A year in review.
Nine months ago, I stepped on Adrian College’s campus, unsure, excited, and unaware of what the year was to bring. I was leaving behind everything and everyone I knew. I was starting a new adventure to find myself and grow as a person. In high school, it is common to say the words “I cannot wait to grow up.” When you enter college, and those words become reality, your entire perspective changes.
We are told from a young age to enjoy life. However, life can be scary when you look at the future. It is an unknown with no limitations. Personally, I don't know whats out there, what obstacles I might face, or exactly how to get where I am going. What I do know is, I want to surprise myself. I want to do something I can be proud of. I want to reach my full potential, or reach past what I could have ever expected of myself. I want to find what I was put on this Earth to do and conquer it. I want to impact the people around me to make a difference in their lives. There is more to life than what is shown and I want to be the one to find it.
There is not a perfect way to describe what the college experience brings. It is different for everyone and changing constantly. The advice that I was given and the advice that I can give, is truly find who you are, make connections, and build relationships with the people that surround you. College is about the education you receive, as well as the social gatherings and get-togethers on the weekends. It is about the friendships you make without realizing how they began. College is about the long nights and long talks, the constant laughing at dinner, or outrageous car rides and unnecessary trips just because. College is about making memories to talk about for years to come. It is the stories to share with others in the future.
A year has flown by and my freshman year of college is a week away from coming to a close. I have learned and grown so much throughout the course of this year. It is exciting to look back on where I started and look forward to all the possibilities that lie ahead. I planned on this blog being a synopsis of my first year of college, but I realized the best thing I can offer is not about the events that happened, but about the life lessons learned from each of the unforgettable memories. Adrian College has started me on a journey towards something greater than I could have ever hoped and the future is shining brighter than ever.
On any journey there will be roadblocks along the way, obstacles to face. How you face those obstacles is what shapes you into the person you are. It starts from a young age and stays with you throughout a lifetime.
“As long as you work as hard as you can and give everything you have, there should never be failure. All one can ask if that you give it your all and leave nothing behind.”
From a young age, this anonymous quote was engraved in my head. To do everything with an all out effort, to never give up when times are tough, and to go above and beyond whenever the opportunity presents itself. Along the path towards the top, I’ve met new people, made new friends, and lost others as well. That’s the part they don’t tell you about growing up: in order to reach the top and to reach your ultimate goals, sometimes you lose people along the way. People that you care about, people that you gave everything to, yet you sometimes have to watch them turn around and walk out of your life. With no warning words or actions, but simply walking away. A life lesson I have learned is that those who truly are meant to stay in your life will. One of my favorite verses reads, “everything happens for a reason,” while this may be true, it doesn’t make losing someone any easier. As humans we have these inner defenses that we put up as walls and barriers. After every person, and every experience, a wall is either added or taken down. What those experiences range from can change person to person.
Adrian College president, Dr. Docking, left me with this quote, “What separates the boys from the men is not about the win or loss of a fight. It’s the never giving up. A man will take many bullets, but its not about how many bullets you take, its about how many times you get back up, after taking them.” What I have learned as I have gotten older is that life is a battle. The only person who you can solely rely on is yourself. You alone know what is best for you and how you truly feel. Those are feelings no one can ever take away from you. They are the feelings in our heart and in our mind that make us who we are. They are the ones that teach us love, as well as loss. These are the feelings that show us success and failure. Without looking within ourselves, we can be no help to others or ourselves. Finding our inner self is the most important art of growing up. In order to find stability and confidence in others, we need to first find the same within ourselves.
Adrian College, has helped show me that as long as you give everything you have, be who you really are, and go through life holding nothing back, you can never let someone down. As one of my coaches said, “in life you have two choices of the type of person you want to be. You can be a Tigger, or you can be an Eeyore.” (Granted, both characters are from the renowned children’s series of Winnie the Pooh, but its the analogy that matters.) If you go through life with a bounce to your step, with excitement surrounding you, there isn't much you cannot face. However, if you go through life moping around and waiting for things to happen, life will hit you in the face before you know it. Don’t ever change so people will like you, be yourself, and the right people will love the real you.
Twenty-five years from now, there will be a high school reunion. We will see people and their spouses, hear about their wonderful lives, and everything they have accomplished, but honestly, this is just for show. There will be people that you still are friends with from high school and the rest will just be memories. The people we live with now are the people that will stay forever. As another Adrian College student said, “Six months ago, I didn’t know who any of you were, now I cannot imagine my life without you.” This comment could not be more true. When you live so close to people and see them numerous times throughout the day, you come to rely on them. It becomes habit and we forget that we barely used to know them. They come from all walks of life. Whether its playing hockey, horseback riding, a member of a fraternity, or just another student, they each have their own individual impact on us personally. These people have a way of entering your life and changing it for the better. How two girls from different states can brighten your day or how one frat guy can make you want to succeed to be that much better of a person. How one girl, can turn your world upside down, leaving a mark on your life that you will never forget. College has a way of breaking down barriers from class to age, because here at Adrian we are all Bulldogs. We are family.
This past summer, I came one Sunday for a football workout. A kid shorter than I was picked up a football and asked if I wanted to play catch. The rest of the summer, every other Sunday, this same kid and I would play catch, over and over again. We couldn't even remember one another’s name, but we were catch partners. Fast-forward six months and my throwing partner has become my future roommate, best friend, and a part of my own family. People like this change your life for the better. Take another student for example, a girl who lives fifteen minutes away from my home. She went to a high school that I have played against numerous times in athletics. She went from being a person a couple towns away, to a friend who I can count on. Someone who has my back no matter what happens. I asked her about her freshman year and here is what she had to say,
“Freshman year flies by, I didn't think a year of your life could come and go in the blink of an eye. You come in Welcome Week with mixed emotions and no idea what to expect. I love how many people you meet in such a short period of time. The craziest thing is that these people we have only known for this past year of college still manage to learn so much about our lives. Being able to move away from home, and live in a dorm with someone you barely know anything about, besides what you can find on the web about them, is a privilege, and a blessing. This year I cannot say how thankful I am I decided to attend Adrian College.”
Again, it all comes back to the relationships you make. Thanks to Adrian College being a small campus, we are able to become friends with everyone. Part of this caring atmosphere comes from our esteemed president, Dr. Jeffrey Docking. I sat down with him and asked his opinion on what he believes to be one of the most important lessons to learn, heading into college.
“Find out who the real you is. Explore yourself. Explore the different experiences and options that are out there. Learn to “dive deep” and be excited about what you are doing. Finding your sense of place in life will help you get to where you are going in the future.”
This message of finding who you are, and building these connections cannot be stated enough. As much as college can change and affect you, never forget about where you came from, and the family back home.
Until now I have never realized how grateful I am to my parents for teaching me everything I know. Showing me the right and wrong ways of life, the do’s and don’ts. Everything I know and everything I am to this point is because of them. Never forget to thank your parents for everything they have done. Young or old, you can never say it enough. Also, up until this point I never realized how much my four younger sisters and I were connected. After seeing them everyday for 18 years, to seeing them hardly at all, the time spent with them becomes more important than the last. I can only hope one day they read this and know I proud I am of each and every single one of them. I will stand by their side every moment of every day and watch, as they grow into something great.
College has the chance of being the best time of your life. It also has the chance of being the worst. How you tackle it, will determine the result. Stay true to yourself and challenge who you are. Dig deeper and discover something new. Create relationships and make connections; they are the key to your success. Year one is complete, the days are over, but the memories will never fade. Adrian College has become not only a school, but also a home.
- Kyle Bell