Wednesday August 23, 2017

Beginning Your Journey

By Meghan Rivera

A recent graduate reflects on the past four years of college and asks new students, "If your college experience is a journey, how will you choose to spend it?"

Will college be the best four years of your life?

The sun streamed through the windows of our family truck on that clear August morning. I rubbed my eyes after a two hour nap and focused on the words on the sign in front of me: Welcome Class of 2016! Swarms of college students cheered as we pulled up to my dorm. We spent the day unpacking, meeting roommates, and listening to the president’s booming voice as he welcomed our class during matriculation. After saying goodbye to our parents, we soaked it all in, wide-eyed and awaiting our first dose of independence.

It feels like it was yesterday.

I can still remember the excitement of meeting new people, the anxiety of starting college courses, and the awkwardness of learning how to function as an adult without mom and dad (a feeling that remained all four years!). As I take a trip down memory lane, I look back at my experiences with gratitude.

  1. I engaged in deep, philosophical conversations on topics that ranged from the Jim Crow laws and mass incarceration to the Jewish roots of the Eucharist.

  2. I changed my major four times.

  3. I made random Steak-and-Shake runs with friends at 2 a.m.

  4. I experienced heartbreak.

  5. I traveled to Italy and sang in the most beautiful churches I’ve ever seen.

  6. And all the while, I tackled obstacles and handled stress as well as a baby gazelle learning how to walk.

But I think that’s the beauty of the college experience. You have your ups and downs and you LEARN. This is the time to take risks, to ask the tough questions, and to soak in the wisdom of some of the most intelligent people you’ll ever meet. You’ll make mistakes along the way, and that’s okay. Learn from them and keep moving forward.

So, back to the original question: will college be the best four years of your life? Well, it is up to you and what you make of your experience. What do you want to accomplish during your time here? What risks can you take to learn and grow as a human being? How can you be an agent of positive change in the Dayton area and beyond? These are some of the questions you can ask yourself as you begin this new school year. There are numerous resources on campus that will challenge you to step out of your comfort zone, but it’s up to you to seek them out. We have included a list of possible “starting places” below. 

Your college experience is a journey. How will you choose to spend it?


Start your journey -> Campus Ministry, Campus Recreation, Center for Student Involvement, IACT, Office of Multicultural Affairs, Women’s Center

Learn about the many student organizations on campus at Up the Orgs on Friday, August 25 at 3:30 p.m. on the Central Mall (KU field).

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