so different because you are forced to make the time to see the people that mean most to you which affects your relationships like crazy. I dove deeper into friendships that meant a lot to me, and my friends did the same, pouring into what we know we want to keep after graduation. Everything happens so quickly, so this year relationships were a lot more fun and lighthearted, celebrating the new journey we’re all about to embark on! As far as romance goes, I’ve got to say it’s hard to date new people when there’s an expiration date like graduation looming overhead. My romantic life hasn’t necessarily slowed down, but it definitely didn’t get too serious. 

 

What felt different about this academic year than the last (besides online school)? How did you handle these changes? 

Kendall: After finishing my senior year of high school online, college online didn’t feel very different! I have been taking quite a few core classes this year, which has been honestly really fun. I have to have a minor for Strategic Communication, so these classes have helped me see what I might want to do for that! I also realized that college professors are so awesome and (the majority of them) are really ready to help if you need it.

Caroline: Freshman year, I was taking a lot of core, like musical theatre and intro to nutrition. While these classes were fun, I’ve grown so much in the professional realm as I’ve gotten to dive deeper in my major and minor coursework. I have absolutely loved learning the ins and outs of Strategic Communication, and I know all of my friends in other majors express this same growth of passion for their fields as well. Take classes that will push you as a student and set you apart. Don’t put too much pressure on that GPA by taking easier courses; instead, focus on quality of work and how this can apply to your future. 

Mackenzi: This year I was, weirdly enough, back in a lot of core work. Just some residual things I was supposed to do while studying abroad (RIP, I missed you this semester, London) that I ended up doing from TCU. It honestly was interesting to be back in core after so much major work, because I made so many ties between my career work and general learning (like history, through the lens of fashion). Cool connections to make!

Katie: Honestly, this year has been a nice balance between blow-off work and tough challenges that push me academically! I’d say save your easier classes to take your senior year because there is just SO much to do, fun-stuff wise. From all my “lasts” to my family just dying to celebrate with me, it has been nice to have a week where something isn’t always due, just because I saved some of my easier courses to take now! Being in only twelve credit hours has been a nice way for me to relax, but still remember to get stuff done, while enjoying these last final moments as an undergrad.

 

What’s your best advice for career prep at this stage? How are you discovering what you want to do?

Kendall: Explore everything! Freshman year is the perfect time to dive into your major classes and really think about if this is what you want to spend the rest of your life doing. I am someone who applies for every opportunity and loves making connections, which LinkedIn is such a helpful tool for.

Caroline: As a sophomore, you don’t need to get too overwhelmed with this—it’s okay to still not know what you want to do! However, I will say this is the perfect time for exploration. Really lean into your classes and see what you have a passion for. Throughout my life, I always thought I would only want to work in the creative writing side of Strategic Communication. After taking research this semester, I learned I have a LOVE for that type of work, which was totally unexpected! I’ve gained an entire new skill set and strength. No matter what your major is, I encourage you to leave every door wide open. Don’t close yourself off to a class or skill because of preconceptions. 

Mackenzi: As a junior: intern. It’s the best way for you to see, hands-on, what you think you want to do (without the pressures of “real life” forcing you to keep the job if you don’t like it). At this point, there’s still time to go a slightly different direction in your career (every degree can land in, like, 5+ careers after all). Just get an internship and gain that experience -- and those connections! Networking and starting to build a personal brand is going to help the transition into senior year job searches easier (or at least, I really hope so!!!).

Katie: My BEST advice is to apply for jobs, masters programs, and internships EVERYWHERE. You never know what might end up being the best option for you. With COVID-19, the job search for me has been tricky. All of the places I want to work aren’t hiring or need someone with more experience (which is understandable, but frustrating), so when I applied for my Master’s program I was mostly doing it on a whim. It ended up being the best choice for me, considering the benefits that come with a higher degree and how poor the job market is right now. You never know what you might end up doing! 

 

What are three things you couldn’t live without in your dorm or apartment and why?

Kendall: I actually wrote an article about this topic for last week! In general, I would have to say my shower shoes (if you know, you know #communalshowers), storage bins for under my bed (because space is a necessity), and a hanging organizer for the side of my bed. Freshman year dorms are all about making more storage space!

