Environmental Studies & Arabic
Hometown: Fuquay Varina, North Carolina
Currently: Junior at Davidson College / Program Assistant in the International Studies and Study Abroad Office / working on an organic apple orchard in New York
Self-described: Chill, creative, generous
Enjoys: Studying languages, trying new recipes, and exercising
"Try anything and everything you are interested in. Now is the time to get closer to who you have always wanted to be."
Tell us about yourself!
I am a first generation and limited-income college student, originally from Hollywood, Florida. After a six-year stint in Tennessee, I have spent the last several years in Fuquay Varina, North Carolina. My older brother is a college graduate. I am a junior, studying Environmental Studies and Arabic. I love foreign languages (hence the Arabic minor) and organic farming. In fact, this fall I will be working on an organic apple orchard in New York. To be honest, I really don't watch TV, but I can binge watch YouTube videos all day. My favorite types of videos are either food-related or Disney songs in other languages. As an environmental studies major, I like to live consciously for the environment's sake. I have been a vegan for nearly a year and have been exploring the world of minimalism and zero-waste lifestyles.
Greatest source of inspiration
Learning how to manage my time better, so I am not only here to study and do schoolwork. School and life balance is key if you want to avoid burn out. I also know that in order to unlock certain opportunities that I want to experience, graduating will be very helpful.
Greatest source of support
My parents always expected me to go to college, despite not going themselves. My friends are a great support system helping me push myself and embark on new journeys.
Major / Minor
Environmental Studies / Arabic
Being in an environment where I am free and encouraged to try new things. No one here knew me before, so I was free from any expectations people had of me.
Least favorite thing
I am not a party person, so I guess I don't really like how alcohol and the party scene sometimes dominate the social atmosphere.
I really revamped my study schedule sophomore year. Classes and my job took most of my time during the day, so studying was generally reserved in the evening and night. To stay focused, I got out of my room. I would either work in the library or in the dorm lounges with my friends. Having them around helped me focus, but also provided a little bit of a break from work here and there. On the weekend, I would hit the library early in the morning and knock out a few hours of work. That way, if I didn't do too much other studying that weekend, I wouldn't feel too bad.
Tell us about a challenge you faced. How did you overcome it?
I really freaked myself out during my freshman year by comparing myself to other people. I measured my success against their success, and I would always feel inferior. While it pushed me to always seek out opportunities, I was tough on myself. My friends were doing research or big finance internships, and I kept getting rejected. But, after a while, I started to focus on what I really wanted. I love farming, so I measure my success by how much I get involved with it (and other things I am passionate about). Sometimes, they may not seem as cool as other things people are doing, but it makes me happy.
How did you find your sense of belonging?
I found my sense of belonging among my hall mates. It just happened organically. They are still my best friends in college. Beyond that, I also felt like I belonged in some of the organizations I am a part of.
What campus resources do you use?
In my sophomore fall semester, I practically lived in the math and science center. The writing center was a gold mine of help as well. Apart from academics, yet arguably as important, I utilize the college's health and fitness resources (like the gyms and cross country trails) as much as possible. As a result, my years in college have been the healthiest in my entire life.
What advice would you give to your freshman-year self?
Try anything and everything you are interested in. You are free of the preconceived notions people from high school have of you. Now is the time to get closer to who you have always wanted to be. Only you can change yourself by utilizing the resources and opportunities in college. Coming into college, you will be pushed to be more independent, thus having more freedom to be your own person. Give yourself a solid foundation of habits, morals, and interests to move forward in life.
What's your secret for time management and productivity?
I have a few. First, I surround myself with people who are also working and being productive. Second, accept that you will have to make sacrifices, for example, spending Saturday morning in the library. Sacrifices will look different for everyone. Lastly, and the most helpful for me, is to focus on the present. Know that whatever productive activity you are doing in the moment is what you are supposed to be doing. Don't worry about what you have to do at 6pm.
How do you de-stress?
I cook and bake. I hang out with my friends. Having a set bedtime helps too.
How do you stay motivated?
Before things get tough, I establish reasons why I am doing what I am doing. It is kind of like my mission statement. So, when things get tough, I like to think back to those things. Also, I write out the things I need to do in a certain week and set specific times to work on certain tasks. This way I don't worry about things to do on Friday when I have plenty of things to do on Tuesday.
One ongoing goal I have is to become proficient in a few foreign languages. Short-term goals, things I want to accomplish by graduation or shortly after, include starting a business, graduating debt-free, and adopting a minimalist/zero-waste lifestyle. Beyond college, I want to live outside of the Southeast, have a very productive garden, and still own a business. These are some of the goals I have today. Could be different tomorrow.
College may be hard for you, and it may not be the right choice for everyone. Don't be afraid to take chances. But, as long as you know you are meant to be in college, be grateful for the opportunity and know that you are doing the right thing for you.
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