Freshman Year in Retrospect

So my first year as a college student has officially come to an end. What now? There is close to three months until the next semester and my sophomore year begins. How productive can one be during their first summer home in California?

This first of many years in the South has taught me that there really is such a thing as culture shock within one’s own country. Going from one end of the country to another gives light to variations in speech and great differences of opinion based on life in differing parts of the same country. I can say that, for me personally, going across the country for school has proved beneficial and was the right decision. Though it has definitely been an ongoing transition, I grow more comfortable with my decision every day and I love my school.

As a student athlete, college life felt weird at first. I’m sure every other college athlete gets the same feeling, but this most definitely is the best and most strange experience in college I’ve had to go through so far. You’re essentially forced into a family with these people. At least in my sport, you do (what feels like) everything together. Fortunate for me, I like my team and got to meet them before I officially became a student. To me and my view of my team, the definition of team is bound with that of family. Similar to when you’re born, God puts you with a group of people who you don’t know and you’re supposed to depend on them. As a college athlete, trusting people you are initially uncomfortable with is super hard. But this year I grew to know the other seven people on my team as my siblings who I did not choose, but grew to adapt to.

Constantly being around people from a different area and living in their comfort zones in comparison to your own has proven more difficult than anticipated. I hadn’t realized just how hard it is to find something in common with someone who isn’t from your area. But whenever I do meet someone from California or who has been there before, the feeling is close to the best feeling ever. It’s almost nostalgic. Like omg I’m so blessed today that God gave me this relief to have a conversation I don’t have to spend a ton of energy thinking about how I sound or what I say when I say it, because it just comes out naturally. I’ve found myself to be most comfortable when I get to talk about California or my sport to someone who maybe only slightly understands. There is the rarity and excitement you feel when someone actually knows what you’re talking about when you say anything remotely West Coast-like.

One thought or phrase that has helped guide me through this year is something someone close to me asked me when I was beginning to stress and get caught up in things that I should not have been wasting energy on. That ground breaking question was merely, “Is this worth my time?” It immediately helped refresh my mind and reminded me of the more important things on my mind. There is a sort of truth to the statement so it always holds significance in my mind. But eventually, things did start to retreat to the way they were before with unnecessary worries regarding the people around me and outside circumstances and conditions that I had no control over. In moments like those, I tried hard to remember the phrase. But reminding yourself of a key sentence on your mind on a daily basis can be difficult. More difficult than it needs to be. So I went home, wrote it down in Spanish, and stuck it on a wall. This way it stuck out and I notice it more often.

This year has taught me many lessons, but I think the most important is to focus on my own journey. I found that my tendency was to focus on those around me and try to take on their issues and problems. But God taught me to not take things on that are not mine to take on. I was not given the problem, but I might have been given the opportunity to help the problem. Asking myself if something is worth my time is a way for me to decipher if that thing is beneficial to my growth and daily walk. If it is not, then it’s not worth my time and energy.

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