Studying Abroad

Spencer Morgan (CFA’23)

I have always wanted to study abroad; the ability to do so was one of the major deciding factors for me during my college search and selection process.  Interestingly, I am now part of an academic program that requires students to study abroad, such is the importance of expanding one’s world view to my college. I feel that my experience, so far, has done exactly that: my perspectives on place, identity, and culture have all be broadened while attending school, going to work, and traveling around one of the greatest cities in the world: London.

School

In the academic portion of my program, I decided to focus on history and art, which has meant taking classes on foreign policy, societal change, and of course contemporary and modern art.  I have not only been able to see some wonderful special exhibitions, unique monuments, and moving performances as a result of these classes, but in taking them have nearly completed a declared minor in History and possibly another in the History of Art and Architecture.

Work

In the internship portion of my program, I was paired with the City of Westminster Archives’ Conservation Department.  Over the course of the past few weeks, I have joined a small cohort of volunteers in mounting, framing, and packaging objects in preparation for a special exhibition, ‘Life in Victorian Westminster’.  It has been a wonderful introductory experience to the field, re-affirming my desire to go into the heritage sector.

Travel

In my free time, I made a point of going out in the city to explore the numerous museums, parks, and other points of interest.  I also traveled on most weekends to other towns, like Brighton, Kirkwall, and Dover, and major cities, like Edinburgh, York, Liverpool, and Bath.

I always knew that I was going to study abroad, but I could never have anticipated doing so during a pandemic.  I admit that there were challenges – travel restrictions, isolation requirements, and other necessary protocols – that made the experience different than what I had imagined going into college.  However, different doesn’t mean bad; I had an incredible time and was able to make some fantastic memories with some wonderful people.

I left London with a broadened world view and a new zest for life that I know will stay with me for many years to come.

Our Fave Five Things in Kilachand Hall

Caroline Perna (SAR'25) & Veronica McKinney (CAS'25)

#1: Chrissy

On the first floor of Kilachand Hall are the staff offices, which enable students to build relationships with staff and administration. When you first walk in, you’ll see Chrissy standing behind her desk with her welcoming smile. Chrissy is one of the newest additions to the Kilachand Staff, and she is always a light that brightens our days. Throughout our freshman year, we have had the joy to get to know Chrissy.  She is an awesome resource if you ever need to talk, get advice, or if you need a hug. Over the last few months, Chrissy has become a “mom” for us since we are physically far away from our families, and we have a lunch date with her every few weeks. Make sure to pop in and say hi, and tell her that Caroline and Veronica sent you!

Caroline & Chrissy selfie
Veronica & Chrissy twinning (accidentally)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2: Kitchen

We are lucky to have a fully functioning kitchen on the first floor of Kilachand Hall (one of the only kitchens easily accessible to freshmen at BU)! The kitchen is an awesome way to bring people together to cook, bake, and hangout! Our favorite cooking experiments have been: chocolate chip banana bread, brunch eggs and crepes, and a surprise birthday cake for our friend Tanvi! Although you have to provide the food and cooking dishes, the kitchen is recently renovated, right downstairs, and easy to use. You should definitely take advantage and show off your cooking skills! (Warning: don’t use anything you find in the fridge…)

Tanvi’s partially eaten birthday cake
Banana bread in progress

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hangout sesh
The beautiful kitchen

#3: Coffee & Snacks

In the offices of Kilachand Hall there is a lovely coffee machine (with more than 60 different possible drinks) and a box of snacks. We make sure to stop in the office nearly every day to get our yummy drink, or chips, or chocolate, or granola bar, or cookie… the options are endless. This has been a really convenient (and free) option to get some fuel for the day!  (And we were especially grateful for the steaming hot chocolates on the coldest Boston winter days.) Chrissy stays vigilant on keeping the snack box replenished, and she looks the other way if you want to stock up on some snacks for later… 😉 If you ever have the chance, you should definitely use this (did we mention free?) pick-me-up station. (Bonus: you get to see Chrissy while you’re there!)

Our favorite little coffee machine
Coffee fixings and the snack box
Veronica & Nora
Chrissy & Rick with the popcorn machine

#4: 9th Floor Study Spaces

On the top floor of Kilachand Hall is a common area and quiet study room!  The main entrance area has a dance floor and stage because Kilachand Hall used to be a Sheridan hotel.  There are tables all over for you to work or hangout with friends, and a TV is available if you want to host a movie night!  If you need to actually get some work done, there is a VERY quiet study room (where you can literally hear a pin drop).  Kilachand Hall renovations are starting this summer 2022 (more information is up on the website), so the 9th floor will be upgraded with brand new classrooms, study spaces, and windows to overlook our stunning view of the Charles River.  (Around sunset, the whole floor is aglow in warm lighting that is perfect for selfies!)

