The Good, The Bad, and The Tough Times of Freshman Year Abbey esler

I came into my first year at Miami University identifying as a student-athlete who wanted to major in engineering management. How hard could it be? I had done all the AP math and science courses in high school and swam for 13 years of my life. I didn't see much change and felt like I was heading down a similar path, just in a new place. I was eager to begin a new chapter of my life.

I strolled through campus, getting to know my new home away from home. Taking in the beautiful buildings and paths intertwined so intricately. The way the trees hang over you and the mix of brightly colored flowers present an incomparable scene. Miami's campus is one like no other. Nothing can beat it.

So many changes are thrown at you it's hard to learn how to digest and balance it all. Learning how to handle time management and figuring out your priorities is all part of the process. Unfortunately for me, it took me until the second semester to get a grasp on it.

As classes and the swimming season started to hit full swing, day after day, motivation and energy dropped lower than I could ever imagine. Doing problem after problem, practice after practice, it was hard to find meaning for myself. Finding the time to give to myself, friends, studying, and all little necessities created chaos and I wanted to drop everything. Putting more effort into certain areas like social, athletics, and sleep over education and studying left me running in circles trying to pick up the fallen pieces.

Finishing my first half of freshman year was a relief and something to smile about, but it did not go the way I expected. I was nervous the second half would be just as grueling as the first. In order to try and minimize stress, I decided to take online English thinking it wouldn't be a challenge and would help relieve stress.

Sitting in my room at my desk was more than okay than going to a classroom 15 minutes away. I took English as an easy course and not as serious as my main rigorous classes. I did well enough in high school to build my confidence that I was decent at English and could fly through it. Not only did I learn this to be false, I also learned a greater understanding of who I am.

The first inquiry was a narrative reflecting on how language has shaped us and our identities. Thinking 'I've done this before' made my words and paper flow cohesively. I had picked a moment in my life that was easy to talk about and therefore I was comfortable with me work.

By getting a grade below my expectations back on the paper made me rethink my game plan for the course. I was challenged and motivated to show that I am a good writer when I want to be. I may have slacked a little, but I was ready to try harder. The next paper was about a speech that we find interesting and what makes it a great speech by talking about rhetoric devices. I chose a TED Talk that had greatly changed my perspective on my life.

This speech holds a special place within me. And I was excited to talk about what makes it incredible. In a sense, I was ambitious to share my passion for this speech. And it struck me like a lightening bolt. By talking about this speech and vulnerability, I reflected on myself. I reflected about who I am and my time thus far here at Miami. I was no longer going to take this course easily, and I was ready to build my confidence and motivation to try my best on this paper and the following inquiries.

As I wrap up my second semester as a freshman, I have learned so much about myself. Some things can't always be taught in the classroom or online. But some things can be learned outside of the material in a course. Online English forced me to manage my time dealing with all my other classes and swimming. It also had great challenging inquiries where I had the chance to delve into topics that are meaningful to me. The inquiries and papers were forced, but I got to choose what I wanted to talk about and how. I was able to learn more about myself in English than any of my major classes.

College is a time where everyone really is on their own journey. A time to find what makes them... them. To have something so eye opening come from something so small in the scheme of one's problems. They come and go unexpectedly. There's no book, no guide, no person to tell you how to get through these next four years. You have to live through the good and the bad times. Our experiences shape us. Here's a thank you to my freshman year for being a great start to finding who I want to be.

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