College: A new era begins, better than the last

Eleanor McCabe
Contributing Writer

The word “college” is often associated with a whirlwind of emotions. Throughout high school, college was an intangible concept looming in the distant future, associated with stress, anxiety and excitement. No matter how many friends or family members you asked about college, there was never a concrete answer of what to expect. However, now that the time has come it is clear why the answer could never have been black and white.

College is much more than the overwhelming amounts of homework, parties and new faces. It is the first chance for many students to experience the freedom to make their own decisions and structure their day just how they want it, whether it is skipping meals, adding in time to go to the gym or even taking a nap. Most importantly, it is the first chance for students to fully step out of the comfort of home and decide how they will contribute to society. With no parents to enforce curfews, set rules or monitor studying, first-years learn to take care of themselves and become self-sufficient.

At times, this freedom can be just as terrifying as it is liberating. I’m sure at some point every first-year has questioned his or her ability to succeed in this foreign environment. With all the choices left up to you and so many exciting opportunities around every corner, managing your time is definitely a struggle. This freedom also gives you the chance to define your morals and decide what you are or are not comfortable with. If you do not feel comfortable with the party scene, trust that there are other students out there who feel just like you do. Before college, I assumed you had to party to fit in, but at a school with over 3,500 students, you will find your niche no matter what your interests are.

Aside from the social aspect of college, many academic expectations have been challenged as well. College is basically the polar opposite of high school because the work you put in equals the benefit you get out. Often in high school classes, students are forced to come to class and hand in homework to pass. In college, everything is up to you in order to prepare you for the real world. Keeping up with the homework, readings and class discussions will not only benefit your GPA, but also your actual understanding of the material. Now that students have the opportunity to choose classes that they actually enjoy and suit their professions, the concepts covered will have an impact on the rest of their lives.

Now imagine how much more there is to learn in the next four years. All these realizations have occurred within the first two weeks of school, and there is much more to come. Like most students, I came to this University to receive a great education, live away from home and experience new things. Though it is early, I can already tell these goals will become a reality and our college experience will take us as far as we let it.

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