• Bella Leonard

Advice From a College Student: One Year In by Bella Leonard '21

I want to start off this article by thanking Hanlon for giving me the opportunity to guest write this article for the class that gave me a passion for leadership, writing, and the opportunity to tell the truth.

Being half way through my fall semester of my sophomore year of college—and almost 20 for that matter—I look back on my high school years, especially my senior year with a nostalgia I did not know I was capable of feeling. To be truthful, I was counting down the seconds for graduation my entire senior year. What once was a place of refuge and fun turned a place of chore and to be quite frank, misery. I am not about to say that going off to college changed my entire life for the better and that I now sit here a year-and-a-half out unscathed, but I am saying that it is completely normal at this point in your time at Viz to feel isolated, alone, and wanting out.

When I came to college a close friend from home told me the most important thing I have heard about the college experience and now I will tell it to you: in college you will experience your highest of highs and your lowest of lows, it is the best 4 years of your life but also has it hard parts that you have to overcome. I viewed college as an escape from high school, and in a way I was able to achieve that, however I do find it important to note that all of you life’s issues and problems do not magically disappear the second you step foot on campus come Freshman orientation and move-in.

I also understand that Viz is a highly competitive environment especially when it comes to academia and the college admission process, I am here to tell you that once you get to college no one cares. No one cares that you got a 1540 on the SAT or 35 on the ACT. No one cares that you were valedictorian or won the health and fitness award. No one cares that you had a 4.0 average (100 if we are talking Viz terms specifically). You all go to the same place, your spot at the university was decided by a panel of adults that saw your credentials and knew you would fit in at the university, and that is that.

My advice? Stop comparing yourself to your classmates, do not share your acceptances or where you are applying until you have made your decision, and take a big step back and a deep breath. You can ask any of my classmates they will be honest (I am sure of it) I was tightly wound when it came to my admissions process, I was paranoid about not getting into my dream school, Tulane, and as I sit on the fifth floor of the library after writing a 16 page political science paper in one sitting I laugh at how superstitious I was, at how cold I was, and how paranoid one wrong move would detrimentally set me back.

Even if I had not gotten into Tulane the world would keep spinning, I would keep existing, and likely I would earn the same degree I am seeking now elsewhere and end up in a similar field. I know people that will read this article will think that I do not know what I am talking about and that I am telling you to lower your expectations but I am doing the opposite. Try your hardest, but remember your humanity. COVID ruined so many things for my senior year so really cherish all your time with your classmates. Throw as many class parties as you can, go to prom, have a massive grade-wide VizPriory afterparty and pre-party. You have one year left to really be a child and live life with almost no responsibilities so do not take life as seriously as I did.