Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Back to School: Looking Back and Looking Forward

By Stephanie Haugen '12
       It’s hard to believe, but I have made it halfway through my undergraduate college education. As I stand here in the middle of my college years, I am reflecting on the past and curious about the future.
       If you asked me two years ago what I thought my college experience would be like, I would have described something very different from what actually happened.
       I walked onto Pacific’s campus in the fall of 2008 for my freshman orientation nervous and clueless. I had never visited Pacific before deciding to attend and knew very little about the university and even less about how to interact with the campus and its occupants.
       I knew Pacific was in Forest Grove, I knew they had an Optometry school, I knew it was where my brother went to school, I knew it was where my parents wanted me to go, and I was fairly sure how to get there. 
       I thought I knew a lot of other things too, but it turned out I had a lot to learn. I learned that it was possible to make friends and meet new people even if you were forced to live at home to save money.
       After I learned that Pacific had a Greek system, I learned two other things about the sororities. The first thing is that they are about as far away from “Legally Blonde” as you could get. The second is that when I joined Phi Lambda Omicron sisterhood, I actually joined a family and the Pacific community.
       I learned how it felt to really struggle in a seemingly impossible class. Fortunately, I also discovered what it felt like to be successful in difficult courses.
       I learned that writing for the Pacific Index is a great way to learn about the university and to meet faculty outside of my major.
       I found out I was good at things I never knew about before I came to Pacific. My professors made it clear they would always open a door for me when they could and that their doors were always open. I learned how to take advantage of opportunities, but also how to create opportunities for myself.
       After two years I really feel like I have a place at Pacific and I look forward to two more years, I know they will pass quickly. The mental image I have of the next two years will most likely end up to be very different from the reality, but hopefully they will be like the last two—more rewarding than I ever could have imagined.

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