I’m going to be completely honest. Swarthmore can be an incredibly difficult environment to thrive in sometimes. Professors pile on readings and problem sets, and midterms and finals always seem to be right around the corner. Now, this isn’t to say that the all the challenge that comes with being a Swattie come from external factors; in fact most of the pressure is internal. I have found that most of my classmates take on many responsibilities across campus and even off-campus. I think that we sometimes put too much pressure on ourselves to fit as much as we possibly can into a 24-hour period, and consequently spread ourselves a little thin.
This might sound like an intimidating environment to step into, and I felt that when I was first touring Swarthmore and when I first arrived at the college. But I had a realization pretty quickly that made me feel a lot more at ease. Swarthmore is home to some of the most brilliant, passionate, and hardworking people that I have ever met, and most importantly, people who love the work that they are doing. That’s the secret to survival at Swat, caring for and loving the work that you are doing.
Before Swat, it doesn’t matter if you don’t know what you’re passionate about, or don’t know what you want to do with your life. Even once you get here, it still doesn’t matter if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing. What does matter is that you take classes that make you excited to learn, and that you keep an open mind. A semester can feel incredibly long and unfulfilling when you’re taking classes that don’t matter to you. Even with all of the work that I do on a daily basis, I genuinely enjoy most of what I’m doing. If I didn’t love doing my physics and math sets, or think that my linguistics readings were interesting, I don’t know how I would get through the semester. And this principle is different for everyone, some people love subjects that I’m not a fan of, and vice versa. What’s important is that you have your own niche that you care about learning about.
This quality, this passion for learning, continues to impress me about my peers at Swarthmore. I don’t get the impression that many people are only here to get in and out in four years. Everyone wants to get as much out of this experience as they can, in their classes, in their clubs, in their sports, in their activism. Everyone wants to leave this place a better person than they were when they got here, but they also want to leave Swarthmore a better place than it was when they arrived. I don’t think that I’m alone in the belief that Swat pushes me to realize my own potential every single day. I’m very lucky to go here.