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Branch Out!

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Freshman year was a weird one. I was the shy kid who did not do much but sit in his dorm room and watch TV and play video games. I met a few people on my dorm floor, but nobody really stuck. I would try to converse with different people in class, or at the dining halls but I just could not find that group of buddies that I wanted to spend my time with. By the time I knew it, it was already Christmas break and I felt like I just wasted away a whole semester of college.

 

Flash forward to the first semester of sophomore year. I made a big decision on moving into my fraternity house instead of living at the dorms again and let me tell you, the best decision I could have ever made. Immediately the “shy” kid was meeting new friends and taking on new experiences. As a kid from small town North Platte, Nebraska, three hours west of Lincoln, out in the middle of what most people consider nowhere, it was cool meeting guys from Omaha, Lincoln, guys from out of state and so on. I finally felt like I was making the most of my college experience. 

As the semester went on, I was truly happy and having some of the best moments of my life. I was going out more, making sure I was not missing out on anything and making the best use of my time, instead of just staying in my dorm room like the previous semester. For some of you, this could not necessarily sound like the most ideal way to spend your time, but for me it really helped me out. 

 

Now that I had a bunch of buddies in the fraternity and on campus, we went on a winter break trip to Nashville which was awesome. We saw an NFL game, Country Music Hall of Fame, and a lot more. I even celebrated New Years in Omaha which beat the hell out of where I am from.

Meeting all of these people and doing all of these things really helped me branch out, not only in my social life, but also in my professional life. My friends encouraged me to apply for different jobs regarding my major. My roommate at the time was from Omaha and he really helped me look into some possible jobs on LinkedIn and it was great meeting and living with someone with Omaha connections as I ended up getting my first job in college as a sportswriter for girls’ high school basketball in the Lincoln area which was a very valuable experience. 

 

If you are still sitting there, wondering “what is the point of this column and why am I reading this?’’ … let me tell you … it’s my message to you to BRANCH OUT! It is okay to be uncomfortable! Branching out, meeting new people, and doing new things was a huge testament to my sophomore year and if you were/are that shy freshman like I was I would say to start now! Now, I know this column may not be for everyone but if you even feel the slightest of “well, yeah that does kind of sound like me” then this is your sign to go try something you have never done, meet someone in your class, dorm, wherever! … Because you never know who that person, or what that thing could be, that could change your life forever.

Written by: Jake Swift

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