9th floor friends enjoying a late night snack!
9th floor open space

#5: 1st Floor Lounge

Our recently renovated first floor lobby and common room is one of the most active places in the building! During the day, students will work in between classes, and in the evenings, the room is even busier!  While working, you may enjoy some nice ambient music from the public piano, or the aforementioned snacks and drinks from the front office.  If you need a quick study break, board games are available for anyone to use, and the blue couches are surprisingly comfortable if you need to take a power nap!  Our monthly Kilachand Teas are also hosted on the 1st floor, where you can get free drinks and food (our personal favorites are the chocolate covered strawberries and chips and hummus!).  Co-curriculars and events like the open KHC Closet (pictured below) are often held on the first floor because everyone coming into the building will pass by!

Friends studying on the first floor
KHC Closet

In conclusion…

WE LOVE KILACHAND HALL 

and all the fun people, places, and memories made here! <3


Photos © Caroline Perna & Veronica McKinney 2022

That Moment When You Know a College is Right for You: The 9th Floor of Kilachand Hall

Gabrielle Gewirtz (CAS’24)

There’s a moment everyone talks about during the college decision making process; when you know that there’s one college that makes you feel at home and overall just feels right. Making this decision during COVID, when I could not visit any schools, was very difficult. I chose BU because it checked all of my boxes—big school, research university, in a city, close to home, but not too close—but I didn’t know if, when I got to campus, I would have that feeling of rightness.

I moved into Kilachand Hall in late August with an anxious feeling: would I fit in here? Pushing those anxious thoughts aside, I started unpacking my boxes and suitcases. After moving in and meeting my roommates, we decided to start checking out places to get more comfortable with BU campus and our dorm. Since it was already pretty late, and we wanted to stay in our building, we decided to check out the 9th floor of Kilachand Hall to see the views of the city.

We took the elevator up to the 9th floor, and as soon as we got off, I was hit with that feeling. Around us, people were either doing work at tables or playing card games and talking to friends. Everyone looked at ease, and some people were even wearing pajamas. I immediately liked the feel of the 9th floor; you could go there to get work done, or even to be unproductive, and no one would care.

My roommates and I went to one of the big windows to look at the view, and again I was hit with the same feeling. I’ve always loved the nighttime, but Boston at night is especially gorgeous with its bright lights and zooming cars. I could easily picture myself up there on another night, playing games with friends or working on a late night project. At that point, looking out the window into the city, I knew I had chosen the right school.

Since coming to BU, I have gone up to the 9th floor more times than I could count. I’ve been to game nights with friends and have worked on group projects with people also in the honors college. Going to the 9th floor has been a great way to meet up with friends, and even meet new people. It’s also a place that has given many people, including myself, that indescribable feeling of rightness; that you know you chose the right place to be.


Image © Gabrielle Gewirtz 2022

Four Core Memories in Kilachand: Freshman Edition

Iffany Zou (CAS'25)

I’ve just about completed my first year here at Boston University in the Kilachand Honors College and to say I’ve loved it is an understatement. Through Kilachand, I have created so many unforgettable memories. However, my memory is bad, so before I forget, I’d better write a few of my core ones down:

1. Hiking Monadnock 

In chronological order: first up we have hiking Mount Monadnock. It was October 23rd, 2021 and I had just met the group of boys from down the hall. Because of Kilachand’s living and learning community, I encountered what became a tight knit group of friends. A zipcar, a collaborative playlist, and a few breakfast sandwiches later, we were off to the misty mountains. What I love about Boston is that you can get the best of both worlds: you live in the city, but you aren’t too far from the exact opposite. The two hour drive and the lack of sleep was completely worth it. Once we began the hike, we could barely stop. Each spot higher than the previous one unveiled a more and more beautiful view. If you love a good hike, I definitely recommend Mount Monadnock in October. At one of the peaks, we could see miles of orange and auburn leaves and this is a view I will never stop missing. We sat there a while, unable to fathom the breathtaking view. Just look at this photo…Boston might be the place for you!

