A Look Back on My First-Year at Yale

In just under two weeks, my first year at Yale will officially come to a close. It may be cliché, but it feels like just yesterday I walked through the gates of Morse College on an impossibly hot day to start my college career. Time has certainly flown by, but this year has been packed with countless incredible experiences and several lessons learned. As I wrap up my finals and prepare for the summer, I figured it would be appropriate to end my first year with a quick recap of the most important lessons I have learned this year.

My first take-away is that college is equal parts stressful and fun. I would be lying if I said there weren’t nights where I stayed up late studying for an exam or locked myself away in Sterling in order to finish a project. However, the great thing about Yale is that for every night that I have grinding away in the library, I have a night having fun with friends, going to concerts or plays, or just relaxing in my suite. I genuinely feel like my work-life balance has improved exponentially since coming to college mostly due to the freedom I have in my schedule and the plethora of events and activities I can participate in when I’m not trying to write an essay or finish a problem set. Additionally, something that makes college much more enjoyable is that I’m extremely passionate about the work that I’m doing and even when I spend hours doing the work, I find it really fulfilling. In essence, I’ve learned that college, particularly here at Yale, is a great balance of work and fun.

The second big lesson I learned this year was that there is a lot left for me to learn. Coming out of this first year, I have much more knowledge about a variety of subjects than I did when I started college. Not only have I learned from my classes, but I have also learned tons from my extracurriculars and even just casual conversations with my peers. However, while I feel like I am definitely more knowledgeable than when I came to Yale, perhaps the most important thing I’ve discovered is that there is so much more for me to learn. There are so many classes I want to take, so many extracurriculars I want to further my involvement in, and so many people that I want to continue learning from. I am really thankful for everything that I have learned this past year, but I am almost more thankful for the content and skills I will learn in the future.

The last, and perhaps most comforting, message I have taken away from my freshman year is that I made the right decision. At the end of my senior year of high school, I was beyond stressed about choosing a college. I constantly worried about making the wrong decision and I frequently imaginged a scenario in which I arrived at college and within months regretted my decision. However, after completing one year here, I can confidently say that I made the right choice. I feel so grateful that I get to do what I love everyday in class and in my extracurriculars and that I feel so at home here.

Every day I feel like I’ve made the right decision and I’m beyond thankful for everything that I have learned and experienced this year. It’s hard to believe that my first year of college is already over, however, I am so excited about everything I’ve done and learned and I’m even more excited to come back next year!