That day, I was very scared. I remember having mock interviews with my best friend in high school and shaking as she asked me why I wanted to be a YouAtUW blogger. It was the hardest thing ever. All I knew was that I loved writing and sharing it for the greater good. At around 6:00 p.m., in South Africa, I received a Skype call. That will always be the scariest call in my life. I was scared that the connection might be terrible and communication could be lost. I was scared to simply be myself and express my passion for writing. This was the interview I had with Darby Hoffman for me to become a blogger. It certainly was a comfortable experience once I started talking to her, but I had spent the whole day panicking. I really wanted this position. Now that I got it, wrote a few blogs, and am finally writing my final one, I ask “Was this whole experience worth my time?” It certainly was for three main reasons:
- I reflected a lot on my college experience.
In the process of writing a blog, I found myself focusing on the positive experiences that I had at UW, and this helped me with optimism throughout the whole semester. I found myself encouraging many people in my life to keep pushing, even when life became hard. In that process, I began to motivate myself as well. Whatever I put on paper, I live by it. Blogging certainly helped me realize that there is more to college life than books. I began to appreciate the people in my life more as I wrote about my encounters with them. Reflection was the best experience of blogging. I revealed the little things that many always take for granted (if you are confused right now, you should probably read my other blogs and leave a comment).
- I saw a positive shift in my personality as I blogged.
Many of my friends will probably describe me as an extrovert, but they will also know that I am not good at sharing my thoughts. I tend to interact more with people when they talk about their lives, listening and responding only if I have to. Sharing was never an option until I became a blogger. It was a challenge I took, and it was worth the time. I realized that the more I shared my stories, the more I understood who I was and the more I corrected my mistakes in life to make sure that I thrive at UW. I began to understand the power of sharing when many first-year students stopped me on my way to or from class to just thank me for my blog post. The conversations will shift to an emotional moment where they would share about how my posts gave them hope to keep pushing in a new environment, especially for the international students. All this made me realize that my stories can make a difference and now, I believe that I have found myself sharing my experiences with my friends, people on my floor, and also people in my classes. This has changed who I am; a proud an extrovert who participates in mutually contributed conversations. I share and you share. We are all in this together.
- My English certainly improved.
I am from an Anglophone country, meaning that English is my second language. One would expect me not to have so many difficulties in writing in English, but believe me, I have moments where I just stare at the computer trying to directly translate words from my Zimbabwean language, Shona. I have had moments where I get feedback on my written English, and this has not only helped in terms of how I communicate on my blogs, but also with my class papers. With blogging, I practiced writing more and this was a trial and error process that really shaped my confidence in writing. I am going to be humble and say that my papers have been good so far, all because of practice while blogging.
Being a YouAtUW blogger has certainly been a process of self-discovery. If it was not for the readers who kept giving me feedback and expressing their gratitude every time they read my posts, I would not have seen all these great transformations in my life. I really hope that the first semester has been filled with positive experiences and constructive feedback to keep all first-year students motivated for the spring semester. I have enjoyed sharing my thoughts, and with this being my last blog, I had to share how this writing process has helped me as an individual. I hope that whenever college life gets tough, we will all go to the YouAtUW site to find comfort and hope in the experiences that I and other bloggers have shared.
It is definitely the coldest year of my life since this is a very different climate from home, but it is also the warmest, for it is filled with so many positive people who keep me going. Don’t forget to help those in need. Even if they do not ask for help, be their secret Santa.
Happy holidays lovely readers! This has been an unforgettable experience!
With profound gratitude,