People always say you find yourself when you come to college. I see the logic in this saying but only to a certain extent. I’ve always known who I am but during my experience at college I gained the courage to express it.
I have forever been deemed a tom-boy. While it’s considered a cute quirk when you are a child it’s not lady like to trample through the woods and catch snakes when you are older. So in my teenage years I tried to “girl it up” a bit. However, this did not make for a happy Val.
While at the majors fair during my freshman orientation my mother spotted two girls across the room holding snakes. She excitedly pointed them out to me exclaiming they looked like “my kinda people.” They turned out to be Warnell Ambassadors and showed me I wasn’t the only 18 year-old who still enjoyed playing outside. I instantly fell in love with Warnell and couldn’t wait to meet more of “my kinda people.”
However, I did not blossom into a full Warnellian upon my initial entrance into UGA. Looking back I do wish I had been more involved as a pre-professional, but I guess they don’t say hindsight’s twenty-twenty for nothing. I went through rush and made a few good friends, but core classes weren’t really full of “my kinda people” and I still felt out of place in the world.
Entrance into the professional program changed everything for me. Never in my life had I been apart of such an excepting and encouraging community as I have at Warnell. There’s a wide array of personalities here all genuinely cherished and supported by all the others. My peers, my professors, and all Warnell staff encouraged me to be my own person and strive in pursuit of my passions. Between class field trips, long nights in the lab, hours spent trekking through the woods and spring break trips to conclave I’ve made some truly genuine friends.
I have flourished during these college years. Warnell has shaped me in a way I never imagined a school could. I am courageous enough to be exactly myself. I am unique and I feel as if I have a place and a purpose in the world. I enjoy getting dirty, I don’t mind sweating, I think snakes are cool, my humor is crass, and I am all the more beautiful for it.