This year, Florida State University's incoming class consisted of 6,500 students, making their overall student population 42,000 students for the 2018-2019 academic year. Coming from an all-girls Catholic private school with a graduating class of 117, I knew that transitioning to FSU would be a major change in my environment and comfort zone that I had become accustomed to.
Attending an all girls catholic school involved uniforms, messy buns, praying before each class, strict policies, and knowing each person who attended my school. Deciding to go to FSU was ultimately deciding to step out of the protected comfort bubble I had lived in for years. The week I moved into my dormitory, I realized that everyone around me was trying to find their place and the comforting aura of relation was the first step towards adapting to a whole new lifestyle. During the first couple of weeks, I began to build a group of friends that made FSU feel smaller and homier than just a crowd of strangers. I realized that at FSU, there were no cliques that directly categorized groups of friends, no popularity meters, and not as much judgment for those who strayed from normal paths. At Florida State I was able to find my own unique friend group that grew bigger each time someone met a new friend in class, at the library, or just around campus. The possibilities to create my own life were endless at FSU due to the diversity of the students and the freedom I had to explore and build my identity.
My first day of class, I walked to Bellamy with knots in my stomach because I did not know what to expect for my first day of college classes. I was met with an array of classes that were all very different from one another. I had a 300 student lecture where my professor never individually addressed the students and a 40 student class where my professor got to know each student through discussions every class. The biggest difference I experienced was the unfiltered aura of the classrooms at FSU; students and professors said anything they wanted to say and did whatever they wanted to do. I slowly came to the realization that in college, everyone is free to have their own opinions and voice them in any way they desired because college is not an institution that has set morals and principles that must be followed.
Transitioning to a large public college after spending many years at a private Catholic school was a difficult experience but I am forever changed and grateful that I took the leap to attend FSU. The education, environment, and opportunities at FSU are endless and they are in my own hands. There are no teachers and counselors pushing me to do well or go to class which has transformed me into an adult solely responsible for my future and that is a trait that cannot be taken away.
My high school experience molded me with an excellent education that allowed for FSU to open my mind through opportunities and knowledge in order to understand and publicly live out who I am, what I believe in, and is giving me the tools to create my future independently.