College experiences make big difference

The best way to describe who I was, as a freshman, is scared. I was scared of having a good time, of expanding my comfort zone, being so far from home and learning new things about myself. I didn’t come in to college looking to grow as a person. I came in with the mentality of “get in, get out.”

Being a little over a month away from graduation, I’ve begun to reflect on things I should have done during my time here and think, “if I could go back in time, what would I change?” This has become a recurring theme these past few weeks. However, all this does is bum me out. Sure, I could have gotten involved in more things and had more experiences, but I didn’t and that’s OK.

College has been a time for growth and experience. I’ve learned and done things while in college that I never thought I would do. I’ve hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and went to Paris. Those were things that weren’t on my radar because I never expected to have those experiences. These are moments that never would have happened if I didn’t come to Oswego State.

I am not the same person I was when I first started here. I didn’t talk much; I didn’t surround myself with good people. I held off on things because I thought I had all the time in the world. I realized, fairly quickly, that even though I had time, I needed to act and do things now. There is only so much time to experience college.

The scared and close-minded person I was as a freshman is a part of me and I will always appreciate it. I’m grateful for every single good, bad and mediocre day I’ve ever experienced during my time here. It helped me learn what I want out of life, how I want to live and what kind of people I want to be surrounded by.

College is a time to enjoy who you were in the past and propel you forward. It shouldn’t make you look back in 20 years and say, “I wish I could go back.” Looking back with regret will do no good; those memories are set in stone. It’s about appreciating the time you had and being excited for the prospect of the future, even if you have no set plan in place.

I plan to start work after graduation and look back at my time here at Oswego State with joy. Seventeen-year-old me would be proud of who I turned out to be and that’s really all that matters.