I have no anxiety about graduating because I believe my college experience is a success. I am not graduating in the upper echelon of my class; I am not in a senior society; I have not received any prestigious awards; I am not working at a "top 3" this fall; I never studied abroad; I'll never tell stories about my college sweetheart because I never had one, and this list can go on. In no way am I discounting that these are worthwhile accomplishments, they are just not mine. Some of you now might be thinking "Dang, then what does this girl have to offer me in terms of how to ‘make it' by senior year?!"
I will be graduating confidently because I know what my bottom line purpose in life is: to do everything and treat everyone with an exorbitant amount of love. My freshman year was riddled with the deflation of my expectations. Penn was not what I thought it would be, and furthermore I was not assimilating as envisioned. "What do you mean I am not getting good grades? How come I am not going out every weekend? Why have I still not found my group of people? Where the heck are all the dates I am suppose to be going on? Why am I not getting internship offers? Why did I not get that board position?" By the end of the year my sense of entitlement left me depressed, angry, ready to transfer out.
My sophomore year I decided I needed to focus on what made me happy if I was going to survive Penn. To do this, I have learned you need to be painfully honest with yourself about what makes you feel full. It takes energy to constantly reflect on your emotions as opposed to searching externally for happiness. Then it takes sacrifice to live it out. I had to let go of my expectations of what encompasses a successful college experience. Turns out that even though I'm an extrovert, I actually hate frat parties and bars unless I'm surrounded by people I care about. Turns out that even though I have a lot of things I need to do, I will become depressed if I do not sleep enough. Even though I am in Greek life, getting drunk sucks for me 90% of the time. Even though I want to change the world one day, I am doing a disservice to myself and others by not making small impacts daily. Do not let the world try to influence how you should feel because of a label.
When it comes to “making it” at Penn, I hope everyone finds something that can never be taken away, cannot be lost, cannot be outdated, and cannot be changed by the obstacles life will throw at you. For me I found this in love, and I believe my journey at Penn has been exploring this relationship. My biggest mistakes in college have always resulted when I forgot to love. Yet each time I learned how to love better and more fiercely.
Yesterday I had the honor of listening to Nipun Mehta, founder of ServiceSpace, talk about love and giving. He told us that everyone is really good at something, and that everyone can be really good at giving. I would like to further this: everyone can also be really great at loving. Everything you do leaves a ripple. It is up to you to discern whether your ripples will radiate love throughout your life, your friends, and this campus.
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