It Took a Year of Mistakes to Find Myself

There is an unrealistic presumption on college students: that we come into college and are magically supposed to know who we want to be and what we want to do with our lives. And let me tell you, that just isn’t true. Not one bit.

I don’t regret the choices I made freshman year, but it is always fascinating to consider that the person I was three years ago; that person is a stranger to me now.

I chose to live in Bromley my freshman year. And that, in of itself, is hilarious to me; I chose to live in arguably the most social dorm on campus. Today, I’d much prefer a quiet night in bed catching up on the latest Netflix show. I had met my roommate prior to choosing housing. As many of you know (and are probably dealing with right now) finding a roommate is tough. It feels like online dating for 17 year olds. So alas, when I found an individual who was kind and personable, I was willing to live anywhere to room with her. To all incoming freshmen: I urge you to research your housing options prior to committing to a dorm.

Photo from Rachel Hernandez

I also rushed (and was initiated into) a sorority. Now, let’s get one thing straight: many girls go through recruitment and love their experience. I have plenty of friends who have a strong bond with their sorority sisters, and have found incredible leadership opportunities in Greek life. But for me, it wasn’t a great fit socially or financially. After months of deliberation, I officially dropped out of my sorority. And you know what? I still had friends, I still had a social life, and I had an incredible opportunity to truly find my voice at the University of Illinois. Letting go of my sorority, and the false image of myself that I held onto for so long, literally lifted a weight off my shoulders. If you do not think Greek life is for you, know that there are so many other ways to find your social balance at this University.

Photo from Rachel Hernandez

The moral of the story is this: in your four years at the University of Illinois, you will make countless decisions. Some of those choices will stay with you for your years as a young adult and into adulthood, while others will only last months. All of them, though, will shape who you are. It is easy to get swept up in the excitement of Freshman year. Enjoy every second, but don’t lose sight of who you are and the values you hold.



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