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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Reflections on the first year

Published: April 25, 2014
Section: Opinions

It seems like it was just yesterday: anxiously entering my dorm room for the first time, saying goodbye to my parents and desperately trying to acclimate to my new surroundings. It seemed as though the end of the year was unfathomably far off, a tiny speck on the ever so distant horizon. It is difficult to believe that the year is coming to a close and two semesters have flown by so quickly. Will the succeeding years feel the same? Will they, too, come and go with such haste? The only way to find out is to wait, but for now, all one can do is reflect upon the past year and look back on the countless experiences that have come to shape their overall college experience. While such reflection elicits boundless joy, it also leaves space for learning and most importantly, self-improvement.
It is amazing how much change can occur within the span of one year. College may seem simultaneously daunting, exciting and almost everything else. Although it does not take particularly long to adjust to such a new lifestyle, there are inevitably going to be new challenges. Doing laundry alone, living with someone who, for the most part, is completely new and sleeping at decent hours are all part of the nascent phase. Over time this phase no longer becomes a “phase” and instead seeps into everyday life. As a result, not only are you forced to mature but also make new decisions culminating in a profound sense of change which permeates each and every one of us.
The impact that such change has is significant. Not only does it impact everyday decisions but also one’s outlook on life. When I return home now, for example, I cherish the time I have much more than I used to before coming to college. Every time I return home, I realize that I will have to just as quickly go back. Consequently, I try to make the most of all the time I get rather than letting it slip by. It is a feeling that many students experiences as they reconcile living in a college dorm and not their bedroom. The sense of responsibility that comes with the college experience carries in itself a powerful sense of change. This responsibility is not just derived from having to do individual tasks but also from the decisions you are forced to make in ever-changing environments, which will help you grow as a person.
Having ample time also leaves space for self-reflection which consequently leads to self-improvement. When looking back, it is easy to fixate on memories without learning anything from them. There is always something to learn from all that has happened before. Through such reflection, opportunities for self-evaluation are interminable. The decisions that we make individually always have their respective consequences, but we can only fully realize the effect of our decisions and actions when we reflect upon them and when we do so we are inevitably going to make either better of more informed decisions in the future as a result. Taking the time to reach these realizations is always beneficial.
Finally, as the school year finishes, the greatest reflections are your achievements. Whether it is in academic excellence or musical advancement that one has made progress in, these are all things of which to be grateful and proud. These are life-long accomplishments that all help us in reaching our goals. To reach those goals, it is important to recognize each and every step we take along the way as they are all equally important.
As busy as the year has been with all the events and struggles it contained, there is another one waiting around the corner, ready to pass us by just like the one before.