Senior year of high school. Like many of you, I spent hours perfecting my college admissions essay. I soaked in every moment attending my last varsity football game, danced the night away at my prom, and wore my college’s name on a T-shirt on May 1st.
I had a question that many high school seniors also had, “How was I supposed to know where I wanted to be for the next four years when I was 17 years old?”
At the time, I wanted to major in psychology and go to graduate school to be a clinical psychologist. I was so optimistic for the future ahead of me.
I counted down the days until I would pack up all my belongings and leave home to live in a 130-square-foot dorm room with two people I had never met before. My mother dreaded the day that she would drop off her only child an hour away from her. I could barely sit still in my seat on the way to Bridgewater.
But when I got to the place I longed to be for so long, it didn’t feel like home.
I wandered around a campus that was so foreign to me. The bed in my room wasn’t comforting to come home to at the end of the day. Finding something to fill my time while I wasn’t in class was difficult. I was frustrated. I found myself lost in every way.
January came and went, and I just wanted to quit. Fitting in at my school took a toll on my grades, and I started to think I simply was not cut out for college.
My mother would console me when I came home on weekends crying about how lost I was. She told me time and time again that I was smart and could graduate college, but maybe I wasn’t in the right place.
I decided it was best for me to look into a new school to transfer to. I only entertained the idea of transferring to one school. FSU was an easy choice at the time as it was so close to home.
I remember every moment from Transfer Students Day at FSU. It was hot. It was muggy. And it was a tad overwhelming.
During the course registration period of the day, I struggled to find classes that weren’t completely full. I started to panic that I wouldn’t find any classes to fulfill my degree requirements that semester.
A gracious Communication Arts professor, who was assigned to help us craft our schedules, could sense my anxiety.
She sat down next to me and said, “Let’s figure this out.”
Audrey Kali, whom I had never met before, took out a pen and paper and asked me all about what I was interested in learning, my work schedule – everything. She went out of her way to get an override approved to get me into classes I needed. I knew right then and there that I had made the right decision to put my trust in FSU.
Dr. Kali wasn’t the only mentor I found at FSU.
Fast forward to my senior year. I decided to pursue a journalism minor and took News Writing in the fall semester.
I never had an interest in joining any student organizations in my college career until I met Desmond McCarthy during this class. I enjoyed writing for The Gatepost for the class, but it wasn’t something I thought I was particularly great at.
On the last day of the fall semester, Desmond pulled me into his office. He praised me for the work I did during the semester, and encouraged me to continue with The Gatepost. His support and belief in me resulted in a spring internship and a staff writer position at the newspaper.
It felt amazing that someone believed in me and my success.
Something they don’t tell you in high school is that it is OK to change your mind in regards to your career. You don’t have to stay in your major or stick it out at a school that doesn’t feel quite right.
I never could have guessed that FSU would change everything for me. On this campus, I fell in love with communications and journalism. I met faculty who believed in my success. I found a sense of community that I had never witnessed anywhere else before.
We are a family, after all.