Our guest blogger this month is Maria Marballi, Ohio State freshman and former LEAP student.

One year ago, I was asking myself what I was going to do for the rest of my life. I had to pick a college, and in order to pick a college; I had to select an area of study of which to narrow down the selection of vastly distinctive universities that lay in front of me: all with different positives and negatives, strengths and weaknesses. This meant a few things: anxiety, peer pressure, and angst.

Senior year was a collaboration of learning how to balance AP classes with sports, club meetings with deadlines, and volunteering with a social life, with hardly a minute left to spare. But most importantly, I learned to love it. High school was a competition. It was about who can do the most in the least amount of time. Who has the highest GPA and the most extra-curricular involvement? The pressure was thrilling, motivating, and refining… until it turned into real life, until I bombed the SAT, didn’t have a clue where I wanted to go to college, or an idea of a major. I knew a few things: I wouldn’t have a career in mathematics, and I wanted to work with people. I was walking amongst future engineers, journalists, doctors, and lawyers. They all had plans; and I had a stack of possibilities. I wish I had known then that that was okay.

Picking the right college feels a lot like you’re molding the rest of your life with one decision, especially when you’re surrounded by seemingly hundreds of your classmates who have it all figured out. One year ago, I felt as though I was in over my head. Today, I look back and laugh, wishing that I knew what I know now: you don’t have to know everything at 18. Having a plan is great, but for the rest of us, we’ll figure it out and have a blast doing it. I am now a freshman at The Ohio State University in my second quarter, and loving every minute of it. During the first few months, I filed through different potential majors: psychology, communications, political science, and now, speech and hearing. I’d like to think that after taking a handful of classes, conversing with professors, meeting those who are experienced in a wide selection of fields, and learning more than I imagined I ever would in just a few months: that now I have a plan. College teaches you a lot about yourself. It took some time, but I am starting to see my future piece together, and it didn’t have to happen during my last two years of high school.

As I continue living on Ohio State’s campus, I meet people that will do tremendous things and accomplish greatness, and some that probably won’t. I would venture to say that the university doesn’t determine your future: you do. You have the ability to work as hard as you want, to study as much as you can, and to seek out the possibilities that will take you closer to your goals. If you want to succeed, you will do so wherever you go. So take a deep breath, don’t let stress replace the excitement, and allow yourself the opportunity to figure it all out in time.