Iffany1

2. Friendsgiving

On November 20th, 2021, my friends and I celebrated Thanksgiving with a home-cooked dinner at Jacob’s. All of us gathered around the kitchen counter was truly a sight to see: Dan reaching over me to grab the string beans, James playing with the fire on the stove, Shea mashing an absurd amount of potatoes, Jacob showing off his card tricks, and everyone singing, screaming, and laughing. It was only a few months into our first semester at college, but I was immensely grateful for the people I had met. As the night went on, my homesickness finally began to ease.

Friendsgiving

3. Fancy Marciano Dinner

One day of no particular occasion, my friends and I decided to have ourselves a fancy dinner at Marciano Commons (the best dining hall on campus). We dressed up, brought a bed sheet/tablecloth (same thing), and claimed one of the circle tables. We had a three course meal, starting with appetizers and ending with desserts. The night was so fun, we decided this was only going to be the first of many themed dinners. Next up: Adam Sandler Night (stay tuned)!

Iffany3

4. Ultimate in the Rain

In the middle of second semester, my friends and I really started taking advantage of the warmer weather. On Tanvi’s birthday, we gathered everyone together on a rainy Thursday night to play a big game of ultimate. We ended up staying out for hours playing ultimate, volleyball, soccer, and football. It was extremely slippery and multiple of us did fall, but I wouldn’t even hesitate to do it again (go team river rats!). On our walk back to Kilachand Hall, we jumped in puddles, sang Pitch Perfect, and continued to throw the frisbee around. By the time we got back, we were wet, sweaty, and a little bit muddy. We ended the night in the Kilachand 1st floor common room eating Veronica’s homemade cake and wishing Tanvi a Happy Birthday (Happy Late Birthday, Tanvi)!

Iffany4

It sounds cheesy, but these are the memories I know I’ll always hold close to my heart. Thanks to Kilachand, I’ve had an amazing year with a beautiful community. And thanks to this blog, I was able to share the best bits with you (and I’ll actually be able to remember it!).


Images © Iffany Zou 2022

Studying Abroad As A Second Semester Senior

Richard Boylan (COM ‘22)

As a Kilachand student, senior year is an undeniably busy time. Between juggling KHC specific classes, the Keystone Symposium, major requirements, and making sure to complete that final HUB credit, adding the prospect of studying abroad to the mix can be overwhelming. Despite the challenges, my decision to study abroad in Los Angeles during my final semester is one that I do not regret. With BU’s numerous abroad programs there is any number of cities and countries you can study in, but figuring out the work, school, and life balance can be challenging so here are some tips:

1. Plan Ahead of Time

Even if you don’t know where you want to study abroad quite yet, once you’ve made the decision to build a study abroad experience into your time at BU, start talking to both your KHC and Major-specific advisors right away. Navigating graduation requirements and class sequences can be tricky and talking with your advisors can often be the easiest way to map out a plan for building a semester abroad into your schedule. Each study abroad program offers its own unique classes and opportunities, often including an internship. The Study Abroad Office even has its own site-specific advisors who can help point out the most popular programs and walk you through the benefits of each.

It’s never too early to start considering your options for studying abroad. As a Film & TV Major, I knew that coming into BU my freshman year, I wanted to spend my last semester in Los Angeles. Working alongside both my advisor at KHC and the COM advisors, I was able to create an academic plan that allowed me to not only study in Los Angeles but in London too and still meet all my requirements.

2. Don’t Overload Yourself

Keep in mind, that every study abroad program offers its own unique set of classes. Often study abroad programs offer culturally specific spins on major-required courses. Each program also offers a host of one-of-a-kind electives that give you the chance to explore your interests further and take classes not offered in Boston. In addition to class requirements, most study abroad programs also include an internship component. The prospect of interning for a professional company is undoubtedly exciting but having a regular work schedule in addition to classes can require more of a commitment than many students are used to.

With all these different requirements vying for your attention, it is important to find a way to manage your time. Keeping track of due dates, knowing which assignments to prioritize, and most importantly taking time to enjoy your new home is crucial to managing stress. Which brings me to my final point…

3. Take Time to Enjoy The Experience

While classes and internships are important, the greatest allure of studying abroad is getting to live in and explore a new city or country. No matter how long it may seem at first, the semester undoubtedly always goes by faster than expected and it would be a shame to miss out on exploring in favor of grinding out homework all the time. Personally, I like making a bucket list ahead of time and made one for both of my semesters in London and Los Angeles. Creating a bucket list with a mixture of touristy “must-see” attractions, more niche experiences, the best food places in the city, and any of your other interests can help you explore parts of a city or country that you wouldn’t have seen otherwise.

