What is freshman year like?

5 Things That Could Change Your Freshman Year

Even though change is daunting, changes that come your way freshman year will alter your life for the better!

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Going into my freshman year, I wasn't 100% sure of what my college experience would look like, especially since most people in my family haven't had traditional college experience. I was excited to embark on new adventures, yet scared of major life changes that could come my way. And while these changes seemed horrifying at the time, the changes that have been made in my life over the past nine months have made me more excited for the future than I ever was before.

The following are the five major changes that I have experienced (and you may also experience) over the course of freshman year.

1. Interactions with family.

While some students tend to distance themselves from their families during their transition into college, others finally find common ground with their family that could have never been discovered while living together. For me, being away at college has made my immediate family and I much closer. My mom and I talk more often, my dad and I have more to talk about, and my brother and I argue less.

Whichever side of the I-love-my-family-spectrum you end up leaning towards during freshman year, remember that both are valid and no one should shame you for your daily or bi-monthly phone calls with your mom.

2. Relationships with high school BFFs.

Sorry to spoil it for you, but you and your high school BFFs probably won't be getting together every two weeks. Unless you and your BFF are going to the same college in the fall, it tends to be really difficult to see them even once a semester. But trust me, this isn't the end of your friendship if you don't want it to be! My friends and I came up with the "First Monday Law" which states that the first Monday of every month is delegated for Skyping and Chinese takeout.

With today's technology, it's nearly impossible to lose touch with people who live far away. Don't feel like that means you have to stay in touch though! It's natural to lose connections with people over the course of time. So, don't force friendships that have naturally fizzled out.

3. How to spend free time.

Before heading into college, nearly all of my free time was spent watching Netflix. Friends, Parks and Rec, The Office, Disney Movies; the whole ordeal. Since my first day on campus, I honestly haven't watched much of my typical go-to shows. I've found a love for college sports - despite never watching a sport in my life - and go to as many volleyball, soccer, football, and basketball games as possible.

And while that seems like a drastic change, the most incredible change I've experienced has been my involvement with student initiatives. Becoming a member of the governing body in a Living and Learning Village has allowed me to engage peers in events, meet new people, and make tough decisions about the future of our community. Meanwhile, in high school, I was never involved in any kind of student government, nor did I want anything to do with it. Now, it's one of my most treasured weekly activities.

4. Core beliefs and values.

One of the most important aspects of college is engaging in conversation with people who are not of your likemind. This was the hardest thing for me to do as an incoming freshman and I still struggle with it today as I head into sophomore year. But sometimes doing it is necessary to gain an understanding of a topic before formulating a final opinion. Even if you're incredibly passionate about your side of the argument, hearing others' reasoning could often alter your perception on any topic - no matter how passionate you are.

5. Major

Yes, most people will tell you going into college that it's okay for your major to change. But I'm here to tell you that it truly is. I chose my college because it was one of the only schools to have a genetics major - the major I had been passionate about since the seventh grade when I completed my first Punnet square. But despite my love for genetics, I've discovered it's not the only aspect of biology I enjoy learning. I love development, cellular mechanisms, and even biochemistry. Therefore, I've changed my major to Cellular Biology and I couldn't be happier. No matter how drastic your major change, it's completely normal to feel as though your intended field of study may not be what you want to spend your life doing.

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I Am A College Student, And I Think Free Tuition Is Unfair To Everyone Who's Already Paid For It

Stop expecting others to pay for you.

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I attend Fordham University, a private university in the Bronx.

I commute to school because I can't afford to take out more loans than I already do.

Granted, I've received scholarships because of my grades, but they don't cover my whole tuition. I am nineteen years old and I have already amassed the debt of a 40-year-old. I work part-time and the money I make covers the bills I have to pay. I come from a middle-class family, but my dad can't afford to pay off my college loans.

I'm not complaining because I want my dad to pay my loans off for me; rather I am complaining because while my dad can't pay my loans off (which, believe me, he wants too), he's about to start paying off someone else's.

During the election, Bernie frequently advocated for free college.

Now, if he knew enough about economics he would know it simply isn't feasible. Luckily for him, he is seeing his plan enacted by Cuomo in NY. Cuomo has just announced that in NY, state public college will be free.

Before we go any further, it's important to understand what 'free' means.

