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By: Clare Braski, MDS Class of 2016 // MDS Musings Blog 

I started college with a plan. As the fourth of five children to attend the University of Georgia, I thought I knew exactly what I was getting myself into. My plan was simple: join a sorority that would supply all of my best friends; continue dating my high-school boyfriend; frequent the downtown scene; be just as “popular” at my school of 30,000 as I was at my high school of 400; and, if there was time to spare, get involved with some type of Church ministry. As I, a 21-year-old third-year student, take the time to reflect on the plan that I made as an innocent, naïve 18-year-old incoming college freshman, I cannot help but laugh a little bit.

Freshman year began with sorority recruitment. The process was exhausting, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was asked back to every sorority that I liked, and received a bid from my favorite one. After an excited phone call with my mom, I hopped on a UGA bus that would take me to my new “home,” the place that would introduce me to all my best friends.

As Bid Day went on, however, the excitement I felt on the bus began to fade. I was uncomfortable and nothing felt right. Something inside me said, “This is not your home.” I was confused and brushed it off – after all, it was my first night as a sorority girl. Days passed and this thought would not leave my head, “Clare, this is not your home.” I became upset. I wanted it to be my home. I wanted it to be where I felt the most comfortable, but it was not. I was self-conscious, scared, and all of a sudden felt the least confident in myself I have ever felt. So, after multiple phone calls with my parents, I decided to listen to the voice inside my head and withdrew my membership from the sorority.

Despite the failure of the first part of my college plan, the second part seemed to be going well. I was dating a great guy from home that I had met three and a half years prior. We went to Mass together on Sundays, ate together at the dining halls, and gave each other a sense of familiarity and comfort in this new place. As the first few months of the semester flew by, we made friends and became involved with the Catholic Center and the Freshly Program through the Wesley Methodist Foundation. We were getting the hang of the whole college thing.

One Monday in October, we both attended the Freshly night about the evils of comparison. During the sermon, I felt as if the Pastor was talking directly to me. I realized I was unhappy, that I had fallen prey to comparison, and that I spent a majority of my time hoping I was deemed cool, fun, or interesting enough to hang out with my new friends. I also realized that the relationship I had with my boyfriend was leading me into comparison as well. It was not making me confident in who I was. It was making me second guess myself. After making all these realizations, I broke up with him later that night on the front steps of my dorm.

So there you have it – three months in and two major pillars of my college plan were swept out from under my feet.

What was I going to do?

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Mount de Sales Academy is a private Catholic school located in Macon, GA, which is sponsored and inspired by the Sisters of Mercy. Since 1876, MDS has served  a diverse college-preparatory community of learners—students and teachers alike—who are poised to discover, challenged to innovate, and motivated to serve.