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Setting Yourself Up For Success: A senior shares what she wishes she knew as a first-year.

Your freshman year is exciting, full of possibilities and opportunities to meet new people and learn new things. For many of you, it’s your first time living away from home, and this independence is equally as daunting as it is rewarding.

There are so many newfound responsibilities, time commitments, and expectations that you may feel overwhelmed at times, and it’s okay to feel that way. I’m now a senior, and having experienced feeling lost and overwhelmed as a freshman, I want to share one piece of advice to help you make the most of your college experience that I’ve learned from my personal first-year experience as well as the rest of my time here.

Perhaps the most important lesson I’ve learned is that being open to change is being open to new
possibilities. Many of you may have come to college with an idea of what you want to major in and the career path you’d like to take. Some of you are going to stick with that plan and love it, which is fantastic! Others, however, are going to change that plan throughout the years, and that’s great too!

When I came to Eastern, I was sure that I wanted to go on to become a pediatric occupational therapist. I volunteered at a local practice in high school, and I absolutely loved it. I decided to get to that goal through the Exercise Science major. However, I’ve always had an interest in the
humanities, specifically English, so when I registered for my first semester’s classes, I took a creative writing class thinking that it would simply be a fun change of pace. It ended up becoming my favorite class that semester by far, and I found that I was really passionate about writing, more so than I was about Exercise Science. I made some of my closest friends in that class and later
went on to take more writing classes and eventually became an English Writing major, then later, added the Literature concentration onto that as well.

Deciding to change my major and my career path was no easy feat. It was one of the most difficult decisions I had ever had to make up to that point. It was important that I had people around me who guided me through and supported me through that process, regardless of what I chose.

Though change in its essence is uncomfortable, it’s important that the changes you are making are ones
that you think you’re going to feel confident in later. Having people around who want the best for you and want to see you succeed and will support you in making the right decisions is crucial.

There have been many more situations in my college life that have required me to be open to change outside of my major. Friendships, jobs, club commitments, class schedules – you’re going to be faced with tons of opportunities for change in these areas. Your friend groups will look different over time and
that’s natural! You may want to leave a job you’re not super invested in for one that you’re more passionate about. Even something as simple as changing where you study can have an impact if you let it.

As much as college is a time of possibility, it is a time for self-exploration and growth, and nine times out of 10, that growth and self-confidence only comes through change. You never know what opportunities you’ll be presented with and what people you’ll meet if you’re willing to take a leap of faith and change something you’re not completely satisfied with or certain about.

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