It’s always exciting to begin a new semester. It means new classes, new friends, new study groups, and a new routine for each day. I find it refreshing to know that the start of each semester is almost synonymous to a clean slate.
Before heading to my first day of class this semester, I took some time to reflect on my experiences here at NC State. I really thought I hadn’t been here long, but I quickly I realized that at the end of this semester, I will be at the halfway point–halfway done with college. It was surreal to think about because it still feels like I just got here. I remember that the day I moved in, I rushed to get unpacked, rushed to get my family out of Raleigh, and rushed to get to the Goodnight Summer Retreat. I’ve got to say, I’ve been rushing ever since! My mother is always telling me slow down because life passes by fast, and I’ve never been one to listen until now.
It amazes me that its already time for me to start compiling the next list of schools I would like to attend, and planning when I will take tests to enter professional school. I aspire to be a pediatric dentist, and I hope my aspirations stay that way, but one thing I have learned in college is that all of my choices are pretty dynamic. There’s no telling where I will end up next.
So, in the spirit of reflection and trying to slow down a little bit, I’ve decided to write a letter to NC State, thanking the school for all of the impact it has placed on me. I’m hoping that someone younger than me will read it and think about slowing down and cherishing their time at NC State, or any school really. But I also want to use this to celebrate my victories while I’ve been here and maybe someday when I’ve established myself, I can find this letter in some corner of the Goodnight archives. So here it goes…
To NC State:
Part of me wishes I was writing this letter in remembrance of my time here. I’m always saying that I wish I was done with school. I’m always stressed about receiving the best possible grades I can and rushing along to professional school to finally be able to pursue the career I want, but I know that’s no good. I still have four more long semesters of college to go, and while I like to be more of a glass half full type of girl, I know classes are going to keep getting harder, and I’m going to keep saying yes to every opportunity to help someone else out–often to my detriment–but sometimes good things come out of it. Even so, my family is always telling me that I need to stay positive and that I have to slow down because, soon enough, I’ll be old like all of them trying to recall my own golden days. So, I guess I’ll take their advice and switch up my perspective.
I also complain a lot about the food at NC State. As sweet as the many options tasted my freshman year, the dining hall gets old quick! But I know as soon as I move off-campus, I’ll be craving Baked Potato Night and the annual themed dinners (A State Holiday has always been my favorite). I’ll also be missing the quick walk to eat with all of my friends, and how easy it was to schedule a dinner date with them. I guess that means I need to stop wasting all of my money on food from Hillsborough Street. After all, Hillsborough Street surely won’t take my meal swipes!
Anyway, back to the topic of school. I said I complain about it a lot and sometimes my classes can really irk me, but I’ve never had more wholesome connections than those I have fostered with my professors here. And I’m not just plugging NC State for the best academic professors, even though they are, but I can attribute a lot of my academic success to the professors I’ve had that truly take the time to learn about me. My best decision here was going to office hours. Not only does it enrich my understanding of the material, but it helps me to establish a connection with my professors that’s going to last throughout my duration of college.
Let’s take chemistry for example. It’s my least favorite subject. In my last blog post, I think I even said I hated it, and I do even more than math, but through fostering a good relationship with my chemistry professors I was able to excel and do so much better than I thought I was going to. And these relationships really have lasted! The other day I was walking across campus and bumped into one of my chemistry professors. He greeted me with a smile and genuinely wanted to know how I was doing and if my plans for the future were still the same. I don’t think I could get that type of experience attending any other school, but I might be a little bit biased. But don’t get me wrong, some of my professors have truly given me a challenge and I think that’s important as well. The good and the “bad” of professors on this campus have shaped me into the student I am today. Looking back, I couldn’t be more grateful for the tough graders and picky professors walking campus. They’ve immensely improved my attention to detail, and it makes for a pretty prideful story when you’re able to say you came out on top after a true struggle.
I’ve had some of the best times here outside of my academic experience. Storming the court after beating Duke, waking up and going to Bojangles’ before a noon kick-off (I really, really love that place), and just exploring what Raleigh has to offer when I’m able to take my head out the books. But I’ve also had some pretty awful times to accompany these like losing to Carolina a few basketball games ago (I know, it’s hard to be a Wolfpack fan), almost failing a chemistry test, and missing the bus many a times. Although all of these things were extremely annoying and worthy of tears in the moment, I now know that all of it was relative to my greater experience as a student here and life would probably suck if it always went as planned.
With all of that being said, I think my time here so far has passed me by like a blurry streak of color. My Goodnight Graduation Gala will be here sooner than I know, and it’s important to stop and think about all of the great things I have seen and done here in such a short amount of time. And it’s refreshing to know that some of my best accomplishments are still yet to come, and I don’t even know what they are! One thing is for sure though, I still have time to steal a brick, make it to the front row of the student section at the football game, and give everything I have left at State my best shot.
Although I can conclude this letter feeling excited about my future and shocked at the quick passing of my time here, I know that my thoughtful reflection may help me to slow down and bring my head out of the books just long enough to make my time here memorable.
With Wolfpack Pride,
Photography credit: Jason Perry/Goodnight Scholars Program