Going to Costa Rica was definitely the highlight of my first semester at Appalachian. Traveling abroad is always an amazing experience, regardless of the location, but this was my first time traveling with a group other than my family. Our cohort’s group dynamic was strengthened in the mountains of Costa Rica on long bus rides and cloud forest hikes. This trip was my first experience in Latin America, and it was incredibly rewarding. I had the opportunity to practice my Spanish and to learn about the Costa Rican culture and their mission of sustainability.
I went into my first semester without any defined expectations. Of course, I expected to be challenged academically, but there were definitely more nights in the library and late nights watching Game of Thrones than I had imagined. My classes were stimulating, challenging, and thought provoking. Taking a government and politics course during an election year was certainly an eye opening experience.
Joining Phi-Chi, a pre-med organization, introduced me to amazing students who share the same interests I do. I have met so many incredible people these past few months, and I know that I definitely would not have met these fascinatingly different individuals anywhere other than at ASU. My new friends come from all walks of life with different backgrounds and opinions. The Wilson Scholarship has opened up a lot of doors for me, and I am eternally grateful for the chance to pursue my interests and to meet such inspiring people. I have also had the opportunity to meet many administrators and faculty, all of whom are deeply invested in our futures in the Wilson Scholars Program and beyond.
As I learned more about myself this semester, I found myself exploring my interests in a way I hadn’t before. I reminded myself that my dreams are valid, that they aren’t too big nor are they too ambitious. I have grown a lot this semester as a person, as a global citizen, and as a student. I learned that my friends see me as the “mom,” which isn’t exactly a bad thing. I’ve learned that I have great taste in music and that I’m really good in the kitchen. I now know that all-nighters are a horrible idea, especially if you have to be productive the next day. I learned that I can make people feel comfortable about being themselves. My personal growth is important to me, and moving away from everything that was familiar to me to start college forced me to create my own path for my future.
I am definitely looking forward to this spring semester, despite my eighteen-hour course load. Of course, I don’t mind the challenge. I just know that I will have to work harder to continue to grow as a student and as an individual. I want to try to work in a lab next semester conducting research in an area I am interested in. If this last Fall semester has just been a trial run of who I am and who I want to be, then I am excited to see where this next semester takes me.
Written by: Fahiima Mohamed