Thursday, May 3, 2012

Final Thoughts

By the end of this week, my freshman year of college will be over. I can't even believe it. It feels so surreal. In these past 8 months, I seen myself change a lot. I've experienced the best days of my life and some of the worst days of my life all in the span of a school year. I know for a fact I'm not the same person I was before I got here. In my first blog post I made some observations about college life. Here are my concluding 8, written by a wise almost-sophomore.

1. The people who were your friends in the Fall might not be your friends in the Spring
In a college environment, you're forced to make friends quickly. When you don't know anyone you immediately try to meet new people. And that's perfectly fine. One of the greatest things about college is meeting new people. But because you're so eager to meet new friends, you find that you trust people a lot more easily. It takes a lot less time to make a "best friend." And because of this, friendships can easily fall apart. Sometimes this happens because you realize you're just not compatible or maybe you joined a frat or sorority and met new people. One of my observations from the beginning was "Being best friends with your roommate is an awesome thing." Well, we were best friends. Now we're at each others' throats. Oops.

2. Home and Family is extremely important to me
Okay, it's not like I didn't know this. But I feel like coming here made me realize just how much I miss it. The adventurer in me always wanted to get as far away from home as possible. Not because I didn't like it, it was simply because I wanted to broaden my horizons. But now that I'm away (and I am not even that far) I'm starting to really value my time at home. And it's also starting to make me rethink my future plans. Can I really leave my family for a year to study abroad? I still want to more than anything. But now I'm a little nervous.

3. People come from all different kinds of upbringings
This one kind of goes without saying. Of course everyone is different and everyone is going to have a different home life but it's not until college that you actually see those differences. Sure, high school had a diverse group of people, but in the end we are all from the same place and we're still with our parents. When we are released into the college realm, I think we all cling onto what we know. And when we do this we run into people that are completely different. And I guess I just find that interesting.

4. Service has become a major part of my life
Going to a Jesuit university you are not getting the full-experience unless you are involved in some kind of service. I was extremely excited to get involved right away by signing up for a service learning class. But I had no idea what kind of an impact it would have on my life. Being involved in service has completely changed my view on the world. It's opened my eyes to so many things I've never noticed. I even see service in my future career. It's become so important to me.

5. Your friends from home will change too
Everyone changes when they get to college. It's a whole new world. The innocent friend from home might turn out to be perspicuous when she's at college. People might experiment and try new things good and bad. College is a time when people discover who they really are and who they aren't. And everyone is going to grow apart. To be honest, sometimes I get jealous when I see my friends with new best friends. But then I realize I've made new ones too. And for the friends from home that I remain good friends with, I hope we can be close friends forever. And instead of getting upset about how each other has 'changed" we'll be excited to hear all their new stories. 

6. I'm not sure where my money has disappeared to
I could've sworn I was the best teenage money-saver. I was always able to keep track of my money. Not so much at school. There are a lot of things you end up spending money on in school. (Transportation, food, books, extracurricular activities, and all that jazz) I guess I never realized how often I didn't need to spend money because I lived in my parent's house. It also probably helped that I had a job then. But either way, I quickly learned after my first semester I need to strengthen my money saving skills even more. I was lucky enough to acquire a work study so that I could have some kind of income the spring semester. That's been really helpful. And I'm back to being money-savvy.

7. It's hard to say goodbye to friends
I've met some of the greatest people here at SJU. And now that it's all ending, it's really sad to see them leave. The beginning of summer is a little more bittersweet here at college. In grade school it didn't matter because you would get to see them all the time. But now when everyone goes back home, home could be hundreds of miles away. And it's kind of upsetting. I'm going to miss everyone a lot.

8. College will change your life
This one is obvious too but it's so true. College is a time of self-discovery and enlightenment. I really feel that SJU and my college years are making me the best person I can be. I'm really grateful for that.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

What is my Calling?

They say everyone has a purpose. Everyone has something they were meant to do. But sometimes it isn't always clear. Sometimes you just don't know which path to take. And that would explain the way I'm feeling now. I believe there isn't one specific thing we were set out to do. One could have a number of callings. And those things could change as life goes on.
Right now,  it's nearing the end of my freshman year of college. My major is International Relations and German, I know that much. But I'm still unsure of what I'm going to do with it. But I think that's okay. I think it's okay not to know. Most college students don't. Some people in their 30's don't know what they want. But there is one thing that has always remained true. The unknown world has always fascinated me. I've always dreamed of going out and traveling the world. And this, I believe, is my purest calling. It may not happen soon, but I'll work hard to make it happen. But for the meantime, I know I have several talents that will get me where I need to be. And I can continue experimenting and improving them until I'm the best I can be. That's what motivates me.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Returning to CFL

After a long break, I found it a little difficult getting back into the swing of things. Only two weeks into the new semester and service was starting up before I knew it. I wasn't quite sure if I was prepared. Due to scheduling conflicts, I had to change my service day. So this time around, I'll be going to service with the other half of the class. This was refreshing, because now I could bond with the people I didn't typically get to see. This gave me the little boost of confidence I needed.

