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edu180atl: natalie sterrett 8.6.12

A soon to be college freshman, I watch as my summer now draws to a close. The days quickly slipping by, I must now bid farewell to my school, my family, and many of my friends. Unfortunately, I’ve found myself dreading the day that I leave for Virginia.

I’ve been asked several times whether I’m excited to be leaving for school. I usually answer politely, saying that I’m nervous, but also excited for this big change. Today, however, I answered differently.

When a curious middle schooler asked me what it was like to be heading off to college, I admitted to her that I absolutely did not want to go. I expected a simple nod of understanding, but she instead admonished me, saying that I should open my mind to what a new experience has to offer.

What I learned from her, that I couldn’t learn on my own, is that in my fear I refuse to accept what has and will change. It’s normal to feel anxiety as one begins a new adventure, but I should learn to address those fears instead of dreading my departure.

Writing the first post of the year, I hope that my story inspires us all to continue sharing our experiences with others, whether they be our students, our teachers, or our friends. As I did today, we can learn much about ourselves when we take the time to listen to others. Continue to read, write, and comment; edu180atl provides 180 unique voices to help us understand ourselves and those around us.

About the author:  I just graduated from Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School and will be going to UVA this fall. I will definitely be following edu180atl!

9 Comments Post a comment
  1. Good luck, Natalie, and thank you for this post, as well as for your multiple contributions to the learning community at HIES. A former student of mine teaches science at Virginia; I hope you two cross paths some day. Safe travels and happy continued learning.

    August 6, 2012
  2. An wonderful start to this year’s project, Natalie. And a very wise post, too. I think we all can learn from you and try to more openly talk about the risks that we are taking — and the REAL emotions behind those risks. Thank you for sharing your heart and your learning — it will be a model for me to follow.

    And maybe an edu180uva will spring up by your second year?! As a fellow wahoo, I would love to see this project spread even more. You’ll love UVA — just make sure that you continue to take risks once you get there and get comfortable. That’s how you’ll begin to find those passions that such a great university like UVA can unearth. An exciting time for you — embrace the unknown and you will experience more than you ever dreamed. Wahoowa! 🙂

    August 6, 2012
    • Great idea, Megan. Natalie, if you’re ever interested in bringing edu180 to C-ville, we’ll be glad to help! Although, you should know, I’m a Radford Highlander. Go Red!

      August 9, 2012
  3. I remember many, many years ago when I headed off to UVA. Didn’t know anyone and wasn’t even exactly sure why I had chosen that particular university or why it had chosen me. Admittedly, I was nervous too. I didn’t know what courses to sign up for and certainly not what I wanted to be. I was envious of those who did. So I just explored the first year – the sorority scene (which I ultimately did not join but had many friends who did), a slew of different, varied courses, the trails of the Blue Ridge Mountains. After a year, it was home. In fact, I loved it so much that I would happily retire there one day.

    I sympathize with your anxiety, but I hope you also recognize that when you’re anxious, unsettled, or uncertain, you’re alive … very much alive. We are not built to be calm, settled, and certain all of the time. When we seek those states of mind only, we deny our essential humanity.

    Megan gave you wise advice: embrace the unknown.

    You chose UVA, and UVA chose you. Have faith in that when you head north in a few weeks.

    August 6, 2012
  4. Jen Murphy #

    Brilliant post, Natalie! Thank you so much for sharing. Best of luck at UVA–I am sure you will be an asset to their campus. Remember, in fear lies opportunity. Don’t miss it!

    August 7, 2012
  5. Natalie, Just got around to reading your post and so glad that I went back one day to read it. I am 68 years old, about to be 69 and I recall many such moments of fear of new steps and crossing thresholds to new experiences. I have created my own company and seem poised to start yet another one. What happens now is not that I don’t have some fear but that I can draw on prior experience and remember that always those experiences have been a portal to new discovery and new adventure. Perhaps what most distinguishes the people I most enjoy is their capacity to step across such thresholds – not because they don’t have fear but in spite of the fact that they do.

    August 7, 2012
  6. I was nervous when I left for Vanderbilt years ago, too, Natalie. For me, the first week was the hardest, and then it became more exciting that nerve-wracking. And it became more comfortable, more familiar. Know that that stage awaits you!

    August 9, 2012
  7. Great reflection, Natalie. You’re brave to acknowledge fear. Even more so to share it with the world. But there’s no doubt that you’ve shared something universal…no one who reads it will fail to understand your struggle. Best of luck up north!

    August 9, 2012
  8. Natalie–you rock. Great post. It’s not wrong to be afraid of change–the trouble is when fear renders you incapable of moving forward or in any direction. You’ve got the skills to do whatever you want to. (At least, Mrs. Chesser and I know you have the writing skills.) Keep in touch and keep the faith!

    August 15, 2012

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