February 23, 2024

While attending the freshman kickoff event as a part of Welcome Weekend to interview students for The Banner, I had a moment of awe as I stood there among the crowd.

I could not help but smile as I watched community and friendships form between freshmen and upperclassmen. I was watching so many people begin a new chapter in their lives as I prepare to close a significant chapter in my own life.

I am entering my last semester as an undergraduate college student and despite feeling like life is moving at 10 times speed around me, it was a special moment to speculate about how the incoming freshmen will define their college years. For me, I poured myself into student publications and loved every minute of it.

Through Lancer Media Group, I have been lucky to meet some amazingly talented, kind and welcoming people. Thinking about the time I have spent at California Baptist University and what little time I have left, I am so grateful that my college path was defined by my involvement in student publications.

At the Welcome Weekend event, I realized there are so many people whose college years were defined by their involvement in First-Year Experience, Community Life, theater, athletics or hundreds of other things. 

Being in an already reflective state of mind, I had the best time speculating which freshmen would get involved in various campus activities and which would end up like me, with their feet planted in student publications.

One of the best aspects of college is that you can be involved in so many things without ever being tied down to one path. One of my favorite cliché college sayings is, “You will never have as much free time as you do now.” 

This is true in some respects. You might not have homework after college which means less time spent at a desk, but at the same time, you gain new responsibilities that will take up your time in other ways.

I challenge all the freshmen reading this to start thinking about what you want your college years to be defined by because these next four years will fly by — especially if you end up losing a year and a half to a global pandemic.

 To the upperclassmen and, more importantly, seniors reading this, are you happy with the way your college years are shaping up? If you could go back and do something differently, would you?

Life is best lived without regrets and with life moving as fast as it does, your choices make all the difference when you get to the finish line. 

Sometimes I wonder how I managed to get as far as I did. It feels like it was just yesterday I was a freshman wandering into the James Building searching for the newsroom and now I am editor-in-chief of The Banner, preparing to graduate and search for my next newsroom.

I hope everyone is lucky enough to find their own newsroom and create a college path they are proud of. 

Whether you are just starting or heading toward the finish line like me, there is always time to change your story.

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