I remember sitting in high school during my senior year and imagining the day that’d I’d have the opportunity to wake up and walk to my classes and live sort of like an adult while studying the things that I am interested in. Weeks ago—during my finals week— as I was stressing over the heaps of work that I have to do, I had a moment of realization that college life is here for me. It was a pleasant reminder that this is what I dreamed of for many, many years, and it helped me to see not the work that I have before me but what the work is doing for me—that is, making me better.
The influence of college on a person cannot be summed up by their classes, their friends, or their sleep schedule, but rather a combination of many of these factors. Friends are there in college to help you out when you feel stressed or get stuck on a problem that you can’t solve. In many ways, the people surrounding you teach you as much as your professors in class, and you give your fair share to help others when they’re stuck. Friends not only help with academic issues and stresses, but also with general issues and stresses. Home-sickness, physical sickness, emotional or mental sickness—your friends are the people upon whom you can lean on and thus remain standing.
To break from the lovey-dovey view of college that I anticipated, however, I have to say that there are some serious notable points that aren’t overwhelmingly positive. First of all, food isn’t entirely upgraded from high-school food. Sure, it’s not as bad as it was in high school, but it’s also all you have (for the most part). Also, having to set up a schedule is stressful as all hell. I remember setting up my schedule in high school and freaking out if there was a conflict or something horrible, but the stakes in college feel much higher. I recall the day course registration opened up on December 5th for freshman and the servers crashed and I watched my Chem 3 lab slip away from me slowly (10 seats filling up at about 1 seat per crash). My friends surrounded me and shared in my despair, each of them ending up worse off than I, as their intended schedules were absolutely butchered by lack of availability (mine ended up being fine, I just had to choose a less-ideal lab time [8:00AM]). One last point is that college classes get normal real quick, and the excitement surrounding them hollows out after a few months. Example: in the beginning of the year, everything related to science and math excited me; by now, I realize that, though I find calculus interesting and useful, it’s certainly not something I’d like to spend the rest of my life learning.
So far, college has been a good time. I’ve met new people who helped me grow and learn and I also took classes that taught me and grew my understanding of the world. Though I may be over-consuming the less-than-ideal food that we have here and though I may have a largely irregular sleep pattern—that is, no pattern at all—I have found it comfortable to be here at college.