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  • Writer's pictureLauren

Junior year & Jumping

Updated: Feb 3, 2021

My junior year just ended in a way that I would never have imagined at the beginning of the semester; sitting on my couch back at home. I'm not at a darty, not with my friends, not even in the library. Not even the library! McKeldin, I lowkey miss you and all our late nights. Testudo, I needed to leave you an offering for some of these classes. #JustUMDThings. But really, this school year ended in a way that no one would've imagined, the country (or at least the sane part of it) is in a lockdown. We're staying at home, away from our schools, our friends, and the places where we spend the majority of the year. Nevertheless, we made it work, finished class at a distance and we are going into next year strong and a little more resilient than before.

Junior year has come with a lot of lessons. Like any school year it has had its up and down, its wins and fails, some major fails. But throughout it I've been able to stay focused and push myself to be the best that I can be. To me, this year was really about being able to take the leap, it was about going for the things that I wanted relentlessly and unapologetically. It was about jumping with a parachute, and not worrying about the fall (or trying not to worry). It was realizing that my experiences, my skills and my past accomplishments would be able enough to make sure that I didn't completely crash and burn.

To be quite honest; it's hard. No matter how confident many of us feel, and no matter how much we accomplish, there will still be those lingering seeds of doubt and insecurity. It's natural, but the key is to not let those voices hold you back, to fight against what they say and to tell yourself that you are enough. For me, that meant pushing myself to apply for things that I've been holding myself back from. I ran for different, higher, positions within organizations and in doing that was elected as the president of the Black Honors Caucus and the VP of PR for the National Panhellenic Council. These were some of the best experiences I've had on campus, they allowed me to grow as a leader and a student. These positions have taught me the intangible skills and lessons that a classroom can't and they helped me form lasting connections. None of which would've been possible without pushing myself and believing in what I can do. We all have to have to be willing to tell the voice of doubt to take a seat and relax.

Inevitably, there are going to be times when you don't get what you want. In some cases you genuinely may not be the best choice, in some cases you may believe that you are the best fit and still didn't get the position, or whatever it was, for reasons outside your control. Both are hard. The first option tells you that you're not good enough, the second seems to tell you that even if you are good enough there's still times that you'll fail. Failure will only add to that little voice that tries to tell you that you can't do certain things, failure will make you afraid of failing more. But, if we never know the pain of failure, we will never truly know how sweet it is to be successful.

I've never liked losing and when you don't get some time that you've worked for it feels like a loss. When I was younger, around the 4th grade I played rec basketball and I cried every time my team lost a game. I played basketball until High school, and still play sometimes now. I've had some bad games, bad tournaments, even some bad seasons. If I cried every time we lost, I would have no tears left. When it came to basketball, losing only made me more motivated to win. Losing made me want to practice a little harder, to stay in the gym a little longer and to develop my skill a little further. And that's what I've learned to do when it comes to losses in life as well. Instead of crying and being devastated over our losses we have to do the work to understand them, to analyze why and to improve. Yes, always take the time to grieve them, take the time to be sad, I know that I still do but don't let grieving over the past hold you back from your next opportunity. Remember that everything happens for a reason.

Be willing to push yourself and be willing to jump in without fear of failure. Be willing to devote your time to many things and see what sticks. Don't be willing to fail, but when you do fail take it gracefully and move on. That's what I have learned from my junior year and those lessons have given me the best year of my college experience COVID-19 aside. I traveled to Israel with a group of students I didn't know, I was the president of an organization, and on the e-board of three more (yikes IK!), I ran for SGA, I met amazing new people, got a paid internship during the semester and got the big corporate internship that I'd been wanting since my freshman year. Yes, there's some stuff that I wanted that I didn't get, I took some L's, had some breakdowns, but I know that every setback is a set up for something bigger. None of this would have been possible if I listened to the part of myself that tells me that I can't do something or that I'm not qualified for something. Junior year was all about shutting that voice up and pushing myself to say, "yes, I can." Junior year was about taking the jump out of the plane, knowing that even if a little bruised I would land and having the best experience doing it.

& on that note,

Don't stop pushing yourself & always reach for more




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