Owning My Freshman Year: The Girl Scout Way

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“They’re the best four years of your life…if you really make the most of them!”

As the days before college move-in began approaching, I’m convinced I’d be a millionaire if I had a dollar for the number of times I was told this. The best four years—well, if that wasn’t altogether exciting, freeing, but also extremely stress-inducing—this thought did not stop recurring in my mind as our car got closer and closer to my new home, our Nation’s Capital.

Then came the first week: tons of new people, recruitments for over four hundred student organizations, opportunities to explore D.C., and if that’s not overwhelming enough, my very first experience living in the same room with three other people who I had barely known.

When decorating my new room, I came across a photo from the Girl Scouts of Greater New York Future Woman of Distinction Award and made a key realization: leaving Staten Island, my comfort zone, and being greeted by a whole new world of opportunities filled with so many unknowns, I decided to use what I did know, including that from my years in Girl Scouts, and see how it went from there.

In addition to the expected social and emotional adjustments I went through, I also had to utilize my skills to adjust to the academic setting as a woman in STEM. While George Washington University is working tirelessly at making new opportunities for women in STEM and embracing diversity across all schools, people still have many stereotypes and it became clear that many were firm in their belief that engineering should remain a male dominated field. When working in teams, some of my male peers were so quick to say, “That seems wrong; let me check with one of my friends…”

After a while, it gets frustrating to be double-checked, but Girl Scouts taught me the best way to handle this type of situation is to channel that frustration into empowerment and work even harder to pave the way for fellow women and other underrepresented populations in STEM.

The hardest part for me was letting go and accepting that it is okay for many things in life to be temporary. As I learned from one of the many Scout Songs, “Make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver and the other is gold.” I watched my best friends from home make new friends while I myself began to do the same, and this guiding principle helped me to realize expanding new relationships didn’t necessarily mean I had to let others go. On the same note, Girl Scouts also taught me how each person in my life is there for a purpose, and to respect them as such.

Therefore, when it came time to accept some of the people I loved spending time with in high school were to remain just that, it was good. It is so healthy and personally uplifting to be grateful for memories as they happen, and the communication and networking skills I’ve learned will help guide the way in formulating new relationships.

Ultimately, I was very curious as to what came after the journeys and patches for me, but now I know those were all tools for me to design my own journey, with a universal love and respect for others at the forefront of my mind.

Category: Girls, Uncategorized

3 Comments to “Owning My Freshman Year: The Girl Scout Way”

  1. Giavanna,
    You are a beautiful person inside and out. I cannot say enough good things about you so I will say I love you and proud to say you are my niece.

  2. Always was so proud to know you…your a exceptional role model to all young adults. God bless you Giovanna!!

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