Karli Vass

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Karli Vass

"Flailing at 40,000 Feet"

Submitted on Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The first day of a new journey is always two things: incredibly exciting and incredibly scary. With new adventures come new challenges. After I was granted the privilege to be in this program I was counting down the days until it started. Everyone was telling me how this is a determining year for the rest of your life, even more than all of high school combined. The fear of disappointing everyone close to me is balanced with my ambition to make them all proud. This internal battle weighed heavy on the first day, like I'm sure it will the whole year.

The first thing I have learned through the Dunham program is that I am in control of how this year goes. No bad teacher or amount of homework can take me down this year. On the flip side, no great teacher and "easy" class will pull me through to the top either; that's my responsibility as well. It’s up to me to come to class early and spend some extra time after school every day in the library.

The moment I walked into the classroom I knew this was going to be nothing like high school. The teachers weren’t going to hold your hand through every assignment, they were going to push you into the pool (there was no dipping your toes in first). That is what college is, being pushed into the pool until one day you’ll jump on your own. The first day of classes was reassuring. I started off the week with some kind and knowledgeable teachers and I knew that would be incredibly helpful to my success. I remember comparing the day to a flight on an airplane. This is the takeoff, the launch into the rest of this year and really into the rest of our lives. Next thing we know we'll be 40,000 feet in the air flailing around because we have two midterms, three projects and an essay due next week. We just have to try to remember to take a moment to look around: it'll really be beautiful up there and so many will wish they could be where we are. After almost 12 months of flailing and flying, we’ll prepare for landing and getting our associate’s degree, ending this leg of the journey but starting the next.