As I head back to the University of Georgia for my junior year as a public relations major with a minor in fashion merchandising, I am excited for my new classes, having been recently admitted to the Grady School of Journalism. I finally get to get my hands dirty and take classes for my major and minor. This will be my second semester at UGA, and I am looking forward to living with my best friends, game days, exploring new parts of Athens, and trying new restaurants.
My college experience has not been the most traditional one you plan. I started my college career at Georgia College and State University for 1 1/2 years. At GCSU I did not know anyone; it was a fresh start for me, but also kind of nerve-racking. I decided to rush a sorority, Delta Zeta, as a way to meet new people and make new friends.
Since I didn’t know anyone, I could just be myself without anybody having any preconceived notions about who I was in high school (The Weber School). This was the best thing I could have ever done because I got out of my comfort zone and started introducing myself to random people.
Rush was oddly relaxing for me because I enjoy talking to people and having different conversations, which took me out of my head to ignore the anxiety I had about being in a new place.
The thing about the first year in college is that everyone is terrified to start over, whether they show it or not. Everyone is seeking new friendships and a chance to meet new people. It’s not easy to make friends, even if you join a sorority or fraternity, club or sports team. Putting myself out there helped me make friends because, if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have had any.
Being at GCSU was not what I was used to, but very refreshing for me because it was the first time I was out of the Jewish bubble. I had been in Jewish day schools for as long as I can remember, and I never had a friend that was not Jewish or of a different ethnicity. Most of my friends at GCSU are Christian, and I had two token Jewish friends. It was a completely different experience for me, and I loved it. At times it was difficult, though, that I couldn’t always relate to my non-Jewish friends, but they wanted to learn about Judaism and traditions I do with my family. They loved getting to know this part of me.
GCSU was great place for my first year-and-a-half of college, where I grew as a person, learned new things about myself and life, made great friends, and made a name for myself in a small place.
But it had always been a dream of mine to attend UGA, so I worked my tush off to make great grades to have the opportunity to transfer if I wanted. As much as I loved my time in Milledgeville, I felt ready for a larger school and craved more opportunities. I transferred to UGA this past January with 10 of my closest friends, which definitely helped make the process less scary. I was nervous to be at UGA, but everything I learned at GCSU helped me remember that I could take on this next chapter of my life with confidence. At UGA, I applied to the journalism school and got in, which was one of the greatest feelings because I proved to myself that I am capable of anything if I put the work in. I re-affiliated with my sorority at UGA and made many new friends there, along with making friends in my classes. I also went to many Shabbat dinners at Chabad, which was something I was missing at GCSU. It is the best of both worlds at UGA because I can be in the Jewish bubble again whenever I want. It is nice to have my Jewish, and my non- Jewish friends.
This summer, I have spent most of my days in the office of the Atlanta Jewish Times as an editorial intern, where I have gained an incredible experience under Kaylene Ladinsky’s wing. The staff at the Jewish Times is none like I have ever experienced before. Everyone is extremely kind, easy to work with, welcoming, and they took their time with me to help improve my writing skills. This internship taught me about responsibility and how to manage my time better, especially when working with a deadline. I learned how to write news articles and editorial pieces, interviewing local Atlantans, and taking photos at events around Atlanta.
This has been an amazing summer for me. I have gotten to spend time with my family and friends, go on some trips, practice yoga, and go on a few hikes. One of my favorite memories this summer is baking burekas with my grandmother at Congregation Or VeShalom, because I love cooking with my grandmother and I love burekas. I’m not going to lie, but I am going to really miss my family in Atlanta. It has been wonderful to see my Mom and Dad every day and to hang out with my older brother so much. I almost feel like I have empty nesters syndrome, but in reverse. I absolutely adore my family and really enjoy doing activities with them or just simply do nothing; they are the coolest. Although I am going to miss my family, hometown friends and my AJT coworkers, I am so excited for all of the new experiences that I am about to take on this year.