Finding Yourself in College
Nafis Khan (junior)
Hello all, my name is Nafis Khan and I am a junior studying biochemistry and molecular biology. I have been through many highs and lows as a student here at Penn State, which have offered me many teachable moments. As my Penn State experience begins to enter its final chapter I would like to share with you (the reader) words of wisdom that I have picked up during my three years in Happy Valley.
First of all, do not be afraid to put yourself in a vulnerable position or intimidated by the size of Penn State. I understand that attending a school with over 40,000 students can be overwhelming and that it seems like you are just another face in the crowd. That being said, none of that matters. You have to take the time to make Penn State smaller. Find people who share common interests, strike up conversation with a stranger, join an organization whose mission you believe in. It may seem scary to put yourself out there and surround yourself with strangers, but if you work to create friendships and bonds then that student body of 40,000 can shrink down to the 100 or so people that you interact with daily.
And with regards to joining a cause you believe in, do not feel like it is ever too late to become a part of something. My first semester of freshman year I participated in a club sport. By winter break I decided that I was no longer interested in said sport and quit. The next semester I joined an awesome club with a goal that intrigued me. Halfway through the semester the club up and vanished (to this day I have no idea what happened to it). At the end of my freshman year I remember thinking that I missed my opportunity to get involved in Penn State’s extracurricular life and lost the opportunity to make those aforementioned friendships and connections. However, I again sought interesting organizations to join at the beginning of my sophomore year and finally managed to find some that stuck (like Empower Orphans). Even now, in my second semester of my junior year I am still getting involved in opportunities that I find interesting, and it is still just as rewarding getting to know and work with new people.
My final words of wisdom are that you can do almost anything you want if you put the effort in. College is a land of opportunity but you have to work for it, it won’t just fall in your lap. If you want that sweet internship study hard and you are a shoe-in. If you want to get in shape, head on in to the White Building (when it’s not crazy crowded) and break a sweat. If you want to make a difference join a cause you believe in. If you want that last West Dining Commons cookie, fight for it. Long story short: you get out what you put in, meaning the level of effort you put in equals the amount of success you should see. All the tools are laid out to you to succeed you just have to figure out how they work. Once you get there it is smooth sailing.