A Letter to Freshmen: What Change Has Taught Me

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College is a lot of change. Very little is set in stone. This is not meant to insight fear. Change is a fact of life. Perspectives change, goals change,and  relationships change. People move, and change careers or jobs. Pre-college, we’re in a little bubble of life where our parent(s) have been guiding us through life and have been with us for a lot of it. Now we’re on our own a little more and it’s up to us to figure out what we want. This is so intimidating. I’ve felt this a lot lately. It can feel scary. 

I recently had my first career-related job. Now that I’ve had the undergraduate job experience that I’ve longed for, my vision of my career and life has shifted. I feel the need to re-evaluate why I concluded  that I want to pursue a career in medicine. Mainly because I have learned more about my major and other possible career paths. Why after all this time am I compelled to go down a certain path? I feel so intimidated. I am trying to go with the flow of my life— take the opportunities I find and use them to the best of my ability. But I can’t help but feel the need to dig deep and figure out what I want as soon as possible. This is good, but I also need to become comfortable with the fact that I will not know everything that I want all at once. I need to become more patient. My personality tends to be impatient, especially in times of discomfort. See- I have learned a lot about myself! Being involved in research as an undergraduate student helps you reevaluate and reconsider your career goals, and hopefully gain a better understanding of what kind of career you want. Scary— I know. I only have ~2 months of experience in research, but I’ve learned so much and feel like a new person.

I feel a lot of self-doubts, I am not going to lie. I am both shocked and proud of myself for getting my first career-related job. It felt so intangible for so long and truly felt out of reach for me over a month ago. Now that I have had a research position, I’ve been given the incredible opportunity to see cool experiments, help with data collection, and help with data analysis. Accepting anyone, especially an undergraduate into a lab is a huge investment as I have to be shown or taught everything, and because I am an undergraduate, I don’t have the authority to do things independently, nor should I yet… lol. 

I am glad I didn’t get a research position earlier. I remember wanting one in the fall of my freshman year but also having no idea what I would  get out of it, why I wanted it, and what they were looking for. I lacked the real reason and interest for it. I thought it was a cool experience but had no idea how to articulate why that was. Reflecting on this is reassuring that yes, you may not have everything figured out. Being patient and learning as much as you can are things I am trying to get more comfortable with, qualities that are helpful when it comes to handling change.

We are creatures of habit. Habits make us feel like we have control over our life. But just because something is new doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing, and just because we’re used to something doesn’t mean it is positive. Learning to accept change is a challenge for anyone and maturing is learning how to better adapt to it. Do not be afraid to put yourself out there and try new things! At the end of the day, you just have to be secure in yourself. Become your best friend; take care of yourself first and from there you can handle change better and meet new people. As cheesy as this is, you’re fully capable, you just have to genuinely believe that.



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