As I finish up my final year at Pitt, I am grateful to look back on all of my experiences here and all of the people I have been fortunate enough to meet. The best piece of advice I have is something that I’m sure everyone has heard at some point before, but it encapsulates my time here perfectly: trust the process. My freshman year, this quickly became my residence hall floor’s mantra, and while at first, I found the constant use of it annoying, I can look back now and understand how applicable it has been.
When I began looking at universities, I started by looking at schools within my mom’s “recommended” 3-hour drive radius from Cleveland. But what really sold me about Pitt was the feeling I got when I stepped on campus. I loved that it combined a traditional campus feel within an urban environment, and everything that I learned about it after visiting made me want to come here even more. When I was a junior in high school, my older sister went abroad to France, and my desire to have similar experiences as her made me search for schools with great study abroad and foreign language options—something Pitt had plenty of. I also appreciated the wide variety of academic opportunities and the ability to design my own path, since as an incoming freshman I had not yet decided on a major or area of study.
When I got on campus, I met with advisors to seek assistance on how to choose a major. From my general arts and sciences advisor to specific professors that I had spent time researching to the dean of the honors college, I met with many people to figure out a course of study. They advised me to just try every class that sounded interesting to me to gage how I felt about it as a career path. They also told me to seek out extracurriculars and outside of the classroom activities to pursue interests that I may not be able to study within the classroom. The value of co-curriculars are that they allow you to explore unique interests or to expand on topics from your favorite courses. They also introduce you to people with similar passions and can potentially give you some of your closest friends. In my time at Pitt I have participated in volunteer groups, volleyball clubs, and other activities that brought me all of these things. Once I had settled on French and Biology majors, I was grateful to receive assistance in designing a course plan that allowed a free semester for me to study abroad—something I highly recommend to all college students who are able to!
One thing I’ve learned is that while everyone seems like they know what they’re doing, everyone is just as lost as you are. But that’s the fun of it—you get to navigate this whole new experience with people just trying to do the same. My advice to those transitioning into college is to try everything: join out clubs that seem even remotely interesting, study abroad for a week or summer or semester, apply to jobs and internships, explore Pittsburgh, take risks. The first few weeks of college can be overwhelming and awkward, but if you just embrace it and trust the process, you’ll find exactly where you need to be!