Caroline: Easy: I literally bought an extra fridge so my roommate and I wouldn’t have to share. I know this is extremely extra, but the dorm food just doesn’t cut it for me, and I need a full freezer to store all my vegan ice cream (not a joke). I also bought a $14 shower filter from Amazon. The hard water in dorms makes my hair grease up after one day, and we all know that’s no fun. Finally, I’d say as corny as some decorations might be, get one thing that truly makes you smile. For me, it’s a wonderfully bright pink, super girly “I couldn’t help by wonder” sign that my friend from home painted. I couldn’t help but wonder, if I put this sign above my bed, can I become Carrie Bradshaw overnight? (See, I told you I was obsessed.)

Mackenzi: Okay, let’s go: my fuzzy pillow collection (I probably have around 20), aluminum foil (weird, I know, but I can put it on cookie sheets to avoid more dishes), and my TV trays (my roommates and I use these all over though, they even work as trays in my bedroom, haha). Seriously though, in your first apartment, stock up on aluminum foil. Just don’t put it in the microwave..

Katie: Oooh, this one was tough. My top three are something yellow (my favorite color, it keeps everything so happy), aluminum foil (stolen from Mackenzi for sure but she is so right, it saves so many dishes and honestly, lives too!), and a speaker (I’m always bumping music in my room or for my roommates, we love dance parties). You’ll definitely be able to figure out exactly how you like to live and what your necessities are by senior year; it takes practice!

 

What has been your favorite memory from this year?

Kendall: I was initiated into my sorority the weekend right after my birthday, and my mom came to surprise me! It’s a tradition that if your mom/sister/aunt/etc. is in the same sorority as you that she can come pin you at initiation. I was so surprised and excited to share this special moment with her, and we had such a fun weekend.

Caroline: Last Friday. TCU brought Brett Young for a free concert in the football stadium, and I just felt so alive. If you know me, you know country music is practically my love language … especially when it’s Brett Young performing in a TCU baseball jersey. The rain, the fireworks, the dancing, the best friends, the energy—I wanted to stay in that moment forever. 

Mackenzi: My favorite memory this year is just the other weekend. My best friend and I drove to Dallas and spent all day in a coffee shop finishing our books! Then we went to this area with so many places to eat and stopped in spontaneously at this little Italian place and got drinks and pasta! To cap off the evening, we ended up getting our noses pierced! A perfect evening.

Katie: My favorite memory of this year HAD to be “chylly week” or snow week. With campus shutting down because of how much snow piled up in Texas, my water and electricity not working all week, and the bonfires happening on every street, it was definitely a week I’ll never forget. Crazy times make for the best memories!

 

Looking back on this year, what is one thing that you would tell August 2020 you?

Kendall: TCU was my dream school from the moment that I first visited, so being able to tell August 2020 me that it will continue to be a dream every day would be amazing! I cannot wait for my next three years here.

Caroline: College is a fever dream. Being able to attend a school as incredible as TCU will forever be a blessing that I am so, so thankful for. Every day is an adventure. I’d tell my past self to be your truest, most authentic, and absolute weirdest self. You’re gonna meet some incredible people this year that love you for you, so don’t get stuck on those who don’t. As fun as the hecticness of freshman year was, sophomore year is all about deepening relationships and growing as individuals. I have never felt more aligned with who I want to be than when I started embracing life in all its glory. Soak it in, don’t harp on your insecurities, and say I love you a lot—to others AND yourself. 

Mackenzi: Time is going to move so fast! I know it’s so overused, but seriously, Kenzi, try to live in the moment. Spend time with your friends, and try to make the most out of COVID (try new restaurants via delivery instead of eating the same ones every time).

Katie: I would tell August 2020 Katie to buckle up. Mackenzi was right: things move so quickly, and there’s so much that’s going to happen that’s fun, new, exciting, and scary. From grad school applications to job interviews to lazy days when you just need that break, buckle up because you really don’t know what’s going to happen next week. A new adventure happened every day for me this year, and it was so fun!