My freshman year; A journey worth taking

Via FIU Flickr.

Dioslyn Oliva | Staff Writer

I’ve been at FIU for a year, officially ending my time as a college freshman. It’s been a long year full of highs and lows, yet I’m thankful for the entire experience as I’ve found a newfound perspective on what being in college is really like. 

Last fall, I wrote an article discussing my underwhelming first semester in college. I came in expecting the college life I see on screen, like Grown-ish, and ended the semester disappointed that my experience wasn’t like that. 

When Spring came, I still had my doubts about college. But when I participated in the Black Student Union’s Fly-In trip to Washington D.C, it changed my perspective. I met and connected with other undergraduate and graduate students during this trip. 

Then, I realized that college is what you make of it. 

As I continued to immerse myself in the FIU community, especially at the Biscayne Bay campus where I work, I realized I was improving my mental health.

Starting last year, I experienced imposter syndrome, which stopped me from fully immersing myself as a college student at FIU. I wouldn’t attend events or participate in clubs because I didn’t think I should’ve been there. I also continually questioned whether I deserved to be where I was.

It caused me to limit myself because I didn’t want to show up at events alone. Now, it’s something that doesn’t bother me. I’ll show up to them alone and take opportunities that’ll benefit me even if I’m going into it by myself. 

Apart from time in the classroom, the university has given me so much experience. I was able to get two jobs on campus as a front desk assistant as well as a staff writer on PantherNOW. At both jobs, I’ve met and worked alongside exceptional people. I’ve also gained valuable work experience that has helped evolve my skills as an employee.

Compared to this time last year, I’m a lot more knowledgeable and friendly with other student employees on campus as well as the faculty and staff on campus. It feels like I have a community.

For example, I’ve joined the Honors College. It’s small yet meaningful to me because it contributes to my growth. I’ve also taken advantage of career development opportunities I wouldn’t have taken previously due to the imposter syndrome I was experiencing. 

I have yet to sign up for a club or organization. However, one of my primary goals for the upcoming year is to join at least two, perhaps the Black Student Union.

I know now that the simple things make all the difference to my time on campus, like how to avoid the petitioners around the Green Library and where to find the cleanest restrooms. I’ve also learned to use Grubhub to order food instead of waiting in line, the peak times when the shuttle is full so I can ensure a seat.

It’s simple things like these that made my experience so much better. I’m proud of myself and this journey I’ve taken. I’m optimistic about the rest of my time here. For all freshmen, just remember things take time and will always improve.


The opinions presented on this page do not represent the views of the 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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