Tuesday, January 22, 2013

From ILC Alum Guadalupe Morales

My third semester at Brown, I will admit, was not the best. I will sugarcoat anything that happened, because, what would be the point? The intention of these reflections are to give the future college students a taste of college life, the good and the bad. Not every semester is going to the best, but they are certainly not going to be worst either.

This semester started off with high expectations and high motivations. I was ready, fresh off from summer vacation to continue to do my best. And it started off mostly well. I had a routine set, I was doing homework every day and even reading ahead for one of my classes. However, as the semester progressed, things were not going very well. I was feeling lost and not smart, to be honest. My grades were coming up short though I felt I was studying even more than the previous semesters and I was feeling I wasn't sure what to do. Especially as a pre-med student, I was feeling like I would not be able to get to were I wanted to be.

In terms of social life on campus, it was not like freshman year. During the first year of college, It's common to have a big group of friends to do everything with. However, the dynamics of these friendships change during the second year. People start to break off into smaller groups, and often times you find yourself wondering what went wrong. However, I later realized there is nothing wrong with it; it's a natural thing to develop closer bonds to some more than others. But for a while, I felt like everything about Brown was falling apart for me. I started to grow very homesick and I was anxious to fly back home.

On a bit of a side note as well, I ended up being struck by a car right as finals were commencing, which did nothing to elevate my motivation for exams. I ended up going to the ER that day. Fortunately, I was not injured much at all. On impact, I lost consciousness for  a few seconds and then I got up and someone called an ambulance for me to get checked out. I had a lot of back soreness for a few days and I had trouble sleeping for a few weeks but I did not have any broken bones or cuts  or anything of the sort, minus a couple of scratches and bruises. I felt very lucky about that. And it honestly made me feel more worse about everything.

There was a point where I was seriously considering transferring to a local college back home for the next year. This is not to say I don't appreciate everything Brown has to offer me. I really do but I just started to doubt myself. Now, don't take me wrong, if I were to actually transfer back home, I don't think it would be a bad thing--something to feel guilty over. But I asked myself: was I willing to throw everything out the window? I have amazing financial aid, I have great student resources, I have so much I wasn't genuinely appreciating in front of me. I remembered I long ago envisioned myself walking across the stage on the Main Green, accepting my diploma from Brown University. I envisioned myself seeing my parents in the audience, smiling from ear to ear at how happy they were to see me there. I envisioned myself being so proud that despite poverty, violence and the environment I grew up in, I was able to get there to be the first in my family to graduate from college.

From that point on, I realized that I needed to stop doubting my abilities and who I was. I had a bad semester, yes, and I'm not proud of it, but I'm still proud of myself . Did I grow from it? Yes, of course. Did I realize where some things went wrong and where I made bad choices? Yes, I did. Did I appreciative what went right? That too. I learned to still be proud of myself, despite of what the results of last semester.

I'm not proud of my grades this semester, I'll admit. I felt that as a sophomore I should have been able to do better than last year but unfortunately, this is not the case. However, I know that I will do better. I'm still happy about where I am in life today. I have learned to appreciative the little things and the opportunities given to me. There's no where to go but up. I will use it as a learning experience. I also have to remember that I am not alone. I have my friends and family rooting for me back home. If they never lost hope in me, then why should I?

As a last piece of advice for the current members of the ILC, I ask you to believe in yourself. There may be times where you feel like nothing is going right, when you feel like you don't belong. But trust me: things will get better. It is a blessing to be where I am. College is an amazing thing and you don't even have to be at Brown to know that. Being in any college, public or private, small or big, is an incredible accomplishment and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Your experiences in college will be your own but many struggles remain the same. As my parents and close friends always tell me: stay true to yourself, continue being passionate and keep chasing after your dreams because you'll get there one day and you'll be happy you did.

Sending lots of love and hope from Providence,
Guadalupe Morales
Brown University | Class of 2015

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