Peer Academic Advisor: Balsam Itani
Majors: Forensic Science and Biology
Everyone is on Their Own Journey
I am scared of two things: (1) spiders and (2) ambiguity. I am the type of person who needs to plan everything; I make lists, set reminders, color-code my planners, etc. Coming into college, I always believed medical school was in my future. Yet, upon entering my senior year, I began to second-guess my post-graduation plans. Do I really want to spend another 4+ years in school? Can I even get into medical school? Should I take a year off to travel? Should I just apply for a graduate program instead? What would I even apply for? Obviously, I have some choices to make, and the clock is ticking.
As I am just beginning my experience as a Peer Academic Advisor in the CAART office, I have been exposed to primarily first-year students thus far. Although I would never want to be a freshman again, I find myself just a little bit jealous that they still have all the joys of a college experience in front of them – joys that are now in my past. Everyone talks about how great it feels to finally graduate, but no one warns you about the impending doom of the “real world” after college. It is even more intimidating when you feel like everyone around you knows exactly what they are doing and where they are going, but you don’t. It is surreal to think that such a huge part of my life is coming to a close, and I am entering a whole new realm of reality. While in the early years of my education, I found comfort in knowing that right now, I am in school, and next year I will be in school, and the year after that, and the year after that. But now, I get to choose my next move. This, although a little bit scary, is a privilege for which I am eternally grateful.
Although I do still find myself vehemently juggling my classes, jobs, health, my parents’ happiness, and my own happiness all while trying to maintain my mental stability, I do have some humble pieces of advice to offer anyone in a situation similar to mine. First, do not compare yourself to those around you – everyone is on their own journey, and just because theirs is different, does not mean it is better. You know what you are capable of better than anyone else. Capitalize on your own strengths, confront your weaknesses, and trust the process no matter where it may lead. Second, the path you may choose after graduation is not the be-all and end-all. It is okay to change your mind. It is okay to explore your passions. It is okay to prioritize your happiness. It is your life after all, and you have the freedom to do with it that which you please. Finally, learn to embrace change, as it is and always will be a beautiful part of life. No one ever achieved anything great whilst nestled in their comfort zone. Cherish this time of your life and use it as an opportunity to stimulate growth and embrace the responsibility of being in charge of your own life.
“If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.” -Gail Sheehy