Final Thoughts

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I can’t believe it’s the end of the year! In the past, the weeks between spring and summer break stretched out endlessly, but now it feels like time just slipped through my fingers. It’s incredible to think that I was still in high school one year ago, and didn’t have any of the friends I’ve made this year. These last two weeks are a strange time, because while I’m exhausted and stressed out about finals, I’m also really sad about leaving my friends behind for three months. I’ve experienced more in this year than I have any other year of my life, and I wanted to share with you some of the biggest takeaways of the year, as well as some advice about what to do between now and the fall.

1. Making Friends is Not As Hard As You Think It Is
About an hour after my parents dropped me off, I was sitting in Burge eating dinner by myself, feeling extremely awkward because I didn’t know anyone and looking around it felt like everyone had already found a group of friends. After about five minutes, however, something amazing happened. A girl came up to me and asked me if I wanted to sit with her and her friends. I hung out with them for a couple days, and while we weren’t able to stay in touch I definitely appreciated having people to talk to in a new and scary environment. Especially during that first week, everyone is willing to talk to everyone, so even if you’re an introvert it’s really easy to make friends. I said it in my first post and I’ll say it again: leave the door open! People are always roaming around the hallways during that first week of school, peering into open doors and asking people to hang out. I don’t even need to give you much advice in this department because as long as you show up, you will eventually find your own people.

2. There aren’t Enough Hours in a Day
When tens of thousands of people who are passionate about their education get together, it tends to produce a beautifully diverse ecosystem. There are so many performances, lectures, and meetings to attend, and because school doesn’t run from 8-3 it’s impossible to coordinate these things so that everyone can attend. I really pushed myself to experience new things this year, and I never regretted it. I participated in a business competition, went to a gaming and animation conference, attended talks on international diplomacy, listened to multiple music performances and so much more. While none of these events have convinced me to change my major or make any other drastic move, they’ve been entertaining and informative, and they usually come with free food as well.

3. Don’t Give Up After a Few Failures
I applied to twenty to thirty different companies before landing an internship in late March. Half of them never got back to me, and half of them either rejected me or I chose not to pursue any further. The first interview I did was mediocre at best, and my resume has been through at least five different drafts. The business side of your field is going to take time to get used to, but if you give up after one career fair then you’ll never get where you need to go. Ask people for advice on your resume and cover letter. Go to every networking event you can attend, and seek help from as many people with experience as you can. In short, you’re not going to get everything right on your first shot, but when it comes to academic s and career stuff, you don’t really have a choice about whether you want to figure it out, it’s just a matter of when you do, and sooner is much better than later.

4. A Change in Plan Can be a Good Thing
Your mind should change about something after a year of college. Make a list of opinions you held that have changed since your senior year of high school. I plan on doing this some time after finals, but I already know that I haven’t changed enough of my views. I think a part of this is due to humans being creatures of habit, and as a result we tend to stick to people who share our opinions and keep to a similar daily routine. A year ago, I had a very grandiose idea of the intellectual debates that would take place in college, and while that idea has since been flattened, I believe that I still have a chance to revive it next year if I take a political science class and attend more events that encourage debate, as well as ask people about their opinions more

As of today, the University of Iowa’s class of 2021 has officially been decided! If you’re a part of that list of people, congratulations! You are only months away from embarking on one of the most exciting journeys of your life. Things are probably happening way too fast for you right now, and you may be feeling simultaneously nostalgic and itching to get out. Here are some things I feel that every high school senior should do before starting college.

1. Read
In high school, I always had a book that I was currently reading for fun. Nowadays, the only books I consume that aren’t titled something along the lines of “Linear Algebra and its Applications” are audiobooks in between walking to classes. Even if you don’t read as much as I did in high school, the next three months of summer are an opportunity to read that you won’t have again for a very long time. This summer I’m working forty hours a week, and as a result will probably be lucky to finish one book the entire summer. So, go to your local library, even if you haven’t done so in years, or spend the day perusing novels at a book store. Fall in love with reading the way you used to as a kid, and I guarantee you that you’ll wonder why you didn’t do this sooner.

2. Figure out what you want to do in the fall
If you Google “University of Iowa pick one,” a website will pop up that lists all of the organizations you can join. Pick out a few that interest you ahead of time so that you have an idea of what you want to commit to, because once school rolls around the emails for interest meetings can be overwhelming. It’s important to pick a few clubs and stick to them as opposed to scattering out your attendance between a variety of clubs, because showing up is the best way to increase your chances at leadership roles. Additionally, try to find a mix of academic, philanthropic, and fun clubs. Dance Marathon for me was a combination of the last two, and WiSE, WiCS, and ACM gave me a greater appreciation for my major. It’s never too early to get involved, and with a whole summer ahead of you, it couldn’t hurt to go to the “pick one” website and look at your options.

3. Write a letter to yourself
I remember reading my eighth grade and freshman year letter to myself and cringing at how awful I was. I’m probably going to do that three years from now, and I can’t wait. It’s easy to forget who your​ past self was, and great to rediscover them again, despite how annoying they might have been. Reading my letters last year made me proud of who I had become, and encouraged me to re-evaluate my goals for the next four years. I focused on very objective goals in the past, so I told myself that I would focus more on balance and broadening my views in college. For the most part, I think I have, and I hope that when I read my letter right before graduating college, I’ll be grateful that I kept this in mind throughout my college years.

That’s all for now. It’s crazy to me that this is my last blog post, and I’d just like to thank the admissions team for giving me this opportunity, as well as everyone who took the time to read my posts. I hope that, if you’re a future Hawkeye reading this post right now, you will come to love the University of Iowa just as much as I do, because this school has genuinely made my freshman year of college the best year of my life.

All the best,