Oh my gosh I have one week of regular classes left. Of my freshman year of college. Oh. My. Goodness.
It’s crazy to think that I graduated from high school almost a year ago. Time flies when you’re having fun! As I close in on this last week, I’ve been thinking about how I spend my freshman year and if I would change any of it. I decided I wouldn’t. Here are a few things I never thought I would do but I’m glad I did them.
-Changed my major
You’ve heard it said many times: every freshman changes their major. The last time I checked, the average was about four times, but I’ve heard six as well. I always thought I was the exception, as many of us do in life, and was certain that my Journalism/Political Science double major and minor in Catholic Studies was going to stick like glue and take me on a path to an exciting life as a political journalist or pro-life activist working in D.C. But now I have changed my majors, and the process leads me to my second “thing I never thought I’d do but I’m glad I did.”
-Working for TommieMedia
I guess I should clarify this: I did wonder sometimes if I would eventually work for TommieMedia, St. Thomas’ online student news source. I never thought I would work for them during my freshman year, however. When one of the TommieMedia workers came to our Communications/Journalism 111 class last fall and said they were hiring, I filled out the application with the usual “I can always say no” justification running through my mind. Before I knew it I had an interview, was given an acceptance email, and my life as a journalist began in February of 2011! At this point in time I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to major in Journalism anymore (because I wanted to go deeper in Catholic Studies), but was still open to a minor. I’ll be honest: this was a hard job. It was very stressful, especially because I didn’t know what AP style was. But I stuck with it, with much help from the Big Guy, and now at the end of it, I must admit I no longer get stressed out for an interview, and turning that finished article in is one of the best feelings in the world. I learned a lot about professionalism as well, especially when typing emails because that was how we got ahold of most of our interviewees. I even did a phone interview with the Dean of Education without breaking a sweat! These are the awesome things you learn at TommieMedia, and I just warn all COJO majors out there to make sure you have time for it, because it is definitely something you need to commit to and definitely something you’ll want to do. Oh, and just for the record, I am a Political Science/Catholic Studies double major and do not plan to have a minor in anything at this point in time.
-Retreats, retreats, retreats!
I may have already mentioned how much I love retreats, but don’t think I’ve actually said how many I’ve gone on. I think the number is around 6. I have gone to the Freshman Retreat at Gainey, which is a TOTAL must for you incoming Tommies of 2015, and have been to Gainey another time for the Liturgical Choir retreat, which is another thing all Lit choir members should do. Gainey is epic and has awesome hot chocolate and snacks available all the livelong day. I have been on a retreat in Columbus, Ohio with a big SPO group, and to Camp Wappo in Wisconsin for an SPO-affiliated retreat. Wappo is where all the NET people go, so that was pretty awesome! I’ve been to Camp St. Croix in Wisconsin for a Talking Circles Retreat, put on by Residence Life, and have been on a day retreat in St. Thomas’ lovely MHC Fireside Room. There may be some I’m missing but overall, I have been on lots of retreats and love them! It might seem like a bad idea to go away for a weekend when that’s usually the only time to do homework, and for some people, it might be a bad idea. For myself, I love getting away for awhile and getting to know myself better since college is such a time of exploration and finding what you truly believe and stand for. There have been some late Sunday nights after retreats but they were completely worth it, and I encourage all Tommies to take a couple of retreats a year.
I now know how to play guitar a little bit! That was kind of a random development, to be honest, but I have had a guitar since 7th grade and just never learned how to play it. Once at college, however, I realized there were lots of people that knew how to play guitar that could teach me, and so I brought my Iowan guitar up to the cities and, with the help of a friend and lots of YouTube videos, I can now strum a fair amount of chords. My friends and I have also had a blast making some videos of us singing to our friend Paula, who is in Rome for the semester. Playing an instrument in college is pretty awesome and if anybody out there wants to learn guitar, I can totally email you some awesome links.
(disclaimer: this might sound like something bad, but it’s actually an all natural way to have fun and doesn’t involve anything bad, besides maybe a headache from dizziness)
I actually just did this a couple nights ago after Cor Jesu, and it is seriously fun, at least for me who has a pretty pathetic sense of balance. For those of you who don’t know (which I think is a pretty small number, because I was pretty much the only one who didn’t know what it was), star tripping involves standing outside at night, looking up at a star, turning around super fast while keeping your eyes on the star, and then having a flashlight shone in your face, which promptly causes you to fall over. The first time I did it, I didn’t even need the flashlight because I have such a terrific sense of balance, and I was on the ground before the flashlight’s on switch was touched. Then I got a little better at it and eventually was able to stay standing even with the flashlight in my face, so that was a pretty nice accomplishment for a Friday night. I’m not sure what it is about the flashlight that makes people fall over, but it’s very, very, very entertaining to watch, and pretty fun to do, if I do say so myself.