Sunday, February 23, 2014

What Makes You... You

Happy Sunday everyone!!

It's a very sunny day in Vermont today, a bit of a change from the cloudy and rainy days we've had for the past couple of days. Here at SMC, we had a three day weekend for President's week and while many went home for a much needed break, I decided to stay on campus and help out in Admissions with tours this weekend and get ahead on some homework for next week.

Meeting so many prospective students and families this weekend and getting the chance to talk one on one with them about a million different things really influenced my post today, as it's something I've been thinking about a lot.

As many of my readers are either going through or about to go through the college process now or have been through it before, we can all understand the stress that each one of us goes through. Whether it be common apps, interviews, recommendations, etc. it's all one big blah (I know, super eloquent of me hahaha!!)

Today though, I want to talk about what makes us different and unique. No person is the exact same as another and honestly, I think that's what makes us all special in our very own way. Constantly, on tours and via email, I receive lots of questions about whether or not students will feel accepted and supported for being themselves. Honestly, I think that is one of the best questions to be asked, not just on college tours, but in life in general. What's so amazing about college tours, however, is that you and the college are kind of doing the same thing. Weird, right? It's true though. You're trying to see what sets each college apart- the differences in academics, activities, and even food. At the same time, the college is trying to see what sets you apart from everyone else...

What makes you... well, you.

Everyone tells you to "Be yourself" or "It's college, you can be whoever you want to be!!" Yet, how was I supposed to be myself or be whoever I wanted to be if I didn't know who either was!?

In high school, I was involved in 10 different clubs, was an AP and honor student, blah blah blah. I can guarantee you'll find a bunch of people who have those same credentials. Looking back on it, I wasn't necessarily happy with everything I was involved with. One or two clubs I honestly just did because I thought I was expected to for college, that it would make me look better or seem like the "perfect student". When I came to college, I realized that being involved in so much wasn't a reality for me. For the first time, I had to actually seek out what I was really passionate about in academics, in activities, and just in life so I had some sort of path to go on.

When looking back after four years at whatever school you choose, you want to be able to say, "I had the best four years here. I got the opportunity to not only see what I was passionate about, but I also got the chance to explore various things to see if they were for me or not. I was able to become the best student, leader, and friend I could be, but being at this school provided me with the opportunities to find and be me." 

When you're on your tours or reading the blogs, consider these questions heavily. Don't hesitate to ask about support on campus, whether there are cliques, if you'll be forced to conform to something you're not, and of course, whether you will be accepted and find friends who are probably going through the same things that you are at that very moment. That's what tour guides, professors, current students, admissions, etc. are here for. We're here to help you step into the shoes and see what down the line life will be like for you. Give you the comfort you need during this really important time.

I love differences. I love seeing what is unique in someone and treasuring it. I love listening about different beliefs and cool ideas that are so different from my own. I thrive on making sure that people realize that the talent that they think is small or piece of writing, or hysterical laugh is so special and is unique only to them. It's about that support, that acceptance that you are able to find yourself. Having the room to try out different things that you're interested in, change majors five times, make mistakes, meet people who love the same shows you do, and be supported and accepted throughout that is what makes a place somewhere you know you can flourish.

My name is Alex Byrne. I'm a big nerd and passionate about helping people accomplish their dreams, both big and small. I love huge hugs and telling people I love them because of what makes them so unbelievably special. I am addicted to Ice Dancing, all BBC programing, YA novels, and Snickers. I can sometimes be overdramatic, use way too many tissues a day, and love having people come over to hang out in my pink room. I am super involved in all different aspects of Campus Ministry (VITA, retreats, and MOVE) and Founder's Society.

I am accepted. I am supported. Wherever you go or are going, you should always feel that way too.

Did it take me a bit of time to figure out who and where I wanted to be today? Absolutely. Was it easy? Definitely not. It's just about realizing that you can go and try out a bunch of different clubs and majors, but make sure to take into account what you like and what you think works for you. You can't do everything, but you can definitely do something- something that fits you the best it can.

My wonderful readers, as you know, I'm a big fan of "that feeling." I'm also a huge supporter of the idea that the college years should be some of the best in your life. Why not then choose a place where you can spend these years not only finding out what you're interested in, who you are, and where you want to go, but most importantly make your own unique difference?

At the end of the day, nobody wants to see someone who is overly involved in things they're not passionate in. Be the real you. Choose a place that will bring out what you shine in. Do what you want to do and be who you want to be so that at end of these years, you will come out the best person you can be- mistakes, fumbles, triumphs, successes and all. Discover your future second home by finding a place that will treasure that in you and I guarantee you will most certainly succeed.

If you have any questions or just want to say hi, never hesitate to get in contact with me via Twitter or email- I absolutely love hearing from you. For  any of my Class of 2018 readers coming up tomorrow for the Academic Preview Day, definitely stop me and say hi or get a hug!!

Until next time, I send you my very best wishes,
Alex :)

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