Shaelyn Shadwell

I started doubting that college was even for me.
Shaelyn Shadwell headshot

Coming to RIT as a freshman was scary enough, but in my first week of classes I realized I was way academically behind everyone else in my major. On top of that, I was one of only a handful of women in my program for my year. I felt totally underprepared and intimidated.

In high school I was always at the top of my class and never had to get help with anything, but at RIT every class was a struggle. I was embarrassed to ask questions because I thought my classmates would think I was stupid. I sat in classes stressing out that a professor would ask me a question. Getting help from a tutor was out of the question because I was convinced they would judge me for not understanding the simplest concepts. I started doubting that college was even for me.

One day my friend who knew how much I was struggling dragged me to Sol’s Tutoring Center and the tutors there were super helpful. In working with them, I began to understand that it’s okay not to know everything, and that lots of people feel insecure. The most important thing I discovered is that I had to give myself time to learn so many new concepts. They helped me see that if I was patient with myself and worked hard I could do the work. Once I accepted those facts, things started to improve.

I know I will continue to face obstacles, but I have more confidence because I know what to do when things get hard. I’m not afraid to ask questions in class and get help when I need it. It’s taken awhile, but I finally feel like I belong at RIT.

Shaelyn Shadwell

RIT 365 Facilitator