So You’re Going To College
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Politics and Activism

So You’re Going To College

An open letter to incoming college freshmen.

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So You’re Going To College
Brostrick

So you’re going to college. That means you’ve heard this phrase a million times before: “These are going to be the best four years of your life!” Such words may conjure up images of keg stands at an endless number of parties, inspirational lectures from world-renowned professors, finding yourself on a semester abroad, or crazy adventures in a new city with new friends.

What you might not picture, however, are the hundreds of hours spent held up in the library. The weather outside perfect for those imagined adventures; the required classes that encroach on your semester reserved for study abroad; and the summer internships and demanding research positions piled on your already difficult course load, that are expected of university students.

There are an incredible number of opportunities to create unforgettable memories that you’ll look back on in 40 years for a laugh finding your college buds. There are also, however, an exorbitant amount of activities -- student government, internships, part-time jobs, volunteering and coursework expected of you by future employers.

As you enter campus in the first weeks of your first year, you will inevitably be overwhelmed by flyers from clubs, sports teams, and fraternities and sororities, among other groups on campus who want you to join. As you’re getting to know your roommate and floor mates, you’ll be bombarded with emails about applying to student government and lab positions.

You’ll whip out your slacks or pencil skirt, and hurry off to interviews (because even community service clubs require you to interview for a spot) or rush events before you’ve even started classes. Maybe you’re not sure if you really want to go into research, but you apply to the position anyway because everyone else did, and you don’t want to be left behind. Soon enough, each day of the week will be reserved for something: Monday for PRSAA, Tuesday for Student Government; Wednesday for Language Club, and on and on.

In the process of fulfilling the expectations of these future employers as well as your own expectations for “the best four years of your life," it’s easy to forget to take a moment and enjoy where you are, especially during the first year. Before getting too caught up in becoming an appealing candidate for the job market by the time of your graduation, freshman year is your chance to experience college free from too many responsibilities.

This first year is a strangely ambiguous time when your freedom increases by about a million, yet you can still attribute low grades to a period of adjustment and count on regular sustenance from the dining hall-keeping the responsibilities to a minimum.

So go, get involved in everything you’re interested in. Take on the challenging classes and fill up your schedule with the plentiful opportunities universities have to offer. Use your first year to try to juggle it all and in the process, discover which activities you’re willing to let fall. When will you have another chance to learn from groundbreaking philosophers and scientists, or work under politicians and officials as a student intern?

Don’t forget, though, to leave a little free time in your schedule to sit around talking with friends who will become lifelong, to explore the buildings and pathways of your new home, to take a spontaneous trip to a neighboring city, to reflect on where you are, and to recognize the beauty of being a freshman while you are one.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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