Portfolio Dev Agrawal

Freshman Year in review

Man, what a year!

This was the exact reaction I had when I saw the email from my amazing Honors Advisor reminding me to write the year in review. My second reaction was "This has been such a crazy year, can I even fit it into a few hundred words?". Regardless of the answer, I am going to try.

Which is pretty much how the last year (and a few months before it) has been. I see an opportunity, I ask myself, "Dev this is crazy, are you sure you want to do this?". Then I go for it. The biggest of them all was my decision to spend thousands of dollars and travel thousands of miles away from my family, friends and girlfriend, for college education. Was it crazy? I am not even answering that question. Did it pay off? Definetely!

The year started out with a lot of excitement as I was looking forward to my life in a new country filled with strange people and awesome opportunities. Strangely though, I did not feel any anxiety or fear of living alone like I was told by others who have went through the same thing. That is, until I was on the plane headed for Cincy. I was completely fine, watching Young Sheldon and listening to my staple death metal songs, until my neighbour pulled up the map on the screen in front of us that displayed the current location of the flight. At that time, we were just crossing the Atlantic into east coast. Looking at that hit me with a wave of anxiety like I had never experienced before. That image somehow made the whole experience real and scary, and all I could think about was waking up in a completely strange town with no idea of what to do or who to talk to. I'm still not sure when or how I shrugged off that feeling. All I know that it came, made its mark, left, and never came back.

Continuing on the theme of crazy things that happened, the craziest thing you can do to an introvert is to trap them in a room with a complete stranger. I had spent most of my time alone, so having a roommate was a new experience, one that I was not looking forward to. But lucky for me, my roommate seemed to respect my introverted nature, so we established a mutually beneficial no-talk business-only relationship. Making friends was never my strong suite, but I tried. Tried and failed. Just like I had been doing for the last 7 years. I did make a couple good friends eventually, and somehow I got better at creating and managing my social life. I have a few special people to thank for that.

My academic and professional life were way better than I expected. I did not imagine that I would see so many opportunities that I would have to think twice before starting something new. So many organizations to get involved in, so many projects to chime in, so many assignments to complete, so many people to meet. It was crazy (no surprise there), and I did not know where to start. Again, took my some time, but eventually I found my way around the campus life. I got an interesting job, became a core member of a student organization, made nice connections and got to travel a bit. University Honors helped quite a bit. From the Gateway to Honors class to my first Honors experience, I learnt a lot of life skills that I have now incorporated into my everyday routine.

So what now? I have been asking myself that question for several days now, so it's probably time I give it some serious thought. Now that the crazy part is out of the way (hopefully), it's time to flourish. Flourish my academic life by aiming for a higher GPA (not completely satisfied with my last 3.6), and flourish my professional life by making expanding my skillset, connections and opportunities. Student clubs are a great way to make connections, so getting involved in some is definitely in my todo-list. I also need to connect with some seniors and faculty members. The School of IT is an awesome and student-friendly community, and I plan to make the most of it.

Probably the most important thing to do is to stay open and flexible. The future is unpredictable, and the more you plan, the more it goes against you. So the hope is that nothing goes wrong and my mission to flourish is achieved. But if I am flexible enough, I can make those wrong things work in my favor. This is another skill I have yet to pick up.

Hoping for one more crazy year!