2015 was an eventful and busy year. I finished high-school and transitioned into college – all the way from India to the USA. I can still remember what it was like to start my freshman year; I was super excited to start this new journey, but I was also nervous about being on my own.
Reflecting on my journey through freshman year, I see how much I have grown and accomplished – not only in my skills but in my confidence as a person and as a leader. Here is a quick list of things I learned and all adventures I had my during my freshman year:
1. RIT Honors program
I applied to the honors program in the spring semester and was accepted as a late entry student. As part of the CIAS honors program, students get the opportunity to participate in leadership trips that happen every year (alternating between domestic and international). I joined the CIAS honors leadership as the Co-trip coordinator for the year 2016-17. We are currently planning next year's trip to San Francisco (super excited!!).
2. Made the Dean's list both semesters!
3. Attended COOL conferences and events
- Attended my first ever design conference : FITC - ''Future. Innovation. Technology. Creativity." is a three-day conference celebrating all that the world has to offer in design, web development, media and innovation in creative technologies. It was a great educating and inspiring experience and a great networking opportunity.
- Volunteered for a student-run conference! "Thought at work": TAW is an annual student-run industrial and interaction design conference at RIT. Every year the organization is able to pull big names and even give each attendee a swag bag, which is awesome for a student-run conference. They even handed out free POLK AUDIO headphones to the first 200 attendees this year (how cool is that?!). Must see- must attend event!
- Imagine RIT: Imagine RIT is RIT's annual innovation and creativity festival. It is a giant mindblowing event showcasing interactive student projects in fields of science, technology,arts, community and beyond. Some of the cool things I saw this year were: a mini-s'mores making machine, liquid nitrogen ice-cream, taking selfies from the infra-red photo booth, Rock 'n'roll hall of fame inspired interactive new media projects, parallax portrait...and the list goes on.
4. Leadership experience
I know that if I learned one thing during the college application process, it was the importance of leadership and community service. So I participated in activities that helped me get leadership experience.
RIT's Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement: If you are looking for leadership training or community service then this is the place to go! They have 6 leadership certificates offered, conferences, retreats, etc. I attended the Connectology Leadership conference hosted by the center every year in the spring semester. It involved attending workshops to learn different aspects of leadership. I now have a certificate in Personal Success leadership.
5. Student Government
Student government committees are a great way to get involved on campus and make real change. I joined the Academics and co-op committee in the spring semester. We, as a committee, work on issues related to academic affairs at RIT. I am currently working on a charge to get free Adobe Creative Cloud Licenses for students.
6. On-campus job
On-campus jobs are a cool way to make some money as well as learn. Being and international student, I never got an opportunity to visit RIT before I applied. So I relied heavily on Facebook groups, ambassador blogs, videos and advice. So, during the spring semester, I joined the Office of Undergraduate Admissions as the International Student Ambassador. I communicate and interact with prospective students from India and U.S., maintain social media channels, and write blogs (like this one).
(PS: I love my job!)
Traveling extensively with my family and friends since childhood has instilled a travel bug in me. And so, in each break I try to go see a new place.
- First ever Thanksgiving and Christmas in Toronto. Toronto is a beautiful city and it is only about 4-5 hours by road.
- Family time. For spring break I visited my family and cousins in Omaha and Chicago. A break well spent relaxing, eating home cooked food, sightseeing and visiting a lot of museums.
- And then other fun adventures throughout the year with friends - going to the waterfall, lilac festival, on-campus Diwali event and much more...
The first year of college is a 'year of firsts'! Your first time having a roommate, first time living on your own...It is overwhelming but an incredibly fun and great learning experience. I look forward to my sophomore year and all the adventures it will bring along.
Cherish every moment , work hard and have fun!