I say the “wrong school” in mild jest because in honesty, it was the right school for me at the time. Once, I read an article about how nothing is the right thing at the wrong time-everything happens the way it is supposed to, exactly when it is supposed. This past year, I felt the empowering truth of this. Things happen, opinions change, new information becomes available, but that doesn’t mean that you should dwell on the pain that surrounds you. This year was a year of total growth for me. I feel like everyone’s first year of college is, but the effect that this first year had on me has changed the way I see the world and how I allow the world to affect me. I learned so much, not just in the classroom, but in times of reflection, during LifeGroups, during lunches with friends, during times watching movies in my dorm room, every moment gave me something to take with me for the rest of my life.
Without this first year in a place where I felt so much unhappiness, I never would have learned how imperative it is to find joy in every place you can. I kept (and still keep) a journal of five things I’m grateful for each day. Starting out my day with that changed how I allowed the world to affect me. I was no longer a slave to being unhappy, I forced myself to find the things I could be grateful for in each and every day. Even if I couldn’t find anything big to be grateful for, I found five things every day. Sometimes it was really easy, and sometimes it was incredibly difficult. However, forcing myself to find five things to be grateful for each day, changed my outlook entirely. Having anxiety, even when everything is going amazingly, I still have bad mental health days, journaling my gratitudes each day reminds me that I need to get out of my head and focus on the good.
I’m grateful for the opportunity I was given to learn along side the people who had viewpoints completely different from my own. There were people from all walks of life, people who had had so many more experiences than I have had, people who had never left their hometown, and so many other types of people. Getting to know so many people opened my eyes to so many different things, and I’m so excited to continue meeting different types of people as I continue my education at my new university. Every person I met had a different way of looking at the world and a different way they reacted to the situations around them. The information I learned from seeing that, has changed my view of the world entirely.
The primary reason for going to college for me isn’t the people, the environment, or anything of the sort. For me, the main reason is academics. This past year, I learned how to be a good student. In such a low pressure environment, I was able to put so much energy into studying and my work-it showed. I was not a good student in high school, I wasn’t a bad student, I just wasn’t as dedicated or hard working as I needed to be. College allowed me to reach my full potential as a student, and taught me how to study. My General Psychology class’s first topic was how to study and get good grades. Without that, I don’t think I would have finished my first semester with a 4.0. I will take that incredibly valuable information with me forever and will be a better student at my future, more challenging university. This past year allowed me to develop skills that, in a high pressure environment, I would not have been able to develop as successfully.
I’ll be the first to admit, and anyone who knows me will back me up when I say that I was not a very devout Christian before I went to school. After experiencing H20 church at school, an environment of Christianity where everyone was there because they wanted to be, not because they felt obligated by their parents to be allowed my faith to grow because I was being encouraged and supported by people who were in similar stages of life to mine. Leaving home means that you have to be responsible of your own schedule and motivating yourself to do things. I admit, I missed multiple Sunday mornings, but each morning I went, I felt less alone and far more uplifted. One morning, I got to church early, felt like I looked like a trashcan spit me out, but my friend invited me to sit with her and her group regardless. Sitting with them, I knew that, even though I didn’t know them at all, they all loved me because we were sisters in Christ. I will forever be grateful for that morning in late April, because that friend changed my morning and completely brightened my entire week. Going into summer, it will be a challenge for me to miss church because it’s way too important to my week. My school changed that in me forever, and I will eternally be grateful.
Though this year felt like it would never end, and sometimes I fell into a pit of self pity, those tough times have changed me as a person. I am now stronger, harder working, and more faithful. There were times when I felt like I had no energy to keep going, but I knew I had to do it anyway. I will forever be grateful for this past year.
If you are in a situation that feels like everything is wrong, find the light, I promise it is there. The situation will only get worse if you dwell in the negative. Strive for positivity and warmth, and it will come. It will take time, but if you keep working to either get yourself out of your situation or change your outlook, it will happen.