By: Ailish '15
Key. Check. ID card. Check. Phone. Check.
As I gather my things to depart my dorm room from Cedar Hall, I feel myself filled with many questions and anxieties. I have been at college for over a week now and, although, coming to preseason and meeting my cross country teammates has relieved a lot of the disquiet in my mind about my freshmen year, I still had a lot of questions about what lay ahead. At that current moment it was: what was going to be at this involvement fair? What should I sign up for? What kinds of people will I meet there? I leave my dorm and arrive at the quad where it is filled with many tables and friendly faces. On the tables were sheets, info graphics about that particular club, and LOTS of free stuff.
Now, in case you have not figured it out yet, I am in fact a junior in college now and this is a memory from two years ago. But BOY does it feel like yesterday. Especially since that moment something unexpected happened that would forever change the course of my college career. During that time in my life, I was someone who had always known what I liked. My top favorites then: running and psychology. At that time, I was also someone who found difficulty in stepping out of that box and trying new things. However, I knew that college had many opportunities and based on the advice of my family and peers I should not miss out on anything. And so, I wandered through the sea of tables, signing up for things here and there. What did I end up actually joining? SOAR and Inter-Class Council. SOAR is a student leadership program on campus and Inter-Class Council (or ICC) is a group of class leaders that put on events for the classes with help of the student committees they organize.
If you have not noticed the theme yet of that day it was leadership. In high school, I was always the person who dreamt of having a hand in doing something important for the class or being the class president, treasurer, or whatever, but never actually did anything about it because I was too shy, intimidated, and quiet. In high school, I had labeled myself and in turn, those labels are what held me back from listening to the little voice inside me and pursuing a passion. Because of the involvement fair, I applied to SOAR, was accepted, and I immersed myself in learning the fundamentals of leadership and not being afraid to let my voice be heard. Because of the involvement fair, quiet, shy, old me ended up running for Class Secretary on ICC my freshmen year and winning. Although, at this point in my life, I am no longer involved in these particular school programs, I still pursue my passion of leadership every day. In fact, I pursue anything I am even remotely interested in every day. This life mantra I have taken on is why I took the initiative and asked one of my previous professors to do research with her this semester. It is why I speak in front of large groups of people on a weekly basis as a tour guide. It is why I had the confidence to take on having three majors. It is even why I am writing to you right now. My word of advice to you? GET INVOLVED!
What other opportunities will you ever get to study, learn, attend – PARTICIPATE in something you’re interested in? If you ask me, it is so important to recognize the opportunities that are given to us and take them without second guess. To me I want to do anything I can to make the world a better place. To understand what makes it the way it is. To realize the world and all its complications, beauty, good and bad, just like the humans that dwell in it. If more of us took interest in it or interest in the little voice inside of us-- ourselves, our desires, we would fill a void that often is never filled. We would undoubtedly be fulfilling our destiny. And so, my dear reader, swallow those fears and get out there, meet people, listen to that voice, do what you’ve always wanted to do because this may be the only opportunity to do it. Take it. I promise you, you will be much happier because you did.