STEPPING OUTSIDE MY COMFORT ZONE
Ben Taylor, ’15, School of Engineering
Looking at my journey through four years at Vanderbilt, the graduating senior who I am now would barely recognize the homeschooled high school senior who came here in fall 2011. While it may seem as though I now have it “all figured out,” I was quite the opposite when I came to Vandy as a first-year student. I had been homeschooled for twelve years in my small town of Fairview, Tennessee, and needless to say, I had quite an adjustment from high school to college. I wasn’t used to having classes with other people or living in a community with thousands of students my age.
In spite of these potential disadvantages, I had an incredible first semester, because I was surrounded by a bunch of amazing individuals: my Student and Faculty VUceptors and my RA. Through their advice and support, I navigated the typical trials of freshman year. I became involved with student organizations, I learned how to balance work with play (to an extent), and I even survived Calculus I. Vanderbilt repeatedly pushed me outside of my comfort zone, and thanks to the community that I found on campus, I grew through every experience.
Every semester Vanderbilt has challenged me to try new things and to get involved in new organizations, and I’ve been grateful for every moment of it. The story of my Vanderbilt experience is simply one of many stories that prove that any student can succeed here and find their own community. Embrace the challenges of your first semester and first year, because through each challenge you will grow in ways that you never imagined you would. Who knows, you might not even recognize your first-year self by the time you’re a senior!