Freshman Year Uncertainty

Freshman Year Uncertainty

How I am dealing with the adjustment to college.
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In a recent nostalgia-filled email to my high school music teacher, I outlined my recent feelings regarding my first few weeks of college in a sentence. I said, “I miss Mount and the certainty I had going to school every day, whereas here it is constant uncertainty.”

I graduated in June from a Catholic, independent, private school in New Jersey populated by 370 high school girls. I am “one of those”, as many people I have met on Villanova University’s campus have stereotyped me. Four years in an all-girls school had me accustomed to certain things: my uniform, the layout of campus, what to do in my free time, my favorite professors, and most obviously, my friends.

So, as I start all over again, I don’t even know where to begin. I cannot remember how I got to where I was in high school. I only see the drastic contrast between senior year and now. I knew where I stood with practically everyone in the school. I knew the best angle for an Instagram-worthy bell tower picture. I knew what to expect from my teachers, almost all of whom I had been taught by before. I knew which songs I would likely sing during our first school liturgy in September, and, most importantly, I knew the Alma Mater by heart.

I had a lot of certainty. Of course I acquired that over the span of my four years, and not in the first two weeks. But the uncertainty of being in a brand new space with an undergraduate population that’s more than 15 times the population of my high school is slightly overwhelming.

There’s the uncertainty of landscape: I don’t feel lost, but I am definitely more disoriented than 75% of the people here. I’ve been up and down the wrong stairwells looking for meeting rooms and my Latin class. I don’t know where the best place for me to study is. I haven’t quite adjusted myself to the constant changing flow of people around me and I still haven’t mapped out the quickest way to get from class to class.

There’s the uncertainty of people. I can text friends from home and say, “Hey, what’s up? Where are you?” or “What’s going on?” and get a normal response. No one thinks I’m being overbearing or clingy or aggressive. But can I do that with brand new friends? And even more, can I even put the label of “friend” on someone yet? To me there are so many unanswered questions like this. I don’t know where I stand in people’s lives this early on, which is drastically different than knowing my exact place with everyone around me just last month.

There’s the uncertainty of future. This is something I figure will never go away. How do I progress from here? Where am I going? What am I going to be like looking ahead? I know where I am headed in an academic sense, but I have no direction when it comes to things that could change at any point in time. I don’t know what I can commit my time to, and what is going to be too overwhelming. I have yet to figure out a routine for this semester, and it’s likely that as soon as I figure that out, a new semester will be beginning and I will head straight back to square one.

And finally, I find myself being uncertain of my current situation, as well. I don’t know when or where to draw the line between “Everyone feels like this at the beginning of college” and “I’ve made the wrong decision and I am very uncomfortable.”

I am learning, I guess.

I can’t imagine being a freshman and not feeling this uncertainty; this weighing down of feeling out of place. I think the best advice that I can give myself is to power through until I find a place where I feel at home.

Cover Image Credit: Original image, Annie Condodina

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18 things all college kids think during their first week home of summer break

Because it's so nice to be home, I think?

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1. Ahhh, it's so nice to be home

Buckingham Palace ain't got nothing on this place

2. OMG my pups!! I missed you doggos so much

Just accept my love. Pls. Love me back, I've been gone for 8 months. I'm begging.

3. Wow this queen bed is so big

*cue sleeping in a starfish position*

4. Finally a bedroom to myself

Headphones? I don't know her.

5. But wait, it's kinda scary sleeping in a dark room alone again

"Hello? Are there any ghosts in here?"

6. Sooooooo, no more meal plan?

Are you sure the local Chick-Fil-A doesn't accept meal swipes?

7. Who am I supposed to annoy at 2am if my friends don't live down the hall anymore?

2:30 AM: "Mom? Dad? Wanna go get french fries with me? Maybe watch a movie?"

*Snoring*

"Okay maybe tomorrow...Sorry for bothering you. Okay good talk!"

8. "Mom you're going to do my laundry now, right?"

I mean it's kinda your job isn't it?

No? Okay yes ma'am I will do my own laundry no problemo, aye aye captain!

9. Me and my friends are going to spend every day together

*Me talking to myself through the camera on Snapchat*:

"So we're approaching day four with zero human interaction. Pretty good work, but we could do better!"

10. Yes, final grades are in! Can't wait to see what I got this semester!

*Slowly closes computer screen*

11. Do I really have to ask my parents to leave the house?

*Doesn't Ask*:

Mom: "HOW DARE YOU LEAVE THIS HOUSE WITHOUT OUR PERMISSION! YOU LIVE UNDER OUR ROOF AND WILL ABIDE BY OUR RULES."

*Asks*:

Mom: "Oh honey you're an adult now, you don't have to ask! Come and go as you please!"

12. Chores? Yea no thank you.

They've been doing them without me for months. They're all set.

13. Wait, so forreal though.. do restaurants in town take my meal plan?

Bank Account: $5.93

*Whispers to worker* "I won't tell if you don't. Just swipe my school ID, see if it works."

14. Will my Juul set off the fire alarm in my bedroom?

Probably.

*Rips Juul*

15. I kinda underestimated how weird it would be to hang out with people from my high school again.

"Oh no you haven't changed a bit Janice! Your baby is so cute lol."

*Awkwardly laughs*

16. Why do my old friends have new friends?

I don't like this, not one bit.

17. Can they tell that I'm not really listening to their stories about school?

"Yeah haha Delta Sigma Mu sounds sooooo dope Chad, that's ~wild~ that you had late nights three times a week lol!"

"Oh you snuck into the football stadium when the gates were unlocked?? That's crazy, you're crazy, school sounds... crazy!"

18. I'm bored. How long until I can go back to school?

Is it too late for a summer intersession?

Cover Image Credit:

upload.wikimedia.org

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Graduation Marks The End Of A Major Season

It’s hard and sad to say goodbye but we can find joy in the future season we find ourselves in.
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Graduating from college is amazing. After years working up to this moment, everything is all done. Even though I was very ready to be finished, I have found myself sad that this season of life has come to an end.

Not that I desire more assignments, I am sad to see people I have grown close to leave. I now have friends that are across the globe that I may never see in person again. It was after graduation festivities that I found myself hit by this reality.

When my family left after their long weekend trip for graduation I was reminded how difficult it is to say goodbye. This just reinforced what I had come to recognize about graduation and how difficult saying goodbye can be. I will end up back in school but this will never be the same.

I had one professor that always talked about how we in our sadness, must remember all the wonderful things that have happened in our lives and remember that we must move forward into a new season of life.

Graduation is a huge goodbye. Goodbye to the ones we love, as we spread out to the rest of the world. It is also the end of a beautifully written story. And though I am very glad that I am done, I find myself wishing for just a little more time.

I suppose this is true for all of life. We find ourselves wishing for just a little more time. However, as we recognize the end of a beautiful season we can look forward to the future. While there will be many people I shall miss dearly, I am able to wish them the best in their endeavors and remember that we were the best of friends.

As I look to the future I see many new budding relationships with people and anticipate many wonderful life changes. Through all of college I have learned many life lessons but the lesson of change has been locked in. Changing seasons are difficult for all people; we are saying goodbye to what we have come to love.

Thinking about the future is what really helped me to remember that changing seasons are good, yet challenging. This summer I will be getting married to a wonderful woman I met while at college. This reminded me that not only will my life be changed, it will forever be changing as I embark on a new season of life with someone else.

One thing that I believe to be important is recognizing that while seasons of life change we can find joy as we keep moving forward. If we can learn to recognize the good times behind us and the good times that lay ahead, we can be hopeful in the new season we are beginning to experience.

Cover Image Credit: Samuel Ryan King

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