Call it Hell, Call it Stress, Call it Torture… I Call it Home

The current senior class painting away the struggles of junior year. Source: ISP

I remember the night before sophomore move-in day. I was a wreck. My appetite was gone and it felt like every muscle in my body was having its own panic attack. Never before in my life was I so unsure about something, this afraid, this nervous. Nervous that I wouldn’t be able to handle living on my own, nervous that I wouldn’t make friends, and nervous that I would make the wrong choices.

I even remember stepping on campus and immediately hearing about the preexisting “gods” in our class, how other sophomores were already taking college-level courses and were on track to become more intelligent than Einstein and Newton combined. How in the world was I supposed to fit in with these kids?

Now, if you are feeling any of these emotions that I was feeling early on sophomore year: Stop. Take a breath, and let me borrow a moment of your time.

You are not alone. Let me say it again. You are not alone.  

At IMSA we are a unit. Sure, at the beginning of sophomore year, it’s hard to recognize that, but think about it. Everyone is coming from all over the state. Each person has their own story, their own struggles, and their own journeys they had to take to get to IMSA. We each have our own passions, cultures, and traditions. The only thing binding us all together is that we all decided to check yes on that yellow acceptance letter.

But, somehow we’re able to communicate. This is the only place where you’ll find the number 1 chess player in the state talking with the basketball captain about Post Malone’s new song, where an aspiring artist can play frisbee with a newspaper staff writer. I urge you to talk to others as well as listen to what they have to say. I guarantee you will learn something new every day simply by talking to other students, teachers, RCs, the Sodexo workers, anyone on campus.

Again, it takes time to recognize this. You won’t immediately feel that warm sense of home that I felt during early move-in junior year, but trust me you’ll get there. The best thing you can do whenever you start questioning your place at IMSA is to surround yourself with good friends and speak to them about your concerns. I’m certain that the friends I’ve made here are going to be my friends for life. It’s not like I didn’t have friends at my old school, it’s just that the bond between IMSA kids is something really special.

IMSA is no joke…but, the struggle unifies us. We really are all in this together and confide in each other. There’s a reason you were chosen to come here and join the fun, so don’t ever doubt your capabilities. If everyone could do it and succeed with flying colors, there would be no need for an application. Just embrace the experience.

Your IMSA journey will make you more in tune with yourself and better prepared for the real world. Yes, you’re going to hit some barriers along the way. At one point, you will likely be sitting in class not knowing whether you’re in a German or computer science class (I speak from experience). But, the key is to keep chugging along. Whenever you fall, your friends will be there to pick you back up. 

Just remember we are a family. And we won’t leave anyone behind.

About the Author

Faris Shaikh
Faris Shaikh is originally from Springfield but lives in 1504 A wing with his crusty yet beautiful friends. Faris is a Staff Writer and is constantly bullied by his "lovely" EICs. When he isn't hunched over in his high chair writing articles, he's probably balling (till he falls) playing baseball, ping pong, or dancing to hype music with his buddies.

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