Digital Diaries Season 2 Episode 2: If I Could Turn Back Time…

Anita Li, Assistant Audio Editor

On Season 2, Episode 2 of Digital Diaries, Northwestern students talk about what advice they would give their past selves.

ANITA LI: Content warning: this podcast contains explicit language.


ANITA LI: From The Daily Northwestern, I’m Anita Li. This is Digital Diaries, a weekly podcast following the college experience and asking students a question about life at Northwestern. Welcome to the second episode of season two.

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ANITA LI: This week’s question is: if you could travel back in time to one year ago, what advice would you give your younger self?

ANITA LI: Weinberg junior Anjani Gusman says she would tell her past self to set better boundaries.

ANJANI GUSMAN: Only surround yourself with people who reciprocate your energy. When you first get to college, especially like in person, you might be disillusioned by the possibility of finding love. Bear that in mind.

ANITA LI: In other words:

ANJANI GUSMAN: Fuck situationships, don’t get into one.

ANITA LI: But Gusman says her advice applies to non-romantic relationships too.

ANJANI GUSMAN: I feel like as college students, sometimes we force ourselves to be in situations where we‘re probably not totally comfortable, just because we’re scared of not having friends or scared of being judged. Don’t let that happen to you.

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ANITA LI: Weinberg sophomore Ali Slayie learned to find happiness from within.

ALI SLAYIE: I came from a boarding school, so adjusting from the small environment where you see everyone every day was really hard because at Northwestern where you have to plan stuff, I felt like enjoying myself was the biggest thing that I’m teaching myself and I feel like I learned from freshman year.

ANITA LI: One of the biggest surprises for Slayie was how long it took to feel comfortable in a new environment.

ALI SLAYIE: When I came here, I felt like I would adjust by the end of fall quarter, but I didn’t adjust until like the end of spring quarter. That was the biggest shock for me, because I just felt like I adjusted but I just don’t like it here. But then I realized I like it here, it’s just I wasn’t adjusted well enough.

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ANITA LI: As for Communications sophomore Gabriella Burgos, she would tell her younger self to reach out for academic help.

GABRIELLA BURGOS: Go to office hours, seek out help from professors. Because I thought that it would be scary and that they wouldn’t help. But every time I’ve emailed the professor, I’ve gone out to office hours, they’ve been so kind. And it’s a little scary at first, but once you go you realize they’re there for you.

ANITA LI: Burgos learned this lesson last quarter when she was behind in her Italian class and attended her professor’s office hours.

GABRIELLA BURGOS: I started explaining something and I think I even started tearing up – I was emotional. And he said “It’s alright, we’re here to help you,” and then he started helping me do the work and explaining it to me like we were in class.

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ANITA LI: One year ago, Weinberg senior Dylan Saroza, had just dropped the pre-med route and was still deciding his post-grad career plans.

DYLAN SAROZA: I was pretty confused back then and I think that brought me a lot of stress, so I would tell myself that it’s gonna be alright, you’re gonna figure things out. You’re not gonna have the cleanest path, but things will work out for you.

ANITA LI: Even though Saroza is still deciding on his post-grad plans, he said that gaining more self-confidence has helped him find peace in the uncertainty.

DYLAN SAROZA: It took me a while to come along to the idea I had self-efficacy and I could actually achieve things. Once I realized I had more potential than I thought I did, that made me realize that no matter what, I’ve already grown a lot, and that I have the capabilities within me to implement changes that I can pursue, and that will lead me to have a happy life.


ANITA LI: From The Daily Northwestern, I’m Anita Li. Thanks for listening to another episode of Digital Diaries. This episode was reported and produced by me. The audio editor of The Daily Northwestern is Erica Schmitt, the digital managing editors are Joanne Haner and Olatunji Osho-Williams, and the editor in chief is Alex Perry. Make sure to subscribe to The Daily Northwestern’s podcasts on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or SoundCloud to hear more episodes like this.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @lifeisfab02

Digital Diaries Season 2 Episode 1: To change or not to change…majors?
Digital Diaries Episode 8: Grappling with Imposter Syndrome at Northwestern
Digital Diaries Episode 7: Life as a first-generation and/or low income student