Dear Freshman ME | Tara-Monae

A couple months earlier in the year, I stood in front of the four-story building confused, not yet knowing if law was the path on which I wanted to embark on. Clad in my expiring high school uniform, I placed my fingers above my eyes, to shade them from the sun as I stared up at the silver letters affixed to the wall atop the building; the growing reality of beginning a new chapter of my life danced around in my mind.

During the faculty orientation process, our Dean, Dr. Jackson, quietly affirmed a few words that were etched into my mind, 

"After today, you will never be the same." 

Safe to say, at the time, I thought he was being rather dramatic. I didn't fully understand just how much I’d come to enjoy my freshman year and I definitely did not predict the many life changes that would have occurred in such a short space of time.

When entering into a new environment and into a new chapter of life, you are forced to mature. You soon realize that life, and time waits for no one.  If you don't keep track of assignments, you'll be forced to complete a semester-long project in a day (clap me, please) and start that group assignment the day that it's due.

You will welcome hardships, both physical and emotional, with a smile; knowing that better days are to come and that God's plan is at work. You live life with very little to no worries, as you know that every day is a new opportunity to start afresh. 

Upon completing my first year on the faculty, I reflect on the life lessons that I've learned thus far.
  • Friends will come and go. This is a saying that we hear (literally) all the time and (literally) from everybody until we (literally) begin to say it ourselves. It's true. However, the beauty of the university is the process of making new friends. Now, this isn't an invitation to drop existing friends. I try to meet with my 'seasoned' friends at least once a week. But due to an increase in workload and conflicting schedules, I've been slacking lately. I'll improve on this in the new year though (add this to my 2018 resolutions list!).

  • Nothing is possible without God. If I were to go into detail and divulge all that I've been through this semester, even you would wonder if life can throw that many hardships at you (PS. Yes, life can). In the midst of all the tears, the 'why did I choose law' tantrums and the overall challenge of finding my groove, I'm so happy that I had God to turn to. At times when all I wanted to do was lay in bed all day and when I couldn't find the right words to express just how stressed I was, He was there for me. I sought to make weekly Bible study a habit (another 2018 resolution) and met with like-minded Christian friends with whom I could de-stress and chill with. 

  • You're not going to look cute every day. There needs to be a certain level of care and effort when it comes to one's appearance. However, maintenance seemed somewhat of a chore this semester (I know, I know. I'll do better next year). What's a girl to do when there's a direct relationship between her workload, stress, and acne? Yes, they all increased at the same time. 

  • University is your place to shine. Yes, they were right. No, that old man wasn't exaggerating when he said it to you on the first day of school. This is where you'll be spending most of your time for the next three to five years. Make the most of it! If you haven't already, go outside of your comfort zone. Go join that club, enter that competition, try out for that team; the sky is the limit. When we go outside of our comfort zones, we're forced to grow. We end up meeting new people and believe it or not, also meeting new versions of ourselves.

My first year of university definitely didn't go as planned, but looking back on all that's happened, I now realize that I wouldn't change a single thing.

Written by: Tara- Monae Smith | All Rights Reserved

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