Learning Through Adversity: Hard Times, Good People

Rosemarie Garland-4305I would be absolutely lying if I said college was the best four years of my life. It’s been great, obviously, but if the best years of my life should be free of conflict and difficulty, college was definitely a wake-up call. Recent events aside, here’s a quick summary of my time here at Emory: I met my seven best friends while living in the University’s most cockroach-infested building (#McTyeireNeverDies), I switched my major four times, I got an ill-timed concussion, I fell in love with school after becoming a BBA, I became president of the Student Programming Council, I laughed a lot, I cried a lot and then, most recently, I sat down in front of my laptop to write this reflection.

As someone who had never dealt much with adversity, I got a fairly big scoop of it during my four years here. This university and the people in it, whether they knew it or not, taught me how to assess my surroundings, work with my allies and beat the odds to succeed. Sure, it was hard. I developed a weird twitch in my hand. I got bullied. But I also met the people who have shaped my life the most.

Emory has taught me that there are very, very good people and very, very bad people. People who know the full story of a situation and people who do not even care to find it out. People whom you’ve never met before who will comfort you when you cry in the library. But also people who take careful measures to make you start crying.

College was not the best four years of my life. I don’t think the best four years of anyone’s life come in one consecutive block with a bow tied around them. But college was an incredibly formative experience. I walked through Emory’s stone gates a wimp and I’m walking out so much stronger and more confident. While my time at Emory has included hardships, I would not have found that confidence were it not for the people I’ve met here.

If you’re reading this, I’m asking you to reach out and thank the good people in your lives whenever you can. Stand up for them when they’re in trouble and help them when you can. If you are ever put in front of the bad people, ignore them. Or speak out against them. Better yet, prove them wrong. Pull off a concert in three days with 40 of your best friends. It’ll feel great.

Ria Sabnis is a BBA/consulting ISOM major in the Goizueta Business School from Pennington, N.J.