Summer Growth

Kelsey Henninger

Summer is a time for growth. It’s easy to reflect on the past semesters and notice the changes you have made or the changes you wish to make for the future.

After a busy summer full of classes and a few jobs, I realized growing up is inevitable and every year I gain more responsibility.

The summer after my senior year of high school, I set goals for myself to achieve in college. I figured my goals would give me some direction in my new atmosphere. These goals included sitting in the first three rows of every class and attending every class, to name a couple. I achieved many of my goals with little effort, but I felt my responsibility levels rising as my independence at college grew.

Last summer, I matured by changing my mentality and outlook on my life. I had always been a leader throughout my high school career, mostly in sports, but last summer I learned leaders should know when to follow, too. I was working at a fireworks store when my co-workers told me I was working too hard. My manager often made me do the same job twice, so I learned to wait for instructions instead of trying to work ahead.

I used to try to be the center of attention, but I learned to stand back and let situations unfold before overreacting and trying to predict the outcome. This new mindset helped me understand who I was as a person and who I wanted to become: someone who sees the big picture and can execute the minor details to achieve a well-polished finished product. I relaxed more my sophomore year while getting more involved with organizations to help build my résumé.

This summer was the first summer I lived away from home. I promised my mother that I would work a few jobs while taking classes if she let me stay in Kent instead of moving home. I enjoyed the fact that I wouldn’t have to deal with anyone from my hometown for the summer unless I chose to see them. But ironically, I ended up missing my hometown and some of the people.

Besides learning the importance of paying bills on time, I learned how to spot the people I can rely on. College brings an abundance of diverse people into your life. Some people you hit it off with and some you don’t. I’ve found the number of friends you have is not important, but the connection you build with certain friends matters.

Kent really empties out in the summer, and I only knew a handful of people who stayed this summer. I met about five new people weekly and I welcomed new relationships, but I enjoyed the comfort of my old friends most. It’s the simple things like coming home and watching TV with your roommates that establishes the connections of dependable friendships. Kent became my home this summer, and my friends became my family.

This summer I realized it’s important to build strong connections with the people who positively influence your life. I want to make less plans to go out and make more memories of goofing off with my roommates late at night. This year, my goal is to be a better friend and establish stronger connections with my friends.

Kelsey Henninger is a junior magazine journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Tell her how you grew this summer by contacting her at

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