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Brianna Marmol: Experiment and Step Outside Your Major

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When I was in high school, I couldn’t wait to graduate. I was convinced that my life would “finally begin” in college. It was a typical teenage dream—I’d live on my own, do what I want when I wanted, and would answer to no one. Well, when I arrived at Moravian my freshman year, I got the freedom I always desired, but lost time.

Time to go on adventures, to socialize with friends, or even to just de-stress and spend an hour reading. My life became a chaotic jumble of classes, homework, assignments, extracurriculars, and other requirements that caused massive amounts of stress and more than a couple of breakdowns. In the end, all that “freedom” added up to a half hour at night to binge watch the Netflix show of my choice. College didn’t bring the change I expected, but it did bring change. Now that I’m graduating and about to go down the rabbit hole again, I wish I could go back and give my freshman self some advice.  

I would tell myself and other college students not to obsess over grades. They’re definitely important and have led to some amazing opportunities, but they’re not everything. I spent so many hours holed up in my room and hunched over a textbook that I basically turned into a college-dorm version of a mole person. At the time, I was convinced it was what I needed to do, and for many classes it was. However, now I know I didn’t need to, and couldn’t, internalize every word of my history notes or that short story we only discussed for five minutes. If I could go back, I’d take an hour or two off every evening and spend that time exploring PA with my friends, so that by the time I graduated I would actually know and understand the town I’ve called home for the past four years.

I’d also take more classes that have no relation to my major. As an English major who wanted (and still aims) to become an editor, my goal was to build up my writing and editing skills. From the day I chose English studies, I made sure to know each class I had to take and when I’d have to take it. It’s cliché to say that college is the time for experimentation, but it’s true. Although all of that planning was worthwhile and almost all of my English classes taught me valuable skills, I yearn to go back and make time for that finance and business class. Not only would I have strengthened my proficiency in hard skills, but I would have also had the opportunity to meet new people who I might not have interacted with otherwise.

Most importantly, I’d go back and assure myself that my experiences, even the ones that made me want to escape to a tropical island for months on end, would turn out better than I expected. Some relationships became more complicated than my tangled basket of yarn, and many decisions had unexpected fallouts, but I like who I am.

I’ve accomplished a lot at Moravian and learned that I want to make a difference. As Eric Idle once said, “Life has a very simple plot: first you’re here and then you’re not.” Not only do I want to be here, but I want my being here to make a difference; even if that difference is as quiet as a small stream in a large forest, I’ll know that stream is necessary to its community. It has contributed in a minor way to a larger picture, and I’d tell my past self that someday soon, I’ll be able to contribute to that community as well. Brianna out *mic drop.*

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