Emily Arnold '11 (Vanderbilt University)
Hello,Cougars! My name is Emmie Arnold. I was a member of the class of 2011 and I am now 5 semesters into college at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. It’s wild to think that it’s already been that long. I’m a child studies major (basically child psychology), a music minor (I play the piano!), and pre-nursing track. At this point, after many decisive and indecisive moments, countless times exploring possible career paths in person and on the internet, hundreds of hours of volunteer work, and loving, learning, and trying everything insight, I’m thinking that I want to get a master’s degree in social work. My hope is to work with kids and families who are dealing with the aftermath of traumatic events; for example, being diagnosed with a chronic illness that could significantly impact the child’s future hopes and dreams.Sometimes,days pass when I don’t think of high school at all, but on days that I have to write papers, study for multiple monstrous exams at once, or draw out seemingly interminable to-do lists, I think back to my time at Montgomery. I came way more prepared to Vanderbilt than a lot of my classmates, even many valedictorians, because I was pushed intensely but lovingly by each of my teachers. Were there moments I didn’t like what I was going through in high school? Many. There were many free periods spent with Mrs. Apel (before she became a Mrs. and a mom – wow!) talking about stress and coping with my perfectionistic need to achieve. But there are so many more moments that I’m immensely thankful for the hard work I put in, whether it was for Mr.Pendleton’s honors biology class, Ms. D’Amore’s AP English language class, or when I, along with two classmates under the tutelage of Mrs. Lieu, created a final study guide for all of US II to share. (I wonder if that’s still floating around!) At the beginning of my first semester of college, I sent out emails of gratitude to many of my old teachers. I still do every once in a while. You’ll realize once you’re off to your next big destination (whether it’s in New Brunswick, NJ or New Brunswick, Canada) just how much you’ve learned. No matter how insecure you are now, or how nervous the thought of college makes you feel, I can promise you that you’ll be surprised by and grateful for everything you packed into your brain during high school. You will know how to study, research and write a paper, and manage your own time. And the coolest part is that you’ll never stop improving on those skills. I’m 5 semesters in and still finding what works best for me. I’ve succeeded academically so far and am hoping to graduate with Latin honors. These learning experiences you’re having are amazing – say “thank you” to anyone who’s helped (or, sometimes, dragged…) you along the way.The top 5 regrets of the dying are as follows.
Find what gives you joy and don’t let go. Work hard, but don’t stress so much that learning itself becomes daunting and displeasing. Express yourself by living a life you love. Keep your authentic friends close to your heart. Work hard to find what will make your life and what you do your own sources of happiness. Are you living a life you’ll love or regret? I’ve learned through my experiences that I am creating a life I love, despite and especially because of my illnesses.XO,EmmieP.S. If you're in a relationship now that you're hoping will survive the distance in college, know that there is a chance of it working out. I'm still with my high school sweetheart. You will have to work hard at it, but if you love each other, it can succeed :)
- I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
- I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
- I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
- I wish that I had let myself be happier.