College life challenges first-years in best way possible

By: Jennifer Lassen


So far, my time at the University has been nothing but a whirlwind, a good whirlwind nonetheless. Building On Foundations (BOF) and New Student Orientation were enjoyable, exciting, new and sleep-deprived blurs; the start of classes arrived within the blink of an eye; and before I knew it, I went home and finally was able to relax over Fall Break. Although we are two months into the school year and I’m still standing, there have been a number of changes, struggles, stressors and things I’ve had to get used to here, and it certainly hasn’t been a walk in the park.

For one, dealing with much more free time than in high school has been something I’ve considered challenging, yet rewarding at the same time. The first few weeks of classes I struggled to find ways to make good use of my free time, spending way too much time in my dorm room and not enough exploring the options of what else I could be doing on campus. When I decided to join clubs and organizations, that free time quickly got eaten up and my struggle became managing a schedule where I could be involved in activities and still have time for my studies and myself. This struggle, coupled by stress and a major lack of sleep for about a week or so, took some time to get used to and definitely was not easy. Now, I feel balanced and structured, and have fully adjusted to the busy life of a typical University student.

Although I’ve seemed to find my niche in our little “Bucknell bubble,” another continual struggle I’ve seemed to find is what the heck I’m supposed to eat each day in the Bostwick Marketplace. It was easy at first, since there were so many options to try, but now that I am finding out more about the food itself and the number of calories I’m actually eating with each meal, the only thing on my mind is how to avoid the “freshman 15.” It’s not that there are a lack of healthy options in the Bostwick Marketplace or that I am going hungry each day (that’s absolutely not possible with an unlimited meal plan). The trouble is maintaining a healthy diet while trying to avoid the fattening, better-tasting foods, while treating myself every once in a while. It is just different now since I’d eat the same thing for breakfast each day at home, pack myself a lunch, and then come home after school and eat whatever food my mom cooked for our family. Now with the responsibility of choosing healthy and fulfilling meals myself, I struggle sometimes to find a happy balance. Luckily, I know that with more practice and more meals to come, I will be able to master the art of dining in the Bostwick Marketplace in no time.

One final change I’d like to address is the difficulty of living in a dormitory. Neighbors next to my bedroom, a lofted bed, having to do my own wash, finding enough time to sleep with others around, avoiding the custodians when they clean the bathrooms, and wearing flip flops in the shower have proven to be only minor struggles. Despite these changes, living with others so far has been a rewarding experience since having my hallmates as both a support system and friends to hang out with have been something I’ve really enjoyed over the past two months.

Hopefully after reading this article, many first-years can relate to some of the things that I’ve been through so far. Despite all of these challenges of adjusting to college life, I’m having the time of my life here and am meeting so many interesting people that I couldn’t imagine going to school anywhere else. I hope that other first-years are feeling the same way as me and will continue to find happiness here at the University, especially over the course of these beautiful fall months now that flood season is over!

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