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Junior Year Reflections: I’m Halfway Through College

Time seems to be flying by. It’s such a cliche thing to say, but when I sit back and think about how I’m halfway through college, it boggles my mind. I know that every few years I’ll be saying the same cliché while thinking about everything that has happened in recent years or months, and the reflection process will begin.

Last year was my first semester with Her Campus UFL, and I wrote about varying topics from beauty, to music and even finances. Every now and then, I would write a personal article in hopes to let others know that they aren’t alone in their struggles. As college students, we experience countless trials and tribulations and, at times, those can make us feel extremely stressed, lost and alone.

As a junior, I would like to reflect on my first two years of college, as well as some of my personal essays to see if and how my thoughts have changed and analyze additional lessons I have learned.

To start, last year I wrote an article titled, “It’s OK That You Aren’t Who You Thought You’d Be.” I discussed how I had all of these plans for my college self and that I was going to flourish in my major, hobbies, extracurriculars, etc. I wanted to continue to push myself and make myself proud like I did as a high school student. After beginning college, I soon learned that it was not going to be as easy of a process as I had thought. 

On both an emotional and academic level, I experienced a lot of different situations and circumstances that left me feeling insecure about where I was at. I wasn’t doing any of the things that I thought I would be, and I was ashamed of that. It really got to me. I felt like a failure for not living up to the expectations others set for me and — even more importantly — the expectations I set for myself. Over time, I learned that change is inevitable, and I should embrace growing as a person rather than limiting myself to the goals I made as a teenager.

Looking back on this struggle and time of insecurity a year later, there are a few takeaways I have made from my reflection. I thought that change was inevitable — and it is, but it’s more than that. Sometimes, change is needed.  Not doing the things I imagined for myself has made me question what I really want out of school, life and relationships and not just what I had planned for in years prior. While it’s still great to set goals for yourself and daydream about the future, you shouldn’t be so hard on yourself if not all those things play out the way you imagined. Another cliche I like to remind myself of here and there is that everything really does happen for a reason. What is meant for you will either find its way to you or you will find your way to it. Embrace the journey!

Stemming from this, I wrote an article titled “Reasons Why You Need to Embrace Your Major” when I was going through this time of confusion and uncertainty. Since I wasn’t doing what I thought I was going to be, it led me to being unsure of many other things, including what I wanted to do as my major and ultimately my career. I was incredibly lost as a sophomore and was constantly wracking my brain for all of my options to make sure I was making the right one. This led to immense self-doubt, unneeded stress and spending way too much time overanalyzing. When writing this article, I came to the conclusion that everyone should embrace their choices revolving around their major whether that meant changing it or sticking with it. Looking back now, there’s more to it than this. Not only does your major not define you, it isn’t a done deal in terms of your career. I thought I would have to be a journalist since I’m majoring in journalism, but that simply isn’t the case. We’re learning through our education, regardless of the major, so many different things that we can carry with us into the future. I can be whoever and whatever I desire, and I’ve become a more well-rounded individual thanks to everything that I am learning within my major. I wish I didn’t spend so much of my time stressing over my choice of major, but now I am even more aware that everything tends to work out the way it’s supposed to.

At this age, there is so much deciding to do. It has given me bucket loads of stress throughout the years, and it will probably continue to do so. However, my reflections have taught me that everything I go through is teaching me or giving me something. I may not realize it for a while, but all of the struggles and stress that I endure are ultimately teaching me life lessons. 

I am so curious to see what reflections I will be making in the years to come, especially the ones in the next two years when I finish my undergraduate education. I hope that if you’ve gone through similar stresses within your time in college, you try to find the meaning behind that and see how it’s led you to being who you are now.

Here’s to growth and becoming the best version of yourself!

Journalism major at the University of Florida.
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