Carlos Galeano is a sophomore at Oglethorpe University enrolled in the Engineering dual-degree program. He is originally from Tegucigalpa, Honduras and in 2013 he was selected as a Civic Engagement Scholar based on active engagement in volunteer service programs, leadership, and academic achievement. During his first and second year, his campus involvement in Oglethorpe has ranged from serving as freshman senator and parliamentarian of the Student Government Association to serving as founding father, vice president, and sergeant-at-arms of the Alpha Nu colony of the Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity. In addition, he serves as a student development representative in the Phonathon program and is part of the Rotaract Club on campus. Carlos simply considers himself to be a young man who is passionate about leadership, community service, technology, and engineering.
It was the first day of freshman orientation in college. I was a recent graduate from high school and I thought I had everything figured out. The world was at my feet and I was invincible. I remember telling myself that I wouldn’t have a hard time adapting to a new country and culture. Nevertheless, I had difficulties in accepting the fact that I was not going to attend my dream school. Ever since I was a kid I knew I wanted to pursue a career in engineering. I always told myself that I would attend a big university where science, engineering, and technology were predominant. Surprisingly—on August 15th, 2013—I was enrolling for classes at a small private liberal arts school. You might be wondering, “Why on earth did he end up at a liberal arts school?” I even asked myself that same question. Quite honestly, despite the fact that I was offered a service leadership position on campus, the main reason was strictly financial. However, as time passed by, I realized that the best thing that could’ve ever happened to me was enrolling in a school were liberal arts stood above all.
College is definitely the weird period in between childhood and adulthood. It is a transition from relying on your parents to solve all of your problems to acquiring independence and gaining wisdom to overcome any obstacle by yourself. As a result, in order to achieve a solid transition during this period, there is an emphasis on self-knowledge. The quest to discover who you truly are gets more and more complicated. Personally, the liberal arts mission to receive exposure to a vast amount of subjects in order to become a well-rounded scholar has helped me get a little closer to discovering who am I and what my purpose is on this earth. It amazes me how I am having the opportunity of taking classes I never thought I would enroll in as an engineering student. So far, my studies have ranged from exploring psychoanalysis in a literature class to comparing political theories in a politics class. I have learned a wide variety of things, from calculating an area under a curve to analyzing historical leaders such as Charlemagne and Abraham Lincoln. Without a doubt, if I hadn’t accepted admission to my current school I wouldn’t have found love for knowledge for its own sake. So for those high school students who doubt if they chose the right university, be patient and have the courage to explore different areas. I guarantee that you will find interest in a wide variety of fields. In turn, this newly acquired knowledge will help you discover new things about yourself and what you want to do for the rest of your life.
In addition to a thirst for knowledge, universities provide different opportunities to get involved on campus. I have learned that it is absolutely necessary for students to join clubs and organizations in order to fully take advantage of this transition period known as college. Not everything can be learned in a classroom. Therefore, it is imperative that you take a leap of faith and explore different organizations. I would recommend students to get involved in clubs they never thought they would get involved in. If you are a math or science major YES it is fine to be in a play or musical. If you are a communications major YES it is fine to join the society of physics students. You might just end up being surprised of everything you can learn and all of the networking opportunities present in a club. It is all about having the courage to get out of your comfort zone to discover who you are.
It is safe to conclude that if I had to give one advice to incoming freshmen, it would be to explore different subjects and learn to get involved in a wide variety of clubs. Yes there will be parties where you will meet people from all over the world and have a great deal of fun. There is nothing wrong with having a healthy social life. However, keep in mind that you are on a mission to learn and to study. While doing so you will get exposure to different subjects. Be open minded and embrace this opportunity. Lastly, for those who are not attending their dream school it is not the end of the world