By Anam Bibi || Contributing Writer

Benjamin Franklin once said: “without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.”

As freshmen, all we can think about is how much we want to escape orientation. All we want is to do something on our own. There are multiple meetings where upperclassmen tell us what we can and cannot do. Ice breakers become boring and repetitive. We have to be uncomfortably close to strangers in team building activities and try to make new friends. We have to learn to live with our new roommate. We don’t really think about all of the clubs that are offered on campus, or very much about the campus itself. But from freshman year to senior year, the majority of people change and gain a better understanding of who they are and what they enjoy. 

About a week ago, I actually got to find that advice  out for myself. I went through orientation once more, but it could not have been more different. I was not just a senior, but a House Advisor. As a senior HA, you learn to enjoy almost every little ceremony and game night that you have to attend during orientation. The House Dinner becomes another opportunity to learn about the history of the place you call your home away from home. You remember your freshman year dorm as the place where you met your best friend, found your favorite study spot, got your first credit card, had your first argument over laundry, had to use flip-flops in the shower, and had to try new things outside of your comfort zone.    

As a senior, you’re finally able to relate to the advice you got in freshman year. You learn to laugh and connect with others during team building activities. You wish to be a freshman again as the thought of going out into the “real world” can instill fear in anyone.

Like most freshmen, many seniors still don’t completely know what they want to do in their life or their career. To create a good life for oneself is a lifelong process. You never stop growing because you never stop learning. To be a freshman means that there are endless possibilities for growth and change. From freshman year to senior year, the student changes both physically and emotionally. In college, most students experience some drastic, often difficult, life changes: homesickness, loss of a loved one, sadness of living away from family and pets, all nighters, academic failure, stress, anxiety, sleeplessness, registration chaos, loneliness, new friendships, loss of old friendships, parties, caffeine jitters, and discovering one’s passion. Although these lessons may be difficult, this is where the majority of growth occurs. In difficult times, it’s important to remember that we are not alone, and that others have gone through tough times, too.

By senior year, many students learn to find humor in some of these challenging moments. An exam or paper will be stressful, but not to such an extent that your mental and physical health will be compromised. To be successful, one must learn and grow from one’s failures rather than stay paralyzed in fear or regret. Use the past to learn from your mistakes and prepare yourself for the future, but remember to stay grounded in the present moment. Make the most out of clubs, sororities, fraternities, sports teams, study abroad programs, and meet new people. College is what you make of it, so make it memorable.

Anam Bibi’s email address is