Nothing is free; every single government program is paid for by the taxpayers. If you don't make enough to have to pay taxes, then something like this doesn't bother you. If you live off welfare and don't pay taxes, then something like this doesn't bother you. When someone offers someone something free, it's easy to take it, like it, and advocate for it, simply because you are not the one paying for it.

Cuomo's free college plan will cost $163,000,000 in the first year (Did that take your breath away too?). Now, in order to pay for this, NY state will increase their spending on higher education to cover these costs. Putting two and two together, if the state decides to raise their budget, they need money. If they need money they look to the taxpayers. The taxpayers are now forced to foot the bill for this program.

I think education is extremely important and useful.

However, my feelings on the importance of education does not mean that I think it should be free. Is college expensive? Yes -- but more so for private universities. Public universities like SUNY Cortland cost around $6,470 per year for in-state residents. That is still significantly less than one of my loans for one semester.

I've been told that maybe I shouldn't have picked a private university, but like I said, I believe education is important. I want to take advantage of the education this country offers, and so I am going to choose the best university I could, which is how I ended up at Fordham. I am not knocking public universities, they are fine institutions, they are just not for me.

My problems with this new legislation lie in the following: Nowhere are there any provisions that force the student receiving aid to have a part-time job.

I work part-time, my sister works part-time, and plenty of my friends work part-time. Working and going to school is stressful, but I do it because I need money. I need money to pay my loans off and buy my textbooks, among other things. The reason I need money is because my parents can't afford to pay off my loans and textbooks as well as both of my sisters'. There is absolutely no reason why every student who will be receiving aid is not forced to have a part-time job, whether it be working in the school library or waitressing.

We are setting up these young adults up for failure, allowing them to think someone else will always be there to foot their bills. It's ridiculous. What bothers me the most, though, is that my dad has to pay for this. Not only my dad, but plenty of senior citizens who don't even have kids, among everyone else.

The cost of living is only going up, yet paychecks rarely do the same. Further taxation is not a solution. The point of free college is to help young adults join the workforce and better our economy; however, people my parents' age are also needed to help better our economy. How are they supposed to do so when they can't spend their money because they are too busy paying taxes?

Free college is not free, the same way free healthcare isn't free.

There is only so much more the taxpayers can take. So to all the students about to get free college: get a part-time job, take personal responsibility, and take out a loan — just like the rest of us do. The world isn't going to coddle you much longer, so start acting like an adult.

Cover Image Credit: https://timedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/free-college-new-york-state.jpg?quality=85

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Writing Saved My Sanity

Write it all down when you can't talk to anyone.

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I love writing.

I have since elementary school, and I've dreamed of becoming a published author. I started off writing stupid plays in elementary school, then it grew it almost writing a full-blown novel in middle school. I have no idea where that thing went to. It was all notebook paper and bad writing. In high school, my writing was kinda pushed to the side so I could focus on school. When I entered college, I started writing small poems about my now ex-boyfriend.

I was scared to express myself to him sometimes, the intensity of my feelings for him scared me. So instead of telling him, I wrote them down. When I tried to share them with him, he hated it. He thought writing down feelings was weird and creepy. So I didn't share anything else with him. When we finally broke up for good, everything just poured out of me. What I couldn't express verbally, I wrote or typed out.

I always have ideas flowing through my head. They never cease and I wouldn't want them to. Writing gives me an escape, from stress, work, school, or fights. It gives me a place to vent and to be open with everything. This is a reason I love writing for Odyssey, not only has this place brought me amazing friends but revived my love for writing. I'm never without my notebook anymore, I'd get distracted in class by an idea and have to write I think then and there.

I love sharing my more personal writing with close friends, especially my poems as of late. I found that I have a voice for young women who find themselves in a toxic relationship much like mine was. I want to speak out and show them that you can grow from the bullshit. It may take some time, but you will be better.

Writing saved my sanity. It allows me to express myself without having to use my actual voice. Anyone who knows me, knows I hate public speaking. I tend to psych myself out leading up to it. My current projects include writing for Odyssey every week, I'm in the process of trying to continue my short stories, and I'm excited to announce that I'm currently working on my very first poetry book!

Writing has given me so much, and I'm so looking forward to making a career out of something I love so much.

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