Reflections on my First Semester…

By Serena Lin ‘25

It’s hard to believe that I am almost one-eighth of my way through college!

Taking some time to reflect, I share a few of the non-“school-related” lessons I’ve learned:

1) Don’t psych yourself out!

Imposter syndrome is real, but don’t sell yourself short. Your experiences and perspective are worth sharing. Don’t underestimate your strength. I made an effort to apply to several competitions/ clubs, and, although some of them rejected me, I still learned a lot about myself and sharpened my interview/public speaking skills. If you don’t leave your comfort zone, you can’t discover what you’re capable of. For example, I entered a business-related pitch competition and thought that my team of all first years was  in way over our heads, but we actually ended up placing!

2) Reach out!

You can grow so much and discover so many random opportunities by taking initiative. I’ve made an effort to speak with two department chairs and even discovered a new career path through these meetings! (although I am still very much uncertain about my future and major haha).

3) Speak up!

One of the perks of going to a small liberal arts college is the class sizes. When there are only 10-15 students in a class, there are more opportunities to speak in discussions. As an introvert, the prospect of sharing a half-baked idea with a room full of strangers was terrifying! But I am slowly learning that…

  • People don’t judge you NEARLY as much as you judge yourself. And,
  • if you never share your ideas, you won’t have the chance to be pleasantly surprised when they are well-received.
art installation with bright pink light
a peaceful moment at the Skyspace on campus

4) Make room for spontaneity!

Yes, being intentional with your time and schedule is a good thing.

But some of my most memorable moments are the ones that I didn’t plan for, such as setting up a karaoke night with a small group of friends  : )

and finally…

woodworking that looks like fried egg
my first attempt at woodwork did NOT turn out egg-zactly like I planned!

5)  Everything you do does NOT have to be “productive” or “pre-professional”

It’s OK to do something for fun. It’s OK to be mediocre (or terrible!) at something and still do it for the joy of the process! I’m still a very clumsy dancer, but I’ve enjoyed attempting to learn ballroom & salsa dance through various school events with friends. And, while my first woodwork project looked lopsided and more like a fried egg than a flower, that’s ok too!

Happy Holidays everyone, and, to my fellow students: good luck on finals!