The BU Study Abroad Programs also regularly run site-specific experiences to help introduce you to the city and other students in the program. For instance, this semester the Los Angeles program hosted trips to Universal Studios Hollywood, Warner Brothers Studios, and the Academy Museum in addition to several smaller study breaks. Most of these trips are free or heavily discounted, not to mention extremely popular, which make them one of the best ways to explore your new home in an affordable way.

Whether it be Los Angeles, London, or any of the numerous other study abroad programs that BU offers, the opportunity to live and learn in a new place is one that you should take advantage of no matter your class year.

7 Tips for Balancing Academics, Extracurriculars, and Mental Health in College

Emily Yoder (CAS’24)

My freshman year of college took place during the 2020-21 academic year, during which Boston University offered hybrid courses and most of my classmates were not on campus. Although the coronavirus negatively impacted my first year in college in multiple ways (virtual classes and club meetings, take-out only dining halls, etc.), one positive impact that it left me with was an improved understanding of what habits cause me to be my happiest and most productive. Spending more time than usual sitting in my dorm left me thinking about how I could motivate myself to make the most out of my freshman year, even under covid circumstances. I’ve collected some tips below that have not only stayed with me for two years, but have also enabled me to be involved in multiple extracurriculars, all while getting the most out of my academic experiences and having free time for my hobbies too!

1. Find a routine that works for you, and stick with it!

Productive and healthy routines aren’t one-size-fits-all! Experiment with wake-up times, meal times, and study spots until you figure out your favorites. If you’re not a morning person, forcing yourself to wake up at 5:00 am won’t automatically make you more productive! One of the best general life tips that I’ve received is that discipline succeeds when motivation fails; keeping a consistent routine has stopped me from procrastinating even when I haven’t necessarily felt energetic or motivated.

2. Schedule your free time!

As the semester speeds up, midterms begin, and then finals approach, it’s easy to not see friends for a week or abandon hobbies. Add blocks of time specifically for seeing friends, reading, or doing whatever relaxes you to your schedule, even if it seems that you don’t have time to do so. The busier you are, the more important for your mental health it is to force yourself to take a step back! You’ll come back to your work refreshed and focused. Scheduling blocks of free time also incentivizes me to stay on track while working because I know that I have something to look forward to later, even if it’s just reading in bed for a half-hour or going on a quick walk with a friend.

3. Cast a wide net with extracurriculars, and then narrow your focus!

Finding clubs and extracurricular groups that are a good fit may take some time. Go to SPLASH, reach out to clubs that grab your attention, attend their first meetings, and then look for others if they aren’t a good fit! As you begin attending meetings, you can narrow your choices down to your favorites, but it’s useful to initially join every mailing list that catches your eye.

4. Recognize and combat burnout!

Even though BU is a large school, it can be tempting to sink into the same routine each day and never try a new dining hall, study spot, or off-campus cafe. When signs of burnout begin to show (fatigue, lowered motivation, etc.) switch up your routine even in small ways: try a new Starbucks drink, do your homework outside, or try grabbing dinner with someone you want to get to know better!

5. Track every commitment and assignment!

My most important college habit has been consistently using a planner. Buy a planner or create an online calendar and write down every commitment, whether an extracurricular event, dinner with friends, or a meeting with your advisor, the minute that you commit to it. Create separate sections for normal homework, larger projects, and deadlines for quizzes and tests; assignments and events pile up quickly and it’s easy to lose track of smaller commitments! I also color code: yellow for academic/extracurricular meetings, purple for social commitments, blue for when I need to submit major assignments, and red for deadlines.

6. Work ahead!

I try to complete homework assignments two days in advance, so Wednesday’s homework on Monday, Thursday’s homework on Tuesday, et cetera. It isn’t always possible, but using this system has enabled me to spontaneously say yes to plans with friends, review topics with which I struggled, and begin larger projects further in advance! Additionally, if I realize that I missed an assignment, I have time to catch up before it is due.

7. Know yourself!

All of these strategies have allowed me to make the most of my college experience, but every person and every student is different and learns differently. Go through a process of trial-and-error to get to know what balance of academics, extracurriculars, and social life is best for you!

The Five Best Items on the Bay State Underground Menu

Jackson Wallace (CAS’22)

I first heard of Bay State Underground from other incoming Kilachand students in the GroupMe we used to get to know one another. It had opened not long before our first year and everyone was sharing what they knew about it. Apparently, the menu was fantastic, with a lot of options beyond what one might expect from a traditional dining hall. When I finally got to campus, Underground quickly became a lifesaver Wednesday evenings, when I did not have time to go to the dining hall before it closed. I looked forward to ordering on those Wednesdays before trying to finish my work at a decent time. After a few weeks, I quickly figured out which menu items were worth their salt and which were better avoided. I will now pass this wisdom on to you.

