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Prioritizing Community Your Freshman Year

College is a new beginning for everyone. It is a time to meet new people, gain autonomy, and discover what you are passionate about. While college is a brilliant time for all of those things, it can also be really isolating at first if you let it. My advice to anyone beginning their freshman year is to prioritize community and friendship.

When I came to Grove City my freshman year in 2017, I was absolutely terrified. I loved living at home, spending time with my boyfriend, seeing my mom every day, and having sleepovers with my twin sister. I was comfortable living at home. The idea of moving to a campus without any of my favorite people was extremely daunting. I have to be honest, my freshman year, community wise, was not a priority for me. I spent more of my time studying in the library than I did with friends or my roommates. My coping mechanism for missing home was to put all of my efforts into school and get good grades. Looking back, I now realize that my freshman year could have looked very differently had someone pulled me aside and told me what really matters.

Academics are critical at Grove City College. School is 95% of why we go to college. Get good grades to get into a great grad school program or start a fantastic career. But the other 5%, however, is arguably more important. That 5% represents the relationships you grow and memories you build with your peers over your four years at Grove City. I completely understand thinking your GPA defines you. And honestly sometimes it feels like it does. But the community you seek and friendships you foster will shape you into the man or woman you will become post-graduation. Who do you want to be when you graduate from Grove City? Do you want to be someone with a 4.0, is involved in every academic club, but has no time for friends? Or do you want to be someone who has a 3.2-3.5 GPA, has phenomenal interpersonal skills, time for those around them, and is whole rounded in every sense: a liberal arts degree, superb communication skills/relationships. I deeply encourage you to find a balance between these things. Make intentional time for your studies. You are paying a lot of money to receive a phenomenal education, do not waste it. But also, make time for relationships. You will grow exponentially if you foster relationships with your peers and care about your academics.

I would have a completely different perspective about Grove City had I not found my now-closest friends sophomore year. It would be a story of loneliness, just getting by, sadness, you get the point. But instead, my story is one of community, growth, faith, and deep love for my friends and the College. Do yourself a favor, and put yourself out there to find friends who will encourage you, challenge you, and stick by you during your time at Grove City College because believe me, they are here for you.

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