Last week was a blur, as I’m sure it was for many of us. Let’s give ourselves a small pat on the back. We did it. Midterms are (hopefully) done. We’ve approached the midpoint of the semester. Boo-yah.
For some of us, the light at the end of the tunnel might have just appeared. For others, like myself, it represents a little more than a bifurcation of the semester—in just over seven months, we will be walking across a stage in front of family, friends, and peers to acquire that little piece of paper that was worth thousands upon thousands of dollars. It’s a BFD, in simpler terms.
I’m starting to take stock of my position here at Stevens, and it always comes back to the newspaper. Let’s throw it back to freshman year when I came in as a chemical engineering student, ready to take on Design I, Engineering Graphics, and Introduction to Programming without hesitation. The first few months went by, and I knew this direction was not meant for me. Going to Design class induced fear and intense feelings of self-doubt. Many might not know this, but I even contemplated transferring out of the university. Freshman year was hard. Almost middle-school-awkward hard—crazy, right?
By the second semester, I knew I had to make a change—either stay at Stevens and choose a different path or leave Hoboken altogether. If you couldn’t tell, I ended up staying but my saving grace came from an unexpected source: The Stute. I had started to make a name for myself, writing several articles each week, going to events I would have otherwise ignored, and contacting various administrators and professors for a quote or two to substantiate my writing. Digging for stories invigorated me while highlighting the talent, dedication, and service of my fellow Stevens peers served as a humbling experience. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the influence of the Stute e-board at the time who really kept me afloat, particularly Frankie Guarini. While he revolutionized the paper, he also found time to be a great friend.
Those initial bonds solidified my decision to stay at this school. I re-evaluated my goals, let my love of Biology come back to me (“Baby Come Back” by Vanessa Hudgens comes to mind every time I think of this point in my life) and re-created the college experience I knew I deserved.
I’ll get to the point. Going through the motions—class, homework, study, maybe sleep, repeat—is fine. You and I will probably get to the same endpoint, but campus involvement defines you in many ways in which academics cannot. My involvement in the Stute since freshman year has transformed me and in many ways aided me in my other campus commitments and academic work. So, while you’re looking ahead to the end of the semester—or even the comforts of your own bed during winter break—take another moment to look inwards. Maybe it will remind you why you’re here, just as it reminds me why I chose to stay.