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A Fresh Start

by Genevieve O’Connor, Career Ambassador, ‘22 Aug 30, 2021

The year is 2018. The classroom numbers in Dooling make absolutely no sense, I have no idea where on earth Gambet is, and somehow I’m registered for 200 level French even though I can barely conjugate avere. 

My first year at DeSales had a bit of a rocky start. 

After spending the first 12 years of your education preparing for capital-C “College,” beginning the long-awaited journey can be intimidating, confusing, and feel something like rolling pell-mell down the large hill by the Heights (...not that I’ve done that). So for first year students, or anyone who is entering a new stage in life, here are 3 key points to remember as you embark in this new environment. 

1: No one will care if you mess up. 

The truth is, everyone flubs things sometimes, and nobody fixates on anyone else’s mistakes nearly as much as their own. I used to be terrified of answering questions or speaking up in class, because I worried about what my classmates would think of me. But I ask you this: have you ever thought twice about a time where you heard or saw someone mess up a math problem? Chances are, the answer is, no. Nobody is going to care about your mistakes except your professor, and it’s his or her job to minimize them. Besides, if you live your life in fear of mistakes, you won’t take risks, and you won’t learn. 

2: Don’t box yourself in

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote that “Foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.” Phew, what a roast! But the point this great transcendentalist was trying to get across is that an essential facet of wisdom, creativity, and everything that contributes to a great mind is a willingness to go against the norm--even if that norm is your own. Maybe you have never sung a single word outside of your shower. That fact does not mean that you can’t join a choir. Maybe you hated psychology in highschool, but studying under a new professor, in a new classroom, with new classmates could change your mind if you are open to that possibility. So, especially as you begin a new job, a new relationship, or a new school--remember that you are free to change. You are free to grow. 

3: Just try it!

A common theme between points 1 and 2 is that you should not be afraid to try new things! Don’t worry about mistakes, and don’t worry about how you’ve done things before. You are in a new place, so it only makes sense that you fill your time with new opportunities. First years, your time at DeSales will be so much more fun, fruitful, and beneficial to you if you get involved. So join clubs. Meet new people. Try new things. 

If you remember that mistakes are forgivable and inevitable, that you are not limited by your past, and that new places lead to new opportunities, your transition will be smoother and your time in that school or position will be all the better.  

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