Suffering exists. I find comfort in this first noble truth of Buddhism because it explains the necessary struggle to continue to move forward and to succeed.
In my time at Seton Hall, I chose to be tested. I chose a difficult path, one with “suffering” in order to find truth and to find myself. Taking a variety of classes that pushed me out of my comfort zone was my most important choice in college.
I’ll come right out and say it: I love school. I love learning new things and taking classes that challenge me to exceed what I considered my potential. I get that not everyone wants to take hard classes on top of their existing workload, or to take more than the minimum; but if you’re already paying
for 18 credits, why not get your money’s worth?
There were many moments in my college career where I could have taken the easy way out. Even while taking 18 credits I could have chosen classes with a subject matter I was already familiar with and secured an “easy A.” Rather than guaranteeing I kept up my GPA with ease, I sought the more difficult path.
My first truly challenging class was during my sophomore year with a professor I’ve been lucky enough to take for many other courses since then.
But I distinctly remember leaving his class after the first day and calling my mom saying: “I think I have to drop one of my classes, my professor was basically speaking another language. I don’t think I’ll be able to keep up.” She urged me to give it at least one more try before deciding to drop it. I’m grateful I gave it one more chance. That professor pushed my class to think critically about the works we were reading and how they related to us personally as well as the world around us.
I was pushed completely out of my comfort zone and forced to defend my beliefs as well as things I disagreed with. I was challenged to think about theories through a more critical lens and to understand all the complexities of an issue before stating an opinion on it.
I sacrificed time with friends to complete homework and I let go of my pride and desire to be right in order to actually grow from the lessons. I worked hard, read more than I thought I had time to read, and thoroughly considered the theories and ideas presented to me so that I could fully participate in class and succeed in discussions and papers.
That class and the challenges it posed illustrated how essential struggle was to my sense of success. My hard work and dedication made that eventual understanding so much more rewarding.
Once I took that class I started pursuing others like it. I searched for classes that would challenge me and force me to think about issues outside of my own personal bubble. I chose to be tested. I feel like I’ve become a better person, student, and citizen of the world by simply searching for truth and paying attention in all my classes, not just my major’s.
When I look back at my time at SHU, I’ll reflect on how I challenged myself and how I am better because of it.
So, underclassmen, consider my advice: don’t miss out on an opportunity because you’re too afraid to take it.
Make the most of your college experience by doing what you set out to do and by pushing yourself in your academic pursuits. After all, “suffering exists” and the more difficult path yields the more rewarding fruit of personal growth and understanding.
Samantha Giedris is a senior journalism major from The Woodlands, TX. She can be reached at email@example.com.