By Jessica Gulotta, SED 2017
Looking back on this year, as a freshman, there are six key things that I’ve learned and would tell my recent high school graduate-self.
Think about what truly inspired you to do what you want
I always knew I wanted to be a teacher but I was never really sure what. I took biology in 10th grade and had literally the world’s best teacher. He completely inspired me to be a better person, student, and future educator. I thought that since I excelled so well in this class, that I was meant to teach biology. I ignored my innate ability to analyze readings and my love for writing because I was blinded by my inspiration from my biology teacher. I realized that my teacher planted a seed inside of me to be an influential educator; biology was just the outlet in which he did so.
Don’t peruse something based on the money you will make after college or the amount of jobs available to you
I’m planning on being a teacher, so I’ve pretty much accepted a not-so-glamorous life at this point. One reason I was holding onto science education, was because I knew I would get a job right out of college- we need good science teachers and schools are desperate for them. However, I spent most of my freshman year unhappy, studying things that I really wasn’t passionate about. It took me a long time to have the courage to admit that I was studying science for the wrong reasons and I needed to switch to English education.
Have faith in people, but don’t put your guard down too much
When you get to college, you’ll meet people you never had exposure to before. Good and bad. You’ll recognize good qualities in people; maybe because they remind you of your amazing, wonderful best friend from home, or maybe you just clique with them. However, you’ll also see sides of people that remind you of the people who you don’t want to be- acknowledge that. College is the time to pick and choose everything; you get to make all of your own decisions without any outside influence; don’t take that for granted. People are going to disappoint you and hurt you, but people are also going to surprise you with the good in them and show you that there are so many beautiful reasons to believe in good people. Keep those people close.
Find an outlet
When work gets too consuming, sometimes we break down and forget that it’s just as important to take care of ourselves than it is to get our work done. Find something that makes you happy, while also positively influencing your life. First semester, my outlet was binge-watching Breaking Bad on Netflix; this was a black hole of no return. I started to convince myself that it was more important for me to watch five episodes of Breaking Bad in one night, rather than sleep. Don’t do this. Find an outlet that is good for you. Walk along the Esplanade, find a hidden coffee shop, go boxing, whatever it is, make sure it’s something that makes you happy and lets you escape.
There are no mistakes, only lessons learned
You’re going to make mistakes. Maybe it’s pulling an all-nighter when you should have just studied in advance, or maybe it’s saying something hurtful to someone that you didn’t mean. Whatever it is, don’t think of yourself differently because of it. This is a huge change in your life and you’re going to do things slightly out of character. That’s not a bad thing. It helps put things in prospective and makes you realize the qualities in yourself that you want to hold onto.
Make sure you’re growing on your own
We often grab hold of people who we love. Sometimes this is a friend, family member, or boyfriend/girlfriend. When you get to college, you have to make sure that you’re able to grow on your own as an independent person. Don’t depend on anyone to make you happy because when you’re separated from that special person, you’ll be searching for happiness that you’ll only find when you’re with him or her. A big part of college is learning how to find ways to become a better best friend to yourself, and in that, we can find happiness in ways we hadn’t before experienced.
*Jessica Gulotta is a first year student at Boston University School of Education studying science education.