After JMU

Its students deem JMU the “happiest place on earth” apart from Disney world. I don’t think JMU is the happiest place on earth; it is a college full of happy individuals. It’s not the windy climate of Harrisonburg or the blossoming quad in the springtime that makes the school what it is, it’s the ability of JMU’s students to find a balance between personal life – what makes us passionate and true to ourselves –and academics.

We are, for the most part, well articulated people, stuck in the in-between of childhood and adulthood. We plug ourselves into activities that match our interests and put everything we have into them, and, yes, we still manage to maintain a passing grade-point average without making ourselves miserable in the library.

I speak for a large population of girls when I say, JMU made us develop a backbone. The large proportion of girls at the university coupled with the normal aches and pains of our first “adult” relationships enabled us to discover what we’re made of at a rapid pace.

If I were to pick one descriptive word for myself after JMU, it would be prepared. That may seem like an awkward choice, but the reality is, a person may have a plan, and the next day it could be thrown out the window. If you don’t have rain boots/an umbrella on a rainy day, you may find yourself simply miserable, but if you are prepared for a storm, you will dance in the rain. So, the only thing that makes happy people succeed in life is being prepared—prepared to be flexible, to experience something new, to fall in love, to make a move, to do a job you never pictured yourself doing.

A quote I really like is “when you can’t control the winds, adjust the sails.” Change will happen, and your plans may take a positive spin that you never imagined. JMU was a different experience than I expected: I am graduating with a degree I did not plan on, I explored every career interest of mine under the sun and ended up with the one I started with, and I made fun of a handful of organizations that I didn’t understand completely, only to end up joining them or being friends with people in them.

My future is not concrete; I still make mistakes, and I am learning every day from them. However, I can promise myself that my personal journey at JMU brought me to a better place than I could have imagined – it strengthened my values of faith, love, and family. These are the three things that I want in my life despite where I live or what I do, and I am positive that they will be present should I continue to be able to adjust my sails.

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