College is a way of finding oneself and building one's future step by step. Every semester seems like a never-ending year and every year seems like a lifetime. Students fail and succeed all the time, but they also go through experiences that change their whole perspective. Each one of us is in control of our own life, and we have all of the power to do what we want. We are all unique and so is our path in life. In college, we have some time to think about who we are and what we would like to do with out life. It is important to be passionate about what we want to do because that is what will push us to success. The experience that we get from college depends only on us. People change all the time, and it reflects in our performance, involvement, and interest in college.
Why do students' experiences of college change over time? We all have personal lives and experiences that are outside of college. Going to the Freshmen Assembly helped me realize how much can change in a year or two. I am in a place where I am not sure what I want to do in life, and if I am passionate enough about the major that I chose. Listening to one of the student's stories, I felt like it related to me on a lot of levels. A boy, who first wanted to major in biology and become a veterinarian, switched to fashion design and marketing after a year. Those are two totally different majors that do not cross in any way. Yet, he chose fashion over biology just because he went to his advisor and asked for help. He realized that learning fashion was closer to him and so he collected all of the information he needed and took a risk. For me, medicine was never a debate, it was rather planned for me since I was little. I loved hospitals, yet I hated being the patient. But there was a side of me who always wanted to be a fashion designer. I love reading about fashion, following the latest trends, and dressing up my friends. I believe that this boy changed his experience in college by getting involved in finding out more about majors and learning what they have to offer. He also evaluated his interests and realized that his dreams had changed. It happens all the time for college students, because we are always in search for something. As the statistics show, there are less than 30% of us who know what we want to do for sure.
Another example is a girl who commuted, yet she wanted to be as involved in college as possible. She joined multiple clubs and gathered information about internships. She knew that she couldn't live on campus, so she tried to stay there as much as possible by being involved in different organizations and clubs. I believe that one is in charge of one's own life and that involves college experience. If a student wants to be known at Dominican, then he or she should start thinking of ways to be involved. If one is not sure about a major, he or she should find out more about what majors Dominican offers. And finally, every student should get to know people who can help them in college because that assistance can change a lot.
Similarly, in the book that we have read, Reaching Out, Francisco was facing a lot of hardships. He was a first generation college student, his English was not perfect, and he was not as rich as other students. However, he wanted to learn and had passion which motivated him to complete college. His experience in college changed gradually, from getting bad grades to being a good student who was also involved. For Francisco it was hard to fit in with his classmates since he was from Mexico and his family needed his help. In his first year, he didn't go out with everyone else, he had to study all the time since he was struggling with English. He felt stressed out that his family needed help, his grades were not good, and he struggled to provide for himself. While quitting seemed the easy way out, he still continued to work hard. As time passed by Francisco started improving by working harder on his educational needs, working as a janitor and then tutor, and also balancing his personal time. Through these experiences, he conveys an impressive work ethic and he realized the importance of helping people like him. Francisco also shows a moral compass and a big determination to give back. He felt like it was his calling to help people that are going through the similar situations. He began volunteering by bringing supplies needed to immigrant families.
Financial needs, education problems, and the culture barrier kept him from realizing what he wanted to do in life. But as he worked hard to transform his life into a regular college student's life, he started noticing that he loved helping people. Those experiences led him to choose to become a teacher. This decision also led him to join the religious club in which he was able to explore many opportunities, such as working with poor families in Mexico and being in groups that addressed social issues that related to his community. Even though these activities could have impacted his academic performance, he still continued to look for more ways to assist the less fortunate. This really shows how he changed from when he started, because he grew and his experiences made him stronger. He also found out that he is interested in dance and music, which provided enjoyment and comfort to him. By the end of the book, he was not buried in books anymore, but he was spending time with his college mates at parties and sporting events. He also found love, which later on transformed into a marriage. Francisco is now changed into a regular college student that has more interest in what he is doing and has finally realized what he wants to do in life.
In this short amount of time in college, my experience has not changed significantly but it did change me as a person. First of all, I had not gotten such good grades in high school. Last time I remember having high A's was in fourth grade. I believe it is due to my passion that pushes me each time harder and harder. I have never done assignments ahead of time, but as I started college I started managing my time more effectively. It was hard to balance work, college, and family but having my time set aside for every single thing has helped me get everything done. I also value my time more since I don't have a lot of it anymore. I started realizing how important my friends and family are to me and how without their support I wouldn't be able to manage my stress. The last thing that I noticed in myself is that I am more confident and comfortable stepping out of my comfort-zone. I never liked to participate in classes or discussions, but I do it much more in college. The reason is because I feel like the community is very friendly, and I see myself fitting in here. Even though I would like to be more involved on campus, I still feel like I have achieved a lot in just a couple months. I am planning on joining the fashion club to see if that is something that I would want to do in life. I also plan on applying for a biology internship at Notre Dame so I can get to know if I really want to be in the medical field. There is still a long way to go for me, but I am proud of myself for having good grades, managing my time and being more open and confident.
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