Maybe it’s the 50 degree weather in Champaign, maybe it’s because the Fighting Illini men’s basketball team is tied for first place in the Big Ten Conference, or maybe it’s because graduation is only three months away, but I am feeling incredibly proud to be an Illini today. I feel right at home.
And with such a positive outlook comes what could be …
… my most raw and honest advice yet.
You see, this past weekend I attended an Illinois Leadership i-Program called Insight (more on this later, I promise!), and at my table sat three freshmen—three individuals with such uncertainty, excitement, and success ahead. And they don’t even know it yet.
After hours of small talk and scripted conversation, one asked me my best piece of advice. I, of course, laughed and told him to check out my blog. He then asked if I found all of my best friends during my freshman year, the way movies say you should. I laughed at that, too.
The truth is that I was pretty lost my freshman year. I was unsure of who I wanted to be and unsure of the mark I wanted to leave behind at this university. There are friends I met early on in my college career who I remain close with today. But I would be lying if I told you I remember the girls who lived down the hall in my dorm or the people I met on my first day of class. Most of the friends I made freshman year were an attempt of trying to fit in and find a home on such a large campus. After a few months, though, many of those friends went in paths much different from my own, and that’s okay. I didn’t find my closest friends until my junior year after much self-refleciton and growing up.
Remember, genuine friends are worth the wait.
My point is that feeling lost is okay. Losing friends is okay. Change is okay. Never lose sight of your goals, wear your blue and orange with pride, and go Illini!