By: Brittany Payette
I first started at Cameron in Fall 2019 as a concurrent student. I remember being so elated that I was accepted as a concurrent student and simultaneously really nervous about my first college classes – especially as a first generation college student.
I was relieved when everyone was kind, and I ended up enjoying my classes. I took my first Psychology class when I was a concurrent student, and I fell in love with the subject. I decided to pursue a Psychology major’ and I am incredibly glad I did.
For those of you who end up changing majors, that is absolutely fine. You may take a class that completely alters the trajectory of your career path because you were fascinated by it. You may start out in one major, take a few classes, and decide it is not the one for you. There is nothing wrong with that either.
Be flexible and open-minded because you never know what opportunities or obstacles may come your way. I never anticipated the insanity that COVID-19 brought forth my senior year in high school in 2020. I had to learn to adapt to an uncertain future.
I had to accept that things often associated with people’s senior year of high school like Prom, an in-person graduation, and even yearbook signings simply were not going to happen for me or my fellow peers. That was a tough pill to swallow because I had taken it for granted that I would be able to do all of the senior year activities during my senior year. I can assure you that I did not make the same mistake in college.
As a first semester concurrent student, I had no idea how vastly different my spring semester would be because of the pandemic. Everything changed in what felt like the blink of an eye. I feel like my College experience was largely shaped by COVID-19.
It was in 2020 that I was awarded the Presidential Leaders and University Scholars (PLUS) scholarship. This scholarship made my college education attainable, and I learned so much about leadership from being in the program. I made indelible memories as a PLUS scholar, and I am grateful for the experiences I had in the program. I hope I have honored the PLUS program throughout my collegiate career and will continue to do so as a leader in the community.
Another organization integral to my college journey is the Collegian. I joined the Collegian in Fall 2020. It was a peculiar time to join because everything was virtual, we had to social distance, and many events that usually took place did not happen. However, my Collegian advisor Professor Bublitz was phenomenal and went above and beyond to make sure we could still produce a newspaper. He prioritized our health and safety above everything else, and figured out how to still provide training and publish the newspaper even though we were unable to be there in person.
I started out as the copy editor, and I knew from day one that I wanted to be the managing editor one day. (What can I say, I am an ambitious person.) I diligently worked my way up the ranks. I became the student life editor, then the news editor, then the co-managing editor (with Cambron Alsbrook, who was an amazing mentor) and finally the managing editor.
I feel honored to serve as the managing editor for this fantastic newspaper. All the arduous work is worth the finished product. I do not think that many people realize the work that we put into the newspaper, or how much we learn from being a part of the Collegian.
As the managing editor, I do a little bit of everything. I come up with story ideas, conduct interviews, take pictures, design layout, help my fellow Collegian members and more. I learned marketable skills from being in the Collegian that will help me in the future with my career, and I gained job experience.
I love writing for the Collegian. I put a piece of myself into every story I write. Every time I hear someone say they enjoyed my stories, my pictures, or my layout designs, it makes me feel ecstatic and grateful.
I recommend that you find what you are passionate about and pursue that passion. For me, that is learning to help people by hopefully becoming a licensed therapist one day, and by continuing to write. So, take some interesting elective classes, join an organization and try new things. Some of them you may not be any good at and some you may detest. At least you will know and learn from the experience. Sometimes, it is during difficult times that we grow the most.
College is an impeccable time to do a lot of self-exploration and to help cultivate your unique identity. Sure, it can be daunting to try new things, but to succeed in life it is imperative that you be resilient even in the face of failure.
I hope you find what your passions are and figure out what makes you, you. I can spew out platitudes all day, but if you are not willing to put in the work, nothing will change. College seems to go by in a heartbeat, so make the most of it. Make sure you do not forget that everyone’s college experience is different, so try not to be discouraged if yours is not the same as other people’s. Your journey is just that – yours.