My First Few Weeks at FIU

Nicole Ardila/PantherNow

Mia Petruccelli/Staff Writer

It’s kind of embarrassing to admit that I woke up three hours before my alarm on my first day of class. I had no idea how deeply excited I was to finally experience university life as a student in Miami. 

It has been a challenging year for everyone, but for me personally, it has probably been the most trying year of my life. I moved away from my childhood city in the middle of the pandemic, got an apartment in a city I had been in for a total of five hours before that point, lost my mother to cancer and started the final year of my academic life. 

I knew that this week would be exciting, but I was not prepared for the random rushes of emotion that would wash over me. I know I am not alone in losing someone close to me, since coronavirus has taken loved ones from so many people, and it has been a challenge to find myself as an individual without someone that was so essential to my growth.

In my grief, I have found that losing someone you love makes happy moments gut-wrenching. After my first day of the semester, I reached for my phone, almost out of instinct, to call my mom. I wanted to tell her about my classes, my professors, the people I have met…you know, the pointless stuff about your day that seems like the most exciting things in the universe to your mom. And at that moment, all I could do was stare at my lock screen and feel the knot in my stomach move to my throat. 

For the first time, I felt thankful that I had an hour commute home. My drives, which were usually annoying and stressful, have become therapeutic. I can listen to podcasts, decompress, and let my emotions wash over me. 

It’s my last year. My last year as a college student, my last year to join random clubs, my last year to make college friends, my last year to eat crappy fast food because it’s justified in the college student stereotype… The list goes on and on. And, all I can think is, I am “0 for 10”. 

In these last few weeks, I feel as though I have been stuck in the mindset of focusing on what I do not have, instead of being grateful for what I do have. I’ve noticed that I have put so much focus on the “year lost” from covid, and my personal struggles, instead of the year I am granted, right now, to fulfill myself. With that being said, I have been trying to adopt the practice of accepting my own limitations. 

So many people around you are struggling with the challenges that this last year has left us with. Whether it be grief, mental health issues, quarantine-induced social anxiety, fear of missing out, we all have a point where our glass becomes too full. I urge everyone to recognize that you are not alone in your struggles and that you can, with time and patience, cultivate a safe space for yourself. 

If you are in a similar space as I am, and you are feeling upset about the fact that the last year zoomed by, no pun intended, I hope for you to see this year as your chance to do it all. Join the clubs, introduce yourself to strangers, but still allow yourself time to heal after the recent challenges of the past year. A year is a lot of time, and holds a lot of opportunities, but only as long as you recognize your limits. 


The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community

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