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To my fourth-grade self, it’s worth it

A photo of children in the Christa McAuliffe Center.
Donald Halsing / THE GATEPOST

By McKenzie Ward

For most FSU students, their first memory of campus is probably the tour they took during high school or Rams Rising.

For me, my first memory of FSU is from fourth grade – over 10 years ago.

I remember vividly sitting in the back of the bus with all the other fourth-graders while we made our way up Maynard Street to the Christa McAuliffe Center for our field trip to the planetarium.

After the show, we had lunch on campus, and I remember being so amazed by the college students and thinking they were so cool. I remember telling myself I couldn’t wait to be in college.

Talking to fourth-grade me, it hasn’t been as glamorous as the movies made it. Instead of parties every week, I’ve gotten COVID-19 tested every week.

But that’s what happens when a pandemic occurs midway through your freshman spring semester and the entire world is Sipped upside down.

But despite the many ups and downs that I have experienced since September 2019 when I began freshman year, I don’t regret choosing FSU because it has shaped me into who I am today.

And while FSU may not be perfect – Lord knows it’s not – it has truly become my home over the last couple of years thanks to many individuals and departments who have taught me a countless number of lessons so far.

For the sake of word count, I’ll just name a few.

As a member of the Student Government Association, I was reminded that student voices DO in fact matter and that we can move mountains and enact change – even if that change isn’t visible to everyone.

As a member of The Gatepost, I learned that sometimes being overly tired for your 8:30 a.m. Friday lab is so worth it for pizza, friends, and something you can hold in your hands and be proud of.

The Foundations Peer Mentor program reminded me that no matter what, you’ll always have at least one person at this University in your corner, rooting you on. Thank you, Ben and David.

Individuals such as Sara Gallegos, Meg Nowak Borego, and Lorretta Holloway have taught me the importance of being an advocate and not to let the opinions of others deter me from success.

To my professors, especially Desmond McCarthy, Maria Bollettino, Joe Adelman, Rachel Trousdale, and Elizabeth Banks, thank you for expecting only the very best and pushing me to get there. If it wasn’t for your support and belief in me, I would not be here today. The passion and dedication FSU professors have for their job and their students is inspiring. You change the lives of so many students and deserve more appreciation.

Most importantly, to all the amazing friends that I have met at FSU over the past three years, you all have made each day worth it.

Eighteen-year-old me could never have imagined the things that I have accomplished so far.

I bet if you had told me on the day that I put down my deposit to FSU that I would become SGA president, I would have laughed at you because in high school I wasn’t involved at all. I woke up, went to school, went to work, and did homework. It wasn’t until my senior year that I joined a club because I realized how disconnected I was.

And while I may have overcompensated during college for my lack of involvement in high school, for the most part I don’t have regrets. I do have regrets when it is 3 a.m. and I am still doing homework, but the people on this campus make it so worthwhile.

So, for the students who aren’t involved, at least think about it. Not only does it help build your resumé, but you may find some of the most important people in your life like I did in whatever organization you join or an on-campus job you have.

To my FSU support system, I would not be completing my degrees next spring if it wasn’t for your belief in me.

And as cheesy it sounds, I love being part of the FSU fRAMily.


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