Amidst a changing world, keep an open mind

By Samantha Boyle, Managing Editor for Reporting

Going to college is an excellent time for every student at any time to try new things and branch out in ways they may have never done before. However, in a time where our normal day-to-day routines are challenged by social distancing and face masks, it’s more important than ever to keep an open mind about your new life.

Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic will impact your college experience; I don’t have to be the one to tell you that. But it shouldn’t keep you from making memories and getting a prestigious education the way other college freshmen have gotten.

My first tip on keeping an open mind when coming into college is to accept that things will be different. A majority of your life is changing anyway, this one is just a little bit more unpredictable. It is so easy to be down in the dumps because of all the restrictions and casualties this pandemic has caused, but every day for the first several weeks of your semester, try to think of the positives. For starters, you’re here, either physically or virtually, and you’re an Illini. That is one thing not everyone can say.

Whether coming to campus or getting ready to study from home, I encourage you to try something new or something you would have never thought you’d try. If you told high school senior me that incoming college senior me would be sitting here writing this for you from The Daily Illini, I would have thought you were crazy. Sure, I am a journalism major now and am content with where I’m at. All throughout high school, I thought I would go to medical school and become a doctor. Several years later, and I think that’s crazy.

There are various ways to go about it. With hundreds of Registered Student Organizations, you can move outside of your comfort zone in your free time. Or you can take some classes that you never thought you could see yourself taking. A great way to do this is through general education requirements. Get excited to take these classes because they are courses outside of your chosen field of study that you can explore and learn in. There’s a reason general education requirements are required.

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I know I’m not out of college yet, but throughout my three years here so far, I have looked at college as a way to explore and expand my mind with little consequences. I don’t look at that as a scary thing either. You have about four years here to learn so many different things within different topics and through different people and it may be one of the last times you’re a student first.

Value being a student and value your curiosity. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in journalism, it’s to always be curious and question everything. This obviously applies to the field itself but should also be applied to your time as a student. Always stay curious and always keep an open mind.

Samantha is a senior in Journalism.

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