If there’s one experience that tests the strength of your own mind, it’s the transition from high school to college. It’s a struggle for everyone, whether or not that person decides to admit it. This transition in and of itself is a challenge that many of my best friends have faced, are continuing to struggle with, or have finally gotten used to.
Going from living in suburban Livonia to living in a crazy new place with crazy new people and crazy new classes really changes a person. Being a freshman in college is not an easy thing to be. And there’s one person very close to me who has done an incredible job at it.
My best friend, Rachel Smith, attends the University of Michigan Ann Arbor as a student in the highly prestigious School of Engineering. She is a Biomedical Engineering major, is taking extremely rigorous classes, is a member of the Delta Phi Epsilon sorority, and has a job as a barista at a local coffee shop downtown.
Since I’ve known Rachel, she has striven to be the best version of herself each and every day. She is constantly putting others before herself and reaching out to those who are important to her. She sees the good in people and chooses to focus on the positive aspects in any situation.
I was so excited for her to begin her life at UMich, but each time I checked in on her, things there were just okay. A couple weeks went by, and things kept getting worse. And worse, then worse again. She was struggling with the coursework-and for Rachel Smith, that’s pretty much unheard of-plus the School of Engineering at UMich tends to make things ten times harder than they should be. There were issues at home that should not have been added to her stress. Her workout routine and healthy lifestyle was disrupted by the chaos of college. She was going through an intense recruitment process for her sorority. Overall, she had a plethora of things going on and adjusting was challenge.
It’s a new year and it’s a new semester. Rach has made it her whole effort to make the rest of her freshman year ridiculously awesome. And by ridiculously awesome, I don’t mean that every day needs to be a party or that she needs to be involved in tons of things. By ridiculously awesome, I mean finding the balance she needs. And how is she doing this? By being selfish. Yep, selfish. She recognizes that she needs to focus on herself in order to get the balance she deserves. Rachel is putting herself first for once and for that, I’m a proud best friend.
It fills me with joy to see that she realizes she deserves happiness. Let me tell you, the life of Rachel Smith isn’t easy, but she sure as hell makes it look easy. I’m humbled by her every day. I couldn’t be happier to know that she is finding the right balance of work, school, health, and self-love. So thank you, Rachel, for being the person I look up to (even though I am older than you by 18 days), for being a leader for so many people in your life, and for recognizing that it’s okay to be a little selfish sometimes.