Rise Up

“Fresh start” is a phrase often used when trying to describe entry to college. When beginning college, you are given the chance to start over in a new setting with new people, who are all on the same boat as you with starting anew.

Doesn’t sound too bad, does it? But with all of these fresh starts and new opportunities comes the hardest pill to swallow of them all: adversity.

The cushion of security you were once graced with in high school is snatched beneath you without even noticing. The feelings of knowing everyone in your graduating class by name, being on a team your entire high school career, and having a personal relationship with your teachers is nothing but a distant memory.

No one quite explained that the whole “reinventing yourself in college” gig came with difficulties. Your professors in college may not know you by name, and don’t know that you have eight other pending assignments along with the three they gave you. The coach of the club sport you’re trying out for doesn’t know you’re having an off day and that you were the captain of your high school team your senior year.

Going through the process of proving yourself all over again to teachers, clubs, organizations and peers can be difficult, especially when this time around you’re living on your own and doing it by yourself. The independence you’re given in college means you’ve simultaneously become your own self-motivator, and this can get overwhelming.

Facing adversity or rejection in life is always painful, especially in a brand new setting, but this is where resilience plays a key role in your college experience. Defeat comes in so many forms, and it can be tempting to wallow in self-pity or blame the environment around you when you are faced with it.

When rejection occurs, whether it be socially, academically or romantically, one of the many ways people respond to it is with denial. Coming to terms with the fact that you’re not going to make every team, get every internship or pass every exam sounds pretty elementary, but can be difficult to live out and believe.

As a student at Penn State, being one in about 46,000 can make you feel like all the odds are against you. But the best thing one can do when they are faced with adversity is take action. Joining a certain organization didn’t work out for you as planned? Check out Penn State Student Affairs and go to ‘search’ … there are over 1,000 clubs and organizations at Penn State that you probably had no idea existed!

Taking action has a powerful way of bringing out self-confidence and feelings of empowerment. When you become a resilient person, you’ll feel much less like a victim of your circumstances and maybe even lead yourself to a passion or interest you never knew you had. After all, college is all about fresh starts and reinventing yourself.

Breeding confidence and resilience can become the key to your college success, and doing so might just make the cliché “everything happens for a reason” your new mantra.


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