With finals week quickly approaching and many of us home until January, the semester is coming to a rapid close. This was arguably one of the most difficult semesters for college students across the country, especially for freshman/first-year students, who have had to adjust under such unprecedented circumstances. This is my reflection on my first semester of college, during a global pandemic.
First, I would like to point out the great effort from Cabrini University by both employees and students to keep everyone safe and make sure we could all stay on campus. The University's mitigation measures proved to work, as we had under 45 cases since the reopening in August to Thanksgiving break at the end of November.
Although it was strange to balance a “new normal” during a pandemic and adjust to a new school, this semester was such a time of growth for many people, including myself. Living on my own for the first time seemed scary amidst everything happening in the world, but it caused me to grow so much as a person and learn so much about myself.
One way that I grew as a person was through classes. I experienced disciplines that I had never studied before that have changed my view of the world. This is what I like so much about the holistic learning approach and the “Education of the Heart” put forth by Cabrini, you can learn so much about subjects that have almost nothing to do with your major, and it makes you appreciate studies that you would never have thought to learn about. My philosophy class, most notably, taught by Dr. Cimakaskey, has taught me so much about the world and about the way people subconsciously think and react to situations based on their experiences. These lessons helped me realize more about the people around me and myself, which was valuable at this point in my life.
One other way that I experienced personal growth was through making friends with so many diverse backgrounds. Many of my close friends at Cabrini are from many different states. I find it so amazing that we all have such different backgrounds but came together as a Cabrini community to become lifelong friends. It’s crazy to see the people you meet along your journey and how close you can become after a short period of time. I have learned about differences we all have (such as having to teach my out of state friends that it’s definitely a hoagie, not a sub) and that these differences are what makes college so beautiful. Everyone has a story to tell, and everyone has experienced life differently. When you listen to people's stories about life, it makes you view the world more holistically—this inspired personal growth for me.
Most importantly, I learned that you can never predict what life will throw at you. I’ve learned that it’s not always fun. There will be days where you are studying in your room at 2 am, stressed because you have three exams the next day, and there are times when you find the value of being by yourself. My first semester of college has taught me that there are so many great things about college, but if it doesn’t go exactly as you planned, that’s okay too. There are always new people to meet, new experiences to have, and new memories to make when you least expect it.
My first semester of college has been a learning experience for me, and I find that to be very valuable. I am so thankful for the friends Cabrini has given me the lessons I have learned, and the lifelong connections I have made. From friends, professors, the welcoming staff in dining and cleaning services that will always give you a smile when you need it, The Cabrini community is so inclusive. It made my transition to college life so much easier!