Senior Reflection | Navigating a Multifaceted Education

For as long as I can remember, I have focused on planning my future and embracing challenges to achieve success. I naturally leaned towards STEM subjects throughout school, knowing early on that I wanted to become a physician.  

Upon starting college, I was determined to challenge myself academically. While my primary goal was to attend medical school after college, I harbored other interests I wanted to pursue outside of science.  

The summer before starting at UCCS, I printed out every academic advising guide I could find that aligned with my interests, sought out ways to sprinkle pre-med courses in with general education and elective requirements, and mapped out different degree plans until I found one that was feasible and covered all my interests. The result was one binder with fully annotated degree plans, three Excel spreadsheets, and a degree proposal that I was ready to make happen.  

After working with advisors, my degree plan was approved and I had a goal – graduating with a Bachelor of Innovation Digital Media degree and completing 75 credits of pre-medicine requirements.  

In digital media courses, I explored topics related to design, marketing, art, and communication. Within the Bachelor of Innovation program, I took innovation, entrepreneurship, and business courses where I learned how to work in cross-functional, multidisciplinary teams collaborating with national and international businesses to transform ideas into impact.  

Pre-medicine courses such as chemistry and anatomy required me to have discipline, study habits, and the ability to manage large amounts of information. I would be remiss not to mention the countless hours I spent in the library – shoutout to organic chemistry.  

Outside of school, I pursued leadership roles in aquatics, eventually becoming the manager of a local pool in Littleton, Colorado. In this position, I honed my leadership skills and problem-solving abilities.  

During my sophomore year at UCCS, I began working as a photographer at The Scribe. I remember sitting in my first staff meeting and feeling intimidated by the confidence exuded by the student journalists around me. The Scribe showed me the power of my voice and gave me the confidence to conduct interviews and fearlessly take photos that capture our campus. 

By my senior year, I started working at the Ent Center, managing social media and creating content. My roles at the Ent Center and The Scribe challenged my photography skills and aided in my growth as an artist. 

As each school year went by, I found it easier to dissociate from my work and shift into auto-pilot. Submitting to my calendar and “locking in” was how I balanced schoolwork, multiple jobs, consistent workout schedules, traveling during the semester, and spending time with friends. 

And just like that – it’s all over in the blink of an eye.   

As I sit here, staring into the abyss attempting to decipher my post-grad plans, I want to offer current and future students a piece of advice: take time for yourself and live in the moment.  

It sounds simple enough, but learning to live in the moment was one of the toughest lessons I learned in college. The constant stress and never-ending due dates consumed my life while at school and, without an outlet, there is no way I would have been able to reach my goals.  

Working out and traveling were my favorite ways to relieve stress and ground myself, but I needed to find quicker ways to bring myself into the present and minimize anxious thoughts as assignments, tests, and projects piled up.  

Bringing myself into the present sometimes feels like wiggling my toes in my shoes or laughing with friends in the gym. Sometimes it’s dancing to my favorite music while getting ready, saying yes to spontaneous adventures, or smiling at myself in the mirror after meeting a lofty goal.  

Most of the time, bringing myself to the present means putting my phone down, taking a moment to breathe, and reassuring myself that everything will be alright. It’s doing the little things that addict you to life – laughing until your abs hurt, staying up late talking to a friend, and running outside to catch a glimpse of the sunset.  

Whether it’s breathing in the morning air while sipping hot tea or running to your car in the rain, find what makes you happy and prioritize it. Especially in small moments. Challenging yourself can be overwhelming, but life has a way of guiding you to the next day.   

In retrospect, there were moments when I feared choosing to explore multiple subjects in college would push me to my breaking point but – that’s the neat part — it didn’t. Rather, classes and course loads that once intimidated me became my norm. I didn’t fully grasp my potential until I chose to believe in myself and chase what I wanted.  

While it feels daunting to leave this chapter of my life behind, my experiences at UCCS have shaped me in a way that instills confidence in my ability to tackle life’s challenges. As Wallace Stevens wrote, “It is the unknown that excites the ardor of scholars, who, in the known alone, would shrivel up with boredom.”