Completing junior year felt like an accomplishment. Unlike the first two years, I felt that my post-college life was coming into focus. It was a year for trying new things and finding what works. While failure became another method of learning, success seemed like elusive virtue.
My first three years share many of the same themes though. One of those major themes is learning. No matter what I’ve been involved in throughout college, there have been lessons worth learning and times to test out what I’ve learned. I have discovered much more about who I am, what I want, what I don’t want and what I want to put my time and energy into. Even as I’m writing this though, I am still learning, and will always continue to.
Entering the University of Illinois, you might wonder what’s gonna change about your life. The answer is everything, and that’s OK. When you embrace the possibility of how anything can change your prospective and give you new tools for life, you are expanding your opportunities.
Life is often unexpected. Many times, you will find that it’s impossible to totally plan out the future. College will be no different from the rest of life, it’s all about how you react to each situation. You may find that your planned major just isn’t the one for you. It may end up that you meet your future partner here. You may meet a group of people and invent the next great thing in your freshman year residence hall. Or, maybe you’ll spend your four years working towards the career you’ve been dreaming of forever.
This is why you must be patient and pay attention to the signs of what works. When you find the right things, you’ll know it. Your experiences with what didn’t work will be the perfect comparison to what you’re doing now.
Success is just a concept, and you define it. When you step onto the University of Illinois campus in the fall, realize your next four years will test you and then build you. Let your journey begin with the mindset that nothing will ever be perfect, but that you are doing the things you feel right about.
Let there never be a question that seems too worthless, or a goal that seems too lofty. What you expect from everything you’ll do here is also what you’ll get out of it. It’s a direct correlation that will always work in your favor.
Just like your journey is just beginning, mine feels like it’s just coming into focus. What I love and appreciate most feels more immediate than ever before. With each class, internship, and day spent walking the sidewalks of our beautiful campus, I am learning what works and what doesn’t. I am forever grateful for what has happened. The good, the bad and the unavoidable. These four years aren’t just a time for more education, they are helping to build the story of who I am.