Not too long ago, I was in a similar spot most of you likely find yourselves in now. Anxiously writing essays trying to put your best foot forward, nervously pleading to your favorite teachers to write that glorious recommendation that will convince admissions counselors you’re the one, and studying religiously for those standardized exams—not too long ago, I was doing all these things in hopes of getting into this school off Lake Michigan because of how welcomed I felt upon visiting this genuinely tightknit community. Four years later, and I can attest that it was all worth it. These four years have been some of the best of my life.

Now, I know it may sound cliché to refer to college as “the best years of your life,” but I actually got exactly what I wanted out of Northwestern. What I sought was a community that I could grow with socially, academically, and personally. What follows is some vignettes of some of the communities you can find at Northwestern and how they helped me become who I am today.

I did not know who I was going to room with going into freshman year. I picked a room with air conditioning in what I later learned to be a residential college. Little did I know, this community would be the foundation of my social life for the next four years. I made friends I still live with to this day, and together we have developed great friendships. Whether it be watching the NBA Finals or hanging out on the rocks staring at the Chicago skyline, these people have been my rocks socially.

Besides the tightknit social community, I was also drawn to Northwestern for its amazing academics. As someone who typically preferred to study alone, I didn’t expect to find an academic community, but per usual, Northwestern made finding a community easy and beneficial. In my classes in the Integrated Marketing Communications program, I worked with the same four people on two different quarter long projects and became great friends along the way. And who could forget the countless hours I spent studying for my Economics classes with the same couple of friends? Without these ‘Cats, academics would not have been the same.

Finally, I grew personally. People here at Northwestern are great by themselves, but the benefit of community is you have people to challenge you. My friends will not hesitate to call me out when they think I can do better, to challenge me to expand my boundaries, and to praise me upon my successes. With them, I have grown.

So, four years later, it was all worth it. Thank you, Northwestern, for seeing in me what I didn’t always see in myself and for letting me grow with this community. Go ‘Cats!

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