Fifth on the list is Underground’s fries. If you’re looking to get a little side when you’re going with friends, then these standard cut fries make for the perfect dish. The fries have a good balance of crispiness and are salted to perfection.

The next best item on the menu comes off of the dessert list. Although there may be better cheesecakes to be had, for the price Underground’s New York-style cheesecake can’t be beaten. The graham cracker crust is well-constructed, the cake itself is delicious, and sometimes it comes with strawberries.

The third best item on the Bay State Underground menu is the quesadilla. Specifically the one with chicken. I find that the plain quesadilla is not filling enough for dinner, but once you add some extras it becomes quite the meal.

The cheesecake is actually only the second-best dessert on the menu. The real treat is the warm brownie sundae. Sometimes, you are in the mood for something chocolatey and sweet and that is exactly what this menu option provides. They even put whipped cream on the sundae. The only thing keeping this menu item from number one on the list is that sometimes the brownie is not the finest quality.

With all that said, without a doubt, the best item on the menu is the chicken caesar wrap. It is delicious, it is nutritious, and it's pretty affordable for what you get. If you check out Bay State Underground, be sure to give it a try.

Jackson

What I’ll Miss When I Graduate

By Morgan Donohue (CAS'22)

1. Being a short walk from just about anyone and anything

One of my best pieces of advice is that Google Maps lies about how long it takes to walk somewhere. On campus, your furthest walk will probably be no more than 20 minutes. This made getting to class, stopping for lunch, meeting up with friends, and studying so convenient, because your destination was never too far away. If something is a little far, the weather isn’t fantastic, or you’re looking to go off campus, the T runs right through campus and you can hop on with your CharlieCard. If you want to go even further away, there are several ZipCar locations around campus that make quick daytrips very convenient. I will definitely miss the proximity of all of the places and people I’ve grown to know and love over the past four years.

2. The Kilachand advising office

Being in Kilachand means that the Honors College offices are right on the first floor. This is where you can stop by for meetings with your Kilachand advisor and other members of the administration. Your Kilachand advisor is there to help you navigate your way through Kilachand and the Hub, but they are also there to support you as a person. I will absolutely miss going to the advising office just to chat, and having a dedicated advisor who was there to help me along the way.

3. Bay State Road

morgan1

When I visited campus for my first open house, there was no parking close to Kilachand, so my family had to park and walk back, all the way down Bay State Road. And boy was it worth it. Bay State Road is, in my humble opinion, one of the most beautiful streets ever. It is gorgeous in the fall when the leaves change color. It is picture-perfect in the winter when it snows. It is beautiful in the spring when the trees start to blossom again. Even if you’ve had a busy day and you’re exhausted, it’s hard to walk down Bay State Road and not enjoy yourself. I am going to miss running down the street in the mornings and admiring the gorgeous buildings on my walks home from class.

4. The Dog Pound

I was never a huge sports watcher, and I am still not, but I will make an exception for BU Hockey. I absolutely loved everything about hockey nights, eating dinner a little early so you can get the good seats, learning the chants, hearing the BU Pep Band, and getting Raising Cane’s afterwards. With a Sports Pass, you can get tickets to any home game you want, and I highly recommend heading over to Agganis Arena for some hockey. I am going to miss putting on my hockey jersey and cheering in the stands, but I hope to come back and catch the 2022 Beanpot Champions at another game.

hockeymorgan

5. My on-campus housing

I lived in Kilachand Hall my freshman and sophomore years, and I absolutely loved my room. I loved having a bathroom in my room, being across from the Marciano Dining Hall, and living close to the Kenmore T station. This year I am living in South Campus in on-campus apartment-style housing, and I love it! I get to cook my own meals, so I am learning new recipes all the time. I live in a brownstone, so I have those iconic bowed-out windows that get plenty of sunlight. Living on campus kept me close to my classes and my friends, and I was able to make dorms and on-campus apartments into comfortable homes during the school year. I am going to miss all of that, but especially my current apartment and its view of Beacon Street.

morganroom

6. Student discounts

Your BUID comes with a lot, and I mean a LOT, of perks. With your @bu.edu email address, you can get access to discounts for digital subscriptions like The New York Times and Spotify+Hulu, software packages like Microsoft Office and MatLab, and many online clothes retailers offer discounts after you verify your student identity. You can also get free or discounted admission to museums like the MFA and the Institute of Contemporary Art if you show your BUID or order online with promo codes. I am going to miss the savings, but mostly I will miss the easy opportunities to go and experience something new without a huge price tag.


