Today marks a kind of crazy day for me. I wrote this past summer about why it's okay to fail. Essentially the post detailed my rejection from UVa and my choice to return to JMU as a sophomore. I harped about how I wasn't the happiest as a freshman and why I wanted to transfer. I also wrote about my determination to make JMU the best home possible for me, post-rejection. Well, it's been a year since my rejection to transfer and I am in an incredible place in life and in college. I don't think I've ever been as happy as I am right now, and I don't think I've ever felt more confident, more at home, or more comfortable with JMU and in myself.
It's incredible what a years time and a new perspective can do for someone. Last year I felt extremely defeated. I felt like I was lost. I didn't know which direction to go in. I didn't take the initiative as a freshman in college to take risks, join organizations, and dive into the JMU community here in Harrisonburg. I was determined that when I returned to campus as a sophomore, I would do everything possible to make JMU my home. I also promised myself, that if I tried my hardest and still felt like I didn't love it here, I would reevaluate for my junior year.
Throughout this year I set a lot of goals for myself. First, I told myself that school came first. The initial shock of coming into college as a freshman and diving into a major was a lot for me, now that I look back on it. Math obviously wasn't what I was meant to be studying. I still love the subject and maybe down the line, I'll tutor and I can tell you I 100% will be able to help my children with their homework, but as far as taking it on as a profession, it just didn't feel right.
I made the risky leap I've talked about many times before of changing my major. When you change your major in college, it's always a nerve-racking thing. You have to catch up on courses and with the other students in the same major so you can graduate on time. This year, I had to declare my major and then be accepted into my major in order to continue my studies in the College of Arts and Letters. I worked my butt off in that class, I'm not kidding you, I didn't even take notes on the computer -- I only hand wrote notes and study guides. I also still have that 42 page study guide and don't think I'll ever get rid of it. I spent many a Friday night in studying for that class too. I ended up finishing the class with one of the highest grades of my college career so far, and officially declared my major.
I also decided to push myself a little further and take on a minor in writing, rhetoric, and technical communication. I would love to do publication management when I'm older for fashion magazines maybe, and this minor is a great way to polish up on how to properly manage a magazine, periodical, or publication. I wrote my first 20 page paper this year too, and after doing that I feel like there's nothing I can't do.
I'm a public relations concentration in my major, which is exactly what I wanted to do in the communications school. In fact, when I applied to college and declared my initial math major, my fallback major was public relations. I know I'm studying the perfect thing when I love walking into class everyday and listening to 75 minutes of lecture. When I applied to UVa, I applied as a media studies major which was the closest thing they had to public relations. This is an easy reminder about how everything works out just how it's supposed to. I was never meant for UVa, I just couldnt see that as a freshman. I probably would have loved media studies, but knowing what I know now, there isn't any other major I would want to study than the one I do now.
With studies, I also wanted to dip my toe into the leadership pool in Alpha Delta Pi. I was a pretty average new member last year in the sense that I didn't take on any leadership roles, I didn't apply for any positions, and I earned the minimum points necessary to stay in good standing. This year, and especially this semester, I took on a lot more responsibility for the chapter. Being a Greek Sing assistant was a great opportunity to meet new members, take on a temporary leadership position, and be involved in the event as a whole. I had such a great time these past few months, I can't wait to take on the role again next year. We didn't win this year sadly, but raised $2,000 for charity which is a huge accomplishment!
Additionally, I told myself last year that I was going to get out of my sorority bubble and get to know the JMU community as a whole. The school population is only 17% greek, so there was another 83% of campus that I wasn't exposing myself to! In my mission to get to know the campus, I applied to Student Ambassadors. Student Ambassadors, also known as SA, gives tours to any and all visitors, helps out the admissions office, and also helps Harrisonburg through community service projects. I knew applying to SA would be a long shot because the organization has a 13% acceptance rate. After rounds upon rounds of interviews, I can't believe I was accepted into the organization. I have never been apart of a group of people where I instantly felt at home. We're a group of 180 students but all know each other so well, it feels like a small organization. A lot of people in the organization say that Student Ambassadors came into their life at the most pivotal time, and that's absolutely true for me. In the time where I needed to fall in love with the university, SA presented itself to me and completely changed the way I look at JMU. I can't imagine going to school anywhere else.
Overall, my initial rejection from UVa as a transfer student was devastating. Seriously, I didn't know where to go or what to do when the letters went out a year ago today. I am a firm believer that God takes the wheel when you can't steer your own ship. Pslam 91:11-12 says "He will give His angels charge concerning you, To guard you in all your ways. They will bear you up in their hands". When I didn't know which direction to choose, I fully believe my angels took me in their hands and helped me change my thoughts and feelings. A years time and a complete change of perspective and attitude can literally change your life.
When it comes disappointing news or tough decisions, take a step back. Take a deep breath. Think and change your outlook on things. Where there's a negative side, there is a positive one too. A year ago I literally had no clue, not a single idea on what to do. If this happens, let your angels guide you and listen to them. If you do, your entire life will fall into place.