If you didn’t sing the title to the tune of “Living on a Prayer,” you’re missing out on the momentous occasion that is me finishing my first two years of undergrad.
All jokes aside, it’s not that big of a deal because I’m not done with my degree yet, but the speed in which the last two years have flown by is unimaginable. I didn’t realize it has been this long until we got here. I saw a Google Photos reminder last month that it was two years ago when I graduated high school in the pseudo five-minute-each ceremony my class got because, well, you know why. And now, we’re halfway through another transformative set of four years.
In the sense of what I was picturing for my college career, I had a sort of nontraditional sophomore year, in that I took the spring semester off of classes to work as a metro co-op at a newspaper full-time, my first “real world” person job. It was an interesting six months, and now that it’s over, I can officially call my sophomore year over, even though the rest of my college finished the semester back at the beginning of May.
Regardless of my situation, it was still an amazing 10 months that felt a lot more “normal” than the freshman year I had, and I’m eternally grateful for it. But like anything, finishing another year of college comes with its challenges, whether big or small.
I discovered that learning a new language might turn into the hardest classes I take for the rest of my college career. Last fall, I took the first semester mandarin class and it was the most difficult to comprehend because of how much memorization it took on top of learning how to make sounds that are different from the English language when speaking. So, when I go back to classes in the fall and take the next level class, it’ll likely be just as if not more difficult after taking a semester off. Luckily, I have a little green bird on my phone refreshing my memory every day, so we’ll see how that goes.
Without getting into too many of the too personal of details, I learned that it really is okay and much more fun to try new things. At the surface level, one new thing I did was go to a hockey game, which might not seem like a lot, but coming from someone who doesn’t care for sports usually, it was a lot. Hockey is kind of the main sport at BU (instead of the roar of football spirit I’m used to at home), and the school excitement showed once I started going to the home games. It was a roaring crowd, especially at the game against BC, which was my favorite of all the games I went to. Of course there were other more internally rewarding and unsatisfying new things I tried out, but hockey games were something new I really liked that can represent my year of new things as a whole (all without knowing the rules beforehand too!).
All in all, I think the most valuable thing I learned this year was the power of learning by doing. I saw this most in my reporting work. In a journalism class I took last fall, we learned how to write police and fire/breaking news briefs, and I was able to get the basics down, but it was even more rewarding to learn more about the structure as I actually wrote ones that would be posted online for my co-op. In both places, I appreciated all of what I learned, but doing it with higher stakes, I think, made it stick in my brain more than in a classroom. That’s kind of the beauty of internships and programs like that because it gives you the outside-of-the-classroom real experience.
So what’s next? Well, I don’t really know.
I have two months ahead of me to prepare for the fall semester of getting back in the groove of taking classes and maybe an internship if I can get one, while still making time to enjoy time with my family at home. I’ve learned that college is both planned out and predictable when it comes to being on campus and doing the routine of classes, but it is also full of changes as you take steps closer and closer to “real” adulthood when looking for opportunities outside of the classroom. It’s a matter of meshing the two for a somewhat balanced college career for the last four semesters.
Thanks for reading,