On Tuesday I took my last final of the year. I still can’t believe it has been a year since I started college though. Seems only yesterday that I finally figured out where I wanted to go. I’m ecstatic to write that I do not regret my decision, at all.

Figuring out where I wanted to go for college was draining to say the least. I loved my IB experience. Knowing my teachers so well and having them there for support really left an impression on me. As for my classmates, staying up together till the early hours of dawn frantically finishing essays, annotations, and projects provided a lot of bonding time. I did not want to let that go, but I knew I had to. My teacher mentioned the term “liberal arts” but I still had no idea what he was talking about. I looked at the typical schools in Georgia but none of them fit. Finally, I grudgingly went in to talk to him about his obsession, no not Nietzsche, Oglethorpe University.

He always spoke about this great liberal arts university that provided so much for its students. The faculty to student ratio was small and teacher’s assistants were unheard of. I figured I had nothing to lose so I applied. A few months later, I found myself visiting for the first time for scholarship weekend. The minute I stepped onto Oglethorpe’s grounds, I knew I was in love with the place. A few more months later, I messaged my teacher letting him know I finally committed to Oglethorpe University.

I realized during scholarship weekend how horrible my photography skills are.

So my journey began that summer, yes before I even started classes. I received an email from one of the petrels asking me if I was interested in starting an initiative that would meet the President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge. I could not believe my eyes. I had not even registered for classes yet. Someone already knew me and my interests and reached out to me to start something on campus!

That summer I along with some students, faculty, and staff started COEXIST Oglethorpe to meet President Obama’s challenge. A few months later, on September 11 we had our inaugural event. It would be the first of four events that we would hold that year which I wrote about here.

OUr COEXIST Oglethorpe Logo

Some of OUr First COEXIST Oglethorpe Members

As service project days came and went, finals and midterms took away sleep and passed, and my first semester ended I could not help but marvel at how much had happened in such a short time. At the end of the semester I received an email from admissions asking students if they would be interested in volunteering for this year’s scholarship weekend. Without hesitation I replied yes.

As we welcomed prospective students I began to feel nostalgic for my own experience during scholarship weekend. My seminar had been fascinating and the events of the day thrilling. Who would not be excited about spending a few days in college while still in high school? As I looked around at the students I realized that it had been a year since I first learned of this place and fell in love with it. It seemed so long ago and yet so recent.

It poured that day!! You have got to admit, Oglethorpe is beautiful even when it is raining.
After more service days, more COEXIST Oglethorpe events, and more midterms the year came to a close. I could not have asked for a better end to my year than last Friday’s event. Check out the pictures here. I am still smiling from ear to ear from that experience. When I turned in my last paper on Thursday it really hit me that my year ended and I would now be a sophomore. I made great friends, began my journey towards becoming who I want to be, and learned more about myself than I ever thought was possible in such a short time. I wish I could write about every experience I had in this post, but it will be pages long. I honestly could not have asked for a better year or expected such a great one.
I cannot wait to start working over the summer at Oglethorpe and for next year to begin. I can only imagine what it will be like and how many emails I’ll be sending to my teacher about some event or thought I had that day. Oglethorpe gave me a place to spread my wings and fly. Now, I’m soaring like a petrel and on my journey to make a life, to make a living, and to make a difference.