But when I got to CFL, my learner wasn't there. It must've been a mixup. It's hard enough coming back after over a month long break but now were coming on Wednesdays instead. I still worried, only because I hadn't seen my learner in so long. Weeks before the break, she began to show up less and less. She told me she had some family issues. Mark and Scott assured me that they would get ahold of her and tell her I switched my day. Guess we'll just have to wait and see next week.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

First Semester of Service

Well, it's December now. Which means my first semester as a college student and also as a volunteer tutor is coming to an end. I can't even believe how quickly it went. I don't know what I can really say about service. I don't think I really "fell in love" with it like everyone else. I mean, I've learned so much and I'm so proud of my learner that has improved so much. But I don't think I'm really interested in tutoring. At least not math and reading anyway. My learner and I are both pretty reserved but we really managed connect. At the last session, she really opened up to me about something personal. And I felt like we really bonded. She really is an extraordinary person. And I'm really hoping she sticks with CFL. I may not enjoy tutoring but I'll gladly be her tutor for the rest of the year.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

An Object

When asked to think of a meaningful object within the CFL, I immediately felt nervous. I honestly couldn't think of a single thing. Not that it's a bad thing, but the CFL doesn't have very much to it. It's a small classroom connected to offices, that I've only seen one side of, and the walls are mostly blank. I couldn't exactly attribute significance to any of it. Did the chairs and chalkboard really symbolize anything to me? But when I got there on Monday, I made sure to keep my eye out for little things I'd been missing. I tried to be more observant of the place around me.
I was the first one to get out of the service van, and within a few small steps I already found my object. How have I never noticed that the door was blue? I'd been to the CFL a few times, but I guess I just followed everyone else in. There was something about it's light, sky blue color that made it so calming, so inviting. I decided this was it. And it's going to sound corny, but door is a wonderful symbol. It's not just a door into a building, it's a door into a new experience, a new life, and a new world. For the learners, this door opened up to many new places and opportunities. In this place, they would receive the education that would prepare them for a job and a better life. And for us, well, it was a new experience, just like college. I'm sure even though some of us have done some sort of community service, we've never had to tutor an adult. I think through this we will learn something for ourselves too. And the door also means something to me personally. This is me making the best of my own education. This door is going to be the first of many doors that will lead me to a new place. And I'm very excited for it.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Midterm Reflection

I haven't been here for very long, but I can honestly say that I'm not the same person I was when I first set foot on campus. Going away to college has forced me to live independently in every aspect. And not just having to cook for myself or having to learn how to get around the city on my own, but I've noticed my professors expect more of me. While they teach a lot in class, there is a lot I have to teach myself on my own. But even deeper than that, it has changed me as a person. I feel like this school is making me the best version of myself. Or at least, it is inspiring me to do so. I'm becoming more out-going, more involved, more aware, and more educated. I fall more and more in love with this school everyday.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Reading Rosa Lee

This took me a while to write. But I'm almost unsure how to feel about Rosa Lee. This woman's story seems all too familiar. Rosa Lee lived in a life of poverty and because of this she resorted to drugs and stealing. She and her children were caught in a cycle. I think what hit me the hardest was the involvement of drugs. Rosa practically ran a drug business in her household. She would use her children and even her grandchildren to sell drugs so that she wouldn't get caught. This was how she got money. It wasn't long before Rosa Lee got caught up in the drugs herself. And not only herself, but her daughter, Patty. Patty began to exhibit destructive behavior. And I find it so difficult to read. I try not to make too much of a connection. But it reminds me of how, just a few months ago, I lost my aunt to a drug overdose. This stuff happens everyday. Sometimes this book makes me so angry. But in reality, how can they help it? This is how they were taught. There was no other way.  

Now, Miss A and I didn't talk too much about her life outside of the CFL. And she does seem like a clean and "well-to-do" person. So it's hard to relate her to such an extreme case. But she is without a job and she cannot read. So she does have her own struggles.