College Isn't The Wake Up Call Everyone Said It Would Be

College Isn't The Wake Up Call Everyone Said It Would Be

My expectations were completely different than the reality I found on campus.

I know that from reading the title of this article, many of you, particularly those of you reading this who are currently in college, must think that I am completely out of my mind. Most of us head to our freshman year of college expecting it to be a complete change from everything we have ever known before and in most cases, it is. I am not quite sure what precisely it was that I was expecting when I packed my bags and headed off to Hamilton. I was just convinced that everything would be different, and as somebody who is not a big fan of sudden change, I was less than enthused. Between trading in my comfortable bedroom to share a pint-sized shoe box suite with four other girls, having to trek miles across campus to get a meal that is mediocre at best, and having to abandon my beloved car due to no-freshman-allowed parking policies, leaving me stranded on our desolate campus, it all pretty much sounded like my own personal nightmare or at the very least, a big wake up call.

After surviving my first three weeks on campus, I can confidently say that it has not been a wake up call at all. In fact, not much has changed for me. Living in a dorm, which was perhaps my biggest pet peeve with the so-called "college lifestyle", has proven to be fairly easy. Of course there will always be that one imbecile who lives below me that blasts electronic dance music consistently during the middle of the day, prohibiting me from getting my mid-afternoon nap (Yeah, I'm talking to you room 203) and the fact that sharing a bathroom with five girls is less than ideal, but if those are the hardest challenges I will face living on campus, then I think I will manage. I wish I would have studied the layout of campus before moving in, because I would have realized that there is a dining hall within a 50-foot distance from my residence hall; I would have saved my food-loving self a lot of pre-college anxiety. As for not being able to have my car on campus- it isn't ideal, but it isn't terrible. Because I live only 40 minutes away from campus, it is fairly easy for me to get off campus on the weekends to go home, shop, visit with friends and family and do just about whatever I want. I have been surprised to find that I have significantly less assigned work in college than I did in high school, which a lot of people find impossible when I tell them. While I took 9 courses in my senior year of high school, Hamilton only allows students to take 4 at a time, which means I have a lot more spare time on my hands. However, the work that I have had to do in college is much more difficult than anything I have had to do previously and the assignments often require a lot more focus and introspective thinking in comparison to a majority of my high school work which was often nothing more than glorified busy work.

After experiencing the differences between expectation and reality during the beginning of my first year of college, I have just a few short words of advice, not only to those who will be entering college next year, but to everyone in all stages of life. Do not let your fears deter you from fully immersing yourself into everything you do. You will find that when you don't let your negative expectations consume your perspective, you are far more likely to be faced with a positive reality. It may be a long road that leads you to a new destination, but once you get there, you won't want to look back.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle McConnell

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.


Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.

I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.

I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.

As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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