How This Course Has Changed My Life

I still can’t believe I’m sitting here writing my last blog for this class. This semester flew by and it’s mind-boggling that it is almost over. While trying to think of what to write about this week, I’ve looked over my old blogs and can’t believe how much I’ve grown throughout this semester. This class has provided me with so many opportunities and life

Our First Class, photo courtesy of Liisa Temple

lessons that it is unlike any other course I have ever taken. Not only has it taught me the importance of perseverance and consistency, but also it has pushed me out of my comfort zone and encouraged me to make a difference.

Not surprisingly, I’ve never been a big writer, and writing these blogs at the beginning always felt like a chore to me. As the course has progressed, however, topics have come to me a little more easily, and I’ve found myself writing based off of my feelings and not just around class discussions. The blogs have allowed me to take some time to myself to do some introspection, which has been a major factor in the amount I have grown these past few months.  The people we’ve met throughout the semester have made me very grateful for the things I have. Even though many of these people came from almost nothing, they managed to use their resources wisely and work hard to accomplish great things. This alone has made a huge impact on me and has caused me to appreciate everyday things in my life so much more. I find myself being more careful with everything I own, including notebooks and pencils, and not as wasteful as I was before. I even appreciate my own education and the freedom I have to go to my classes as a young woman. Before this course, I just saw college as an expectation and took it for granted, often times skipping classes and not putting a lot of effort into my schoolwork. Thanks to this class, I have realized how rare and special this opportunity is and have begun to make school more of a priority.

Another opportunity I’ve learned not to waste is all that USF has to offer. One of the beneficial aspects of this class was that we were all a melting pot of different personalities and backgrounds. Each of us had their own strengths and weaknesses to bring to the table, which allowed us to constantly learn from each other. Since we had each had a unique experience at USF and had become involved in different university areas, we forced each other to break out of our comfort zones and try something new. Through these experiences, we learned how to effectively plan events, how to advertise successfully and how to design a poster. We even learned about different offices that existed on campus that we didn’t know of before! This alone has helped make our USF experience an even better one and has allowed us each to grow into better “Bulls.”

Our Last Class, photo courtesy of Liisa Temple.

Ironically, one of the lessons I am most thankful for is learning the power of a thank-you. A thank-you goes a very long way, especially when working with charity projects. One of the most impactful moments throughout this course was being thanked by the airmen for all that we’ve done. It made you wonder how somebody, who did something as heroic as putting their life on the line for their country, could be thanking you, a college student. In the long scheme of things, our project seemed so minuscule and unimportant, but their thanks showed how every little piece of the puzzle was important. Even though our efforts may not prove effective for many years, they were very vital and effectual. The thanks we received from those at MacDill Air Force Base motivated my classmates and myself even more, making us realize how essential our efforts were to obtaining international peace. This past week, we began writing thank you notes to those who have greatly affected our success in this course, which yet again provided an opportunity for reflection. I was always taught that people come and go into your life for a reason, and so many people this semester have made such a positive impression on me that it is sad to see them go. Without them, our class wouldn’t have been able to collect 190 boxes of supplies (so far – more is still coming in), or raised over $4,000 in shipping funds. This amount is unbelievable. When I first began this course, I couldn’t begin to fathom how we would collect 120 boxes – the requirement for the semester (10 boxes per student). We have now surpassed that original goal, with even more boxes on the way!

On that note, there are a few people who I want to thank on here.

Sarai-You have made this class such a great experience, and you are such an amazing person to look up to. You have done so many amazing things in your college career and have accomplished so much. I only hope that some day I can be as successful as you have been. I never would have thought that getting lost on the way to the radio station would have turned us into such good friends. My interactions with you over this past semester have helped make me into a better student and have made me more engaged at USF. Thanks for everything you’ve done, and I hope we will stay in touch when you continue your efforts to serve others overseas next year!

Dan Stypa, Alexis J. Cole, Justin Osborne, and the Holly, Cypress, and Greek Village staffs- Thank you for how hard you’ve worked to collect supplies for our cause. The events you have invited us to have been amazing, and we have appreciated the opportunity to work with you. You are true examples of leadership and service at USF.

Dean Silverman-I’ve only had the opportunity to interact with you a few times until this course, but my experience in this class has made me want to do more with the Honors College. Thank you for allowing this project to be a class, for without you, none of this would have been possible. I know you probably took a gamble letting such an unusual course be provided, but know that it was the most effective course I have taken in my academic career. Thank you for your close work with our class!

Mr. Temple-Thank you for your leadership and motivation in this course. Your hard work and encouraging words have pushed our class to surpass our goal. Your story of how just one pen changed a life has led us to want to change thousands of lives. Without you, we couldn’t have accomplished everything we have.

Professor Temple-You have been such an inspiration to me and have been one of the best teachers I have had my 15 years of education. You did more than just teach us statistics of why something work, and you showed us how it did. Your efforts with our class have made us each into better students and have led me to want to do more. The values you instilled in us through your example has made each of us not only better students, but better people. The lessons you have taught me are lessons I will use everyday through the rest of my life, and that is something I am extremely thankful for. You’re a rarity in your teaching talent and I can only hope the next group of students you interact with gets as much from this class as I did. I will definitely be recommending it to anyone I know taking Major Works/Major Issues next year.

Although this feels like a goodbye, I know that it is not the end. Now that my eyes are opened to the positives of giving back, I know I will continue to work to help causes. I also plan on continuing to raise supplies through our student organization next semester. In so many ways my education has given back to me, now it’s time to give back to education.

About Kati Fratesi

My name is Kati Fratesi and I am a senior at the University of South Florida, majoring in Psychology and focusing on leadership studies. I am an active member of many campus organizations, including Delta Gamma Fraternity, Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement Leadfellows and the National Society for Leadership and Success.
This entry was posted in Change, Education, Mac Dill Air Force Base, Partner organizations, Uncategorized, University of South Florida, USF Honors College, USF Housing and Residential Education and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to How This Course Has Changed My Life

  1. Sarai Quiel says:

    Aw, Kati! This was such an awesome blog 🙂 I totally feel the same way!

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