Jowairia Khalid

Photo submitted by Jowairia Khalid

As graduation is 10 days away, I sit in front of the mirror and think about my character development throughout college. I am not the same girl I was two and a half years ago in high school. Yes, you read correctly. I finished college in two and a half years, thanks to the 57 credits I received in high school from dual credit and AP classes. While there are moments I wish I had not completed college so quickly, I believe I have made the most of my college career.

Prior to starting college, I had always been super shy. Making and keeping friends was always difficult. When COVID-19 hit my senior year of high school, I took it as a moment to brush up on my social skills. I began the process by deleting my social medias, a large step for me. To fill the absence of social media, I spent more time with my family, found new hobbies and decorated my room to fit me.

While I was enjoying all the me-time, I was bored by June. I hadn’t spoken to anyone besides my parents and coworkers. I decided to redownload my socials. I began seeing Instagram posts about sororities, which piqued my interest. I researched Greek Life at SEMO, looked through sorority Instagram highlights, checked prices and decided on the perfect one. It changed the entire trajectory of my life.

After becoming an official member of Gamma Sigma Sigma, I made wonderful friends. I was more comfortable being on camera, talking to others and making jokes. I was becoming more comfortable and bolder; so bold I decided to run for an executive position with only a few months of experience, and I nailed the role. I was ecstatic and it motivated me to continue running for positions. I ran for positions like secretary, homecoming co-chair and standards chair. Public speaking became second nature. I joined several other organizations and worked up to executive positions there, too.

In my classes, I befriended everyone. People described me as “bubbly and full of life,” words I never thought I would ever hear. I can socialize indefinitely: I talk to people in elevators and stairwells, I smile at everyone as I pass by, and I make jokes during class without fear of judgment, because I am so much more comfortable with who I am compared to who I was in high school.

I had become a social butterfly, yet, there was still one thing I immensely struggled with: time management. I still remember how much I hated those planners they would give us in high school. They served no purpose for me. I would always complete my work on time and had my day-to-day schedule memorized. I thought college would be the same, but I was so wrong. I had joined so many organizations, and keeping up with events, along with my homework, was becoming tedious without writing everything down. So, by the third week of my freshman year, I bought a planner. Yet, my struggle with time management continued for a year.

I decided to change my approach. There were three main aspects of my life, socialization, sleep and good grades. To succeed, I had to choose two. Goodbye, sleep! But it worked. I advise using this strategy with caution; it is not healthy. I was able to keep up with every event in my life and continue to ace my tests and homework. I might be eternally exhausted now, but sacrifices had to be made. After a while, I was burnt out. I was tired of making changes in my life, but there had to be something I could do to keep up my motivation. I again changed the approach of time management, only this time, I stopped doing homework every day.

Now, I know that sounds wild and you’re probably thinking the lack of sleep has caused me to go insane (it has partially), but keep reading. I started completing assignments based on each class. For example, On Monday, I would complete the week’s worth of assignments for the respective class and then take a break on Tuesday. On Wednesday, I would do all the assignments for the second and third classes, then take a break on Thursday. On Friday, I would repeat the process. I would spend my Saturday mornings completing any assignments that were left and begin my weekend. I have been using this process for almost nine months now, and it has proven to work for me.

Over the course of my college career, I have experienced life-changing moments, some positive and others negative. But there is one experience I will never forget. Over the summer of my senior year, I was chosen to participate in the Federal Justice Fellowship at the Cape Girardeau Federal Courthouse. It was an intense, four-week program. Six participants were selected, three girls and three guys. We all quickly became close friends and spent eight hours together everyday. I strengthened my legal writing skills, met federal lawyers and judges and other court officials. The weeks passed by in a blur, and I learned so much about our legal system. I loved law so much more after my fellowship.

Besides what I have written so far, some of my favorite memories in college include being an orientation leader, Opening Week leader, participating in panels and research conferences, writing for the Arrow and working at the radio station.

If there’s any take away from my college career, it would be to step out of your comfort zone and take risks. Whether that risk is to apply for a job you want or to start a conversation with someone you are dying to be friends with, do it. You have four years, make the most of it. You won’t regret it, I pinky promise!

All love,

Jowairia Khalid

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