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Synopsis of College Career

By Taylor Brown

I strongly disliked Berea when I was a freshman. My excuses at the time: I am only here because my mother forced me, Berea is in the middle of nowhere-too far away from home, I feel so alone, I am sad and afraid, the dorm rooms are small, the bathrooms are inconvenient and crowded, my roommate is not nice etc.

Fortunately, things didn’t always look so bleak to me. I met new friends and hung out with them either to relax or study. Something as simple as getting up in the morning before my 8am class made me feel like an adult because my mom was no longer there to wake me up. Balancing my classes with my job made me feel like I was independent. I felt secure knowing I had friends and various professors in my support system. Berea was growing on me.

I was going to be a biology major because that’s what my mother wanted. We all know this story, right? My biology classes were fine but I couldn’t keep up. The interest and passion just wasn’t there. During the second semester of my first year I dropped my zoology class. I felt so much lighter with that class gone. I felt as light as a feather when upon learning I was hired as a writer for the Pinnacle newspaper. Things were looking up.

Sophomore year rolled around and I felt that I had the hang of this college routine. I knew classes were only going to get more difficult, but I was okay with that because Berea has such a strong support system. This was also a time for me to explore other majors. The idea of being a music major was so appealing to me, so that’s what I went for. Meanwhile my friendship with my best friend was falling to ashes. We were roommates meaning that at the end of the day, I’d have a stressful home to go back to. The situation was so strenuous that it affected my sleep. Lack of sleep led to poor decisions, especially with classes. The negativity surrounding the situation bled into my attitude towards those who were close to me. The academic side of music proved to be difficult for me. Even though I love music, Fundamentals of Music 101 made me temporarily dislike it. By the end of the semester, my former best friend and I became less than cordial to each other, and I felt I had wasted another semester with a class I wasn’t going to major in.

The next semester I moved out of the room, and out of the dorm. My new roommate was aware of the situation I’d just come out of and was very kind to me. I was excited for my new classes. I was now pursuing the Asian Studies major as well as a minor in African and African American Studies. My advisor was very optimistic about me being able to accomplish my goals, and that made me feel good. A couple weeks into the semester I received disturbing news from my family. In addition to that, one of my closest friends attempted suicide; now I know I was the only trusted person my friend reached out to. I became depressed, skipped various classes over the course of two weeks, and even after those two weeks I wasn’t completely present. Consequently, my grades suffered tremendously but I didn’t reach out for help. Even though I felt awful I didn’t think my issues were severe enough to seek out counseling, and I didn’t want to burden others with my problems.

I wanted to go to Japan. This was a constant dream of mine since I was a little girl but with the amount of stress I was under and being behind in classes, I felt that it was something I would not be able to accomplish. With my fear of heights and flying there was some part of me that was fine with that. Because of my compliance to this fear, I felt cowardly which did nothing to help my state of mind during this time.
I began my junior year bearing fresh wounds from a break up after three years. However that was insignificant compared to the positivity, so that year was relatively smooth. I thoroughly enjoyed my job at the Pinnacle and classes didn’t seem impossible to conquer. I met a couple new best friends who have goals they strive to meet. I had the fortune to have new experiences and applied to study abroad. That summer, I turned my dream of travelling to Japan into reality, and it was amazing.

Now I’m finishing up my senior year in college. I am grateful that I came here and that I stayed. There have been ups and downs, but I’ve come to the conclusion that there will always be ups and downs. How I respond to unfavorable situations determines the outcomes, and those outcomes do not always have to be bad. People come and go; it’s a fact of life. I can’t always be there for someone, especially if “being there” will cause me harm. Not everyone is worth my time. I do not need to downplay my issues; if something is burdening me, I need to reach out for help. Fear is one of my worst enemies, but I don’t have to be its victim.

Right now getting this degree is the main thing I’m concerned about, and these lessons I’ve learned so far (and will probably learn again) will help me through these next two months.

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