The funny thing about change is that it is constant. No matter where you are or what stage of life you are in, something is always shifting in one way or another. And when it comes to change, you only have two options: you can resist it or embrace it. Amidst this constant state of flux, the biggest change comes in the form of college and higher education. The list of adjustments is endless, including living away from home, having new friends, being in a new community, and beginning the transition to adulthood.

Personally, I couldn’t wait to tackle these changes. My teachers used to tell me that I was always ready to graduate after tenth grade, so by the time move-in came around, I was bouncing off the walls with excitement. I was finally in a new environment, away from the petty small-mindedness of some of my classmates in high school. I think I declared to myself that everything was going to be different, that this is where my life would turn around and finally begin to mean something. I guess you could say my expectations were a little high.

But, as they say, the more things change, the more things stay the same. Even with this new community that I had become a part of, within the first few weeks, I found myself falling into that same familiar, comfortable stride from high school. I decided to stick to the activities and topics I knew I was comfortable with, like music and theatre. There were several options that were laid out in front of me, but sometimes I rejected these opportunities, not because I was too busy, but because I was too scared.

I don’t think I ever took a real risk until after the run of the 85th Waa-Mu Show, Another Way West, in the end of my spring quarter. I had been so moved by the sheer achievement of the student-written musical that I filled out an application to be one of the head writers for the next Waa-Mu show. Of course, I didn’t actually think that I would receive the position until I met with the previous head writer and he welcomed me into the program. My first thought was of excitement and happiness, but after I finished the meeting, anxiety and stress began to creep in on the edges of my mind. When I got back to my room, I had a mini panic attack of sorts. I thought to myself, “I don’t know how to do this! Why did they pick me? What did I do?”

When I calmed myself down, I thought of why I had taken on this task in the first place. And that is when I realized how comfortable I had become at the school, which is all attributed to how kind and caring every student at Northwestern is. Because of this supportive nature, I had felt comfortable enough to take on a huge risk like being a head writer.

And that is when I realized that Northwestern had changed me. I felt like I was part of a supportive community, one that wasn’t trying to prove me wrong or knock me down a peg. Instead, they were focused on helping me grow, which made me a more confident risk-taker. I feel like I can take on the world and throw myself into anything and still feel comfortable, and I can’t wait to continue exploring that here at Northwestern.

–Alex Rothfield

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