Images © Morgan Donohue 2022 

Looking Back as a Senior: Advice to My Freshman Year Self

By: Anna Natrakul (CAS ’22)

These are some things that I’ve learned throughout my time at BU, and I wish it wouldn’t have taken me this long to really embrace these tips!

Enjoy where you are right now

Be present in the moment without always planning for the next thing. Intentionally make time for moments of reflecting on how far you’ve come, whether this is by talking with an old friend, taking a walk, or journaling.

Sleep is NOT for the weak

Seriously, even if you might feel fine at the time, sleeping only a few hours per night is not something that you should be okay with or proud of. Create tangible sleep goals and hold yourself accountable!

Be more open to uncertainty

Don’t underestimate all the amazing people and opportunities that you will meet just by being willing to explore new things.

Say “yes” more…

Say yes to joining that club, meeting new people, and just in general putting yourself out of your comfort zone!

… but also know when to say no

Don’t put pressure on yourself to commit to things that you’re not excited about.

Spend some quality time outside every day

Yes! And don’t trick yourself into thinking that this isn’t “productive” enough for you (after all, being outdoors truly is productive for your physical and mental health).

It’s okay to live by a schedule, as long as your schedule includes time for you to relax

Regularly make time for the things that you enjoy but aren’t required to do. Try sleeping in, reading a book, catching up with family, or enjoying your favorite food.

Remember that you’re still learning

Soon you’ll look back and be amazed at all that you learned and how you grew in such a short period of time. Don’t be so hard on yourself and celebrate every small victory!

Be kind to yourself (seriously), and let your actions show it

Don’t only go out of your way to do nice things for others; also do nice things for yourself! And I mean REALLY treat yourself. Go to that symphony concert or ballet show you’ve been dying to see, go out for dinner after a difficult exam, take a break and have that movie night with friends.

By putting these tips into action, one thing I was able to do was create this painting of the Boston skyline (it’s the view from the 9th floor study lounge of Kilachand Hall) last summer. Making art has always been meaningful to me, but I hadn’t allowed myself the time nor space to truly enjoy it in a very long time. I hope that this advice can similarly encourage you as well!

Anna

Photo/Painting © Anna Natrakul 2022

Why Not Having a Solid Plan is OK

By Carolina Becerril (SAR'22/SPH'23)

As soon as I started out my college career, I knew I had a plan or at least I thought I did. I would go on to complete my four years as a premed student, take the MCAT, volunteer, get clinical and shadowing hours and create an excellent application that would guarantee me entrance into medical school. All in four years! Nothing crazy. Well, that very quickly changed as soon as classes started and I realized how coming to college was a lot more complicated than I expected.

I don’t say that to scare anyone coming into college but it’s something that we are all bound to realize at one point or another, and that’s ok. After my first premed course, I felt defeated to say the least. I felt like I needed to keep trying so I could stick to my plan, that if I studied a little harder, stayed up a little later and cared a little more, that I could do it and make it to medical school. At whatever cost. That also very quickly changed and did not work. By the end of my freshman year, I was more than discouraged and lost. I realized that my plan didn’t work and I didn’t have a backup one.

However, the summer of my freshman year going into my sophomore year very quickly changed my perspective on me not having a plan anymore. I got my first job at the Dean of Students office and my first research opportunity and glimpse into public health. I very quickly developed a passion for what would later become my major and main field. I met and made connections with different people that summer that completely changed my perspective and made me realize that I didn’t really need a plan, I just needed to do what was best for me.

At the beginning of my sophomore year, I quickly changed my major to Health Science and began looking into the 4+1 BS/MPH program. I continued doing research for the majority of my sophomore year, took more public health courses and grew more passionate about the field. I applied to the 4+1 program Fall semester of my junior year, got accepted and began taking MPH courses that Spring semester. I continued to do research on my own while remaining premed and becoming deeply immersed in the public health field.

While these last few years have proven to be challenging and exciting at the same time, I have come to realize that admitting to myself that having no solid plan is totally ok! As long as we get to do what we love most. I have learned that remaining flexible and being open to different options to achieve your career goals is the most important thing I can do to be happy and successful. Most importantly, I learned that we need to remind ourselves to be a little less scared about uncertainty and embrace whatever comes our way, even if it doesn’t quite fit what we want as it might just work our way.