My unexpected college experience

Abigail Rapillo, News Editor

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A lot of time passes while you are in college. Four years is a long time, especially at this age. We come into college at 18, barely an adult, and come out at 21 or 22, expected to enter the “real world” and pay taxes.

I have grown in ways that I had not even dreamed of when I started at Iona. I never thought that I would fail so miserably at what I came to college to do, and never did I think that that failure would force me to face my fears and make me grow as a person.

I imagined coming to college, doing well in class, going on a few mission trips, having an internship and building my resume for finding a job or going to graduate school. But there were other plans in mind for me. So here I am, four years later, with no internships under my belt, graduating without honors and with a GPA far below where I wanted it to be. But I am also coming out with the framework of a full person. I have spaces to fill in and I have patches I’m trying to mend, but the directions are there for me to continue to follow.

I found a way to be passionate about what I do in college. I am passionate about journalism and I am passionate about service. I would have gone through my life as a robot if not for my failures. I would still be seeking perfection and satisfaction, not happiness and fulfillment. My dreams and goals look the same as when I started, but I understand why I want those things now.

I have wanted to be a war journalist since high school. I loved the idea of danger and reporting on things that truly mattered to future history books, but I found another purpose to this dream over the last four years. In the service work I have done in New Rochelle, New York City, Baton Rouge and West Virginia, I have seen how people’s stories are stripped from them and used for different agendas. The stories reported on are not about the people who have lives and families and jobs and fears, but are instead about how people can be simplified and used for personal gain. People living through war and violence like in Yemen, Sudan or Syria have lives and stories of their own. This humanization of faces and numbers is the difference needed in reporting.

What I learned in college is to have passion and to love what I’m doing. I love reporting, serving and mentoring. I learned much of this through editing for The Ionian. I was forced early on in college to be responsible for the physically largest section of the paper and for the front page. I was forced to take on a leadership role. My time at The Ionian has shaped me into the journalist I am, one that is passionate about my craft and cemented in its purpose.

As important as grades are, learning is the real reason we come to college. Doing the work in class, finding interests outside of class and figuring out not just what you want to do, but also who you want to be is why we go to college. I was forced out of thinking only about my grades because my brain rebelled against me and shut down, but it was through this that I was able to grow.

College is tough, but through all the challenges and failures, there is always space to learn through your experiences.