"You’re here because you belong" by Anna C.
Take a deep breathe. You made it, and you’re in for quite the ride. Soon enough, you’ll see that you’ve joined a community of driven, ambitious and sometimes quite neurotic young adults. You may feel like that description fits you too, or maybe not, but either way there will be moments that you will feed off of the nervousness of your peers while on the Hilltop. It’s unavoidable. There will be those days that you feel prepared for an exam until you hear five of your peers cramming outside the door. Or, perhaps you thought you grasped the material until another student begins to discuss it in class, and you make eye contact with another nervous student. I know the feeling; your blood pressure rises, you can feel your heart beating in your stomach, and you anxiously look around the room to find comfort. Maybe you do, maybe you don’t. But, you lose your confidence and your momentum, spiraling into the groupthink of anxiety.
This is going to happen sometimes, it would at almost any school I’m sure. But when I look back on my four years at Georgetown, I’ve realized it’s completely needless. Stress for stress’s sake is worthless. I wasted hours, maybe even days, on worrying about outcomes I could not control or pushing myself past my limits because of pressure from my peers. There is a point for everyone at which no matter how many more hours you work on studying or writing a paper, it won’t improve anymore. Everyone has this limit. Learning mine changed the course of my Georgetown experience. That’s what I recommend for you. Instead of waiting until you’re too deep into the stress, start from day one. Be intentional in the way that you work and interact with others academically. You’re here because you belong; you bring something new and different to the table. Trust that. Trust your brain. Trust yourself. I wish I had trusted myself more as a freshman. Freshman year is low stakes. It’s the perfect time to feel out college without the stress of major consequences. In other words, enjoy yourself and enjoy your classes! Give yourself the space to feel, learn and relax.
If I could sum this up in one phrase: Tune them out, and tune yourself in. This is your year! You’ve earned every second of it, and don’t let it pass by without giving it a direct look first.
Anna C. (C'18)