In addition to core classes, every student enrolled in the college of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) must take an eight-week seminar during their freshman year called LAS 101 (James Scholars take LAS 122). Within the course, a successful junior or senior student mentors freshmen on how to thrive at UIUC. These small classes meet once a week to gain wisdom on academic success, to have an immediate access to a peer mentor, and to become familiar with different U of I experiences. In other words, it bridges the transition from high school to college. One of our first assignments was to write a brief reflection about why we decided to attend a university.
I’m not going to lie. At first glance, this assignment seemed pointless. I thought, “Isn’t this what college application season was for? Isn’t it obvious? I’m already here, and I have my workload to prove it!” But as I was writing about my pre-med intentions, what seemed like busy work ended up being a much needed reminder. It took me back to the days when I would often have moments like this:
However, there were also times when I would stop and think: By this time next year, I’m going to be closer to my professional goals!
My college reflection forced me to think back to why I put so much effort into those college applications last year. It also made me think about why I spend hours learning about cellular respiration and the Bohr Model now. To say the least, the struggle to get to college was worth it!
The lesson to be learned is…
It’s easy to get caught up in just the thought of all those deadlines you have to meet, the standardized tests you have to ace, and those endless college essays you have to write. It’s easy to feel intellectually insecure and to get overwhelmed. But one of the most important steps to a successful college process is to stop thinking about all the work you have ahead of you and just start! Write down your ideas for the next essay, put all those application deadlines in your phone’s calendar, or start studying for the ACT or SAT for thirty minutes a day. Soon enough, you’ll be less intimidated and more comfortable with the college application process. Whenever you’re feeling stuck, write down why you want to go to college, even if it’s because you want to be a professional science nerd like myself.
The Fall 2019 U of I Application is now open! Just start!
Happy college searching!