Do Not Throw Away Your Shot
On a sunny day in October of 2016, I got the call that I had been accepted to the University of Jamestown. Four and a half years later, I am now completing my final classes as a Jimmie and preparing to step into the real world.
My time at UJ has been filled with endless adventures, late-night study sessions, and too many laughs to count. Most importantly, there have been many lessons that I have learned about what it means to be Jimmie, as well as what it takes to be a kind, compassionate, and overall well-rounded individual.
Looking back, there are four pieces of advice that helped me navigate life as a college student and will guide me once my time at the University of Jamestown has ended.
1. Do not throw away the chance you have to learn new things.
One of the first things I learned upon my arrival at UJ was that opportunities to learn new things are around every corner. With every new class and every passing semester, I learned more about the history of the world and what it truly takes to be a teacher in the 21st century. The lessons I learned while in college are some of the most important, as they have built the foundation for my future career. Overall, I would urge all incoming college students to jump at the chance at learning new things and to learn as much as you possibly can while at UJ—even though it may feel overwhelming while you are a student, as a graduate you will come to appreciate all the things you learned in college.
2. Do not throw away your opportunity to ask for help.
Another piece of advice I have learned is the importance of asking for help. I learned very quickly that the easiest way to succeed in college is by working hard and asking for help when you need it. In fact, asking questions can be the fastest way of showing your professors that you truly care about succeeding in their classes. Not only is knowing how to ask for help essential in a college environment, but it is also an important skillset to have as one prepares to enter adulthood. Sure, it may seem difficult or even intimidating to take that step of reaching out for help, but once you do, asking for advice or support becomes that much easier. Therefore, I urge current and future Jimmies to practice asking for advice or support and to never feel that they are infringing upon someone else’s time or space by asking for help.
3. Do not throw away your shot to make lifelong friends.
One of the greatest lessons that I will take away from UJ is friendship. Since campus is such a small, tight-knit community, I was able to get to know a lot of people in a very short amount of time. I love that I know a lot of the incoming freshmen class every year and that I keep in touch with friends who have long since left UJ. Even though I became an introvert during my college career, I was never deterred from making friends. In fact, I can say with the utmost certainty that I have made several lifelong friends who I know will celebrate with me during life’s biggest moments and will be there to pick me up on the days when I am feeling low. Although I may not be able to see many of my friends as often once I graduate, it brings me comfort to know that the friends I made at UJ will always be there for me. Thus, when given the opportunity to meet new people, jump at the chance, because you never know when you will find friends that become your family.
4. Do not throw away your chance to find who you truly are and what you want to do in life.
The last piece of advice that I believe is essential to guiding students through college and beyond is to not throw away the chance to figure out exactly who you are. College is the time to explore your passions and figure out what career path you want to take. For me, being a teacher was the course I always knew I would follow. It was not until after I began my journey at UJ that I knew History Education was my true path forward. With the help of many professors in both the Education and History Departments, my future became clear, and I have realized with a great sense of certainty that this is the path I am meant to walk. Therefore, take advantage of the chance to find what you want to do in life in order to become who you truly are.
If you would have told the seventeen-year-old version of me that by the time of graduation in May of 2021 I would have experienced as much laughter, stress, anxiety, tears and fun as I have, I would not have believed it. Now, with a little over three months until I receive my diploma, I am extremely grateful for every new experience that I have had throughout my time at UJ. Even more important and memorable are the lessons I have learned throughout my time as a Jimmie. I guess all that is really left to say is, I did not throw away my shot!