As a senior, the first thing I have truly realized, and it dawned on me just recently, is how fast my time here at the University of New Hampshire has passed. I can remember rather vividly, with nostalgia and angst for the future, moving into my freshman year dorm room. It was horribly hot out and I had so many things to move in, not understanding how small my room was going to be. I had mixed feelings of anticipation and dread. These were momentous times. No more parents to tell me to do homework or to find a group to join. Teachers weren’t going to be there for me every step of the way. No bells to dismiss me from class. No knowledge of where to go and who everybody was. That feeling of anxiety over something so serious and new held onto me for a little while, but eventually we all learn to adapt and survive. It’s learning how to survive in an active and positive way that really makes the difference.
For the first few years at UNH, I had no major, hadn’t joined any groups and was binge watching “Game of Thrones” and “Breaking Bad.” Not that there’s anything wrong with that –those shows rock. But there was certainly something missing. My inability to find a major and commit to it had a direct correlation with my mediocre and sometimes very poor grades. The stress from seeing all of my roommates already well into their chosen fields of study added extra anxiety that didn’t help me progress as an adult or as a student. Enter: me joining the paper.
I knew I wanted to do something writing related. I loved to read and my appetite for news and current events just made the decision to join The New Hampshire all the more sensible. After overthinking it for a while, I finally made myself go to one of the meetings and see what it was all about. I had never written a news article or interviewed large crowds of people before. What was I going to ask? How was I going to write it? Questions raced through my mind and I barely slept the night before the coverage.
My first three articles landed on the front page. There probably wasn’t a lot going on those weeks or something, but I felt proud. The experience did me in. I was hooked. I loved what was going on around campus and I needed to learn about it. Not only for other students to read about, but also for my own satisfaction. I had, at that point, chosen like five different majors, but after those first few articles, I knew there were no other majors I could want.
There is so much to do here. You won’t realize the magnitude of it all until you go out there and find it. I’ve dealt with anxiety since I was in high school and the best thing for it has been to step outside my comfort zone; to take chances and be afraid once in a while. That is the university experience. Challenge yourself and fail sometimes. I hate being a motivational speaker, and I despise cheesy and fake words to get people inspired. I don’t mean to be like that. I just want you to know that as a first year student, there is so much out there for you. Get out to find what makes you think and feel, since as sentient beings with abnormally large brains, that is the most we can ask for. Good luck, class of 2020.