Out of all the experiences I’ve had, all the people I’ve had the pleasure (or displeasure) of meeting, all the stress and deadlines and grades, I have to say the biggest thing I’ve learned in the past four years is that it’s okay to change.
I came into Southern determined to be involved in the college equivalent of my high school interests. That lasted an entirety of two months. I found out quickly that to make the most of college I needed to branch out and learn what I really wanted to do with my time. This made me realize that I didn’t know who I was or what I enjoyed. This is normal, and college is the best place to figure that out.
So I set out to find experiences to expand my sense of self. I landed in the annual Gay-Straight Alliance production of Rocky Horror Picture Show and loved every single second of it all three years. I was shown I can be unapologetically myself, love my body, and be proud of everything that I am no matter what anyone else says. It also helped me find my leadership skills and I ended up directing it in 2019. I would’ve done it again for my senior year, but a certain virus took that away from me.
I also began working at Student Media as a section designer for the sports pages and worked my way up to my current position. Sometimes it just felt like a job, but most of the time it was very clearly where I was meant to put my energy. Now I can walk out of graduation confident that I have real experience in my field to put on my resume. (I wasn’t paid extra to say that, it’s just true.)
I tried my hand at other things as well. I took a bee-keeping class at the Botanic Gardens. I worked on the crew of a Theatre South production. I even had a job at the Statesboro Herald for a time. These were all great experiences, but some left a more lasting impression than others. The best ones always involved my closest friends.
Out of all of this, I found a leader in myself that I never knew existed, a sense of curiosity that I want to nurture, and a determination to keep looking forward to bigger and better things. I’ve grown and changed and I could never imagine going back to the person I once was. I guess that’s the point of college: to become an entirely different person by the time you leave.
You’ll meet new people, some you’ll love and others you’ll hate but all of them will have some effect on how your college experience goes. Same goes for clubs and classes and majors and everything else. Just know that you have control over all of it. You get to decide what changes you and if you don’t like the direction you’re going, you can change that too.