remember coming to Northwestern as an undeclared student and being unsure of what I was going to do with myself. I knew that I would need some time to decide what my major would be and to find some activities to participate in, but I also thought that I already had a strong sense of who I was as a person. I figured that the friends I made in that first year would be the ones that I had, and that I would immediately find all the extracurricular things I wanted to do. In hindsight, it’s obvious how wrong I was, because I’ve had so many changes and moments of self discovery since then.

I was a pretty shy introvert in high school, but nobody would believe that if I told them now. Coming to Northwestern let me find the sort of people who brought out my best side, people who I felt comfortable around and who brought me out of my shell. I have some friends who have been with me since marching band camp began my freshman year, but I also continue to make new friends. I’ve tried new things every year, and it has yielded many wonderful experiences: multiple trips out of the country, classes in every school at Northwestern, work in all sorts of different media, and pursuing opportunities beyond the bounds of the school through internships and other work.

This was actually a difficult post to write, simply because I’ve changed in such a positive way during my time at Northwestern that it was difficult to cast my mind back to my life before I came here. If I could give my past self any advice about approaching the NU experience, it would only be to have tried all these things sooner. Not everything sticks, but it’s worthwhile to give all these new things a chance and to see what you can make of yourself in this new environment.

–Jim Alrutz

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