Public university. Selective school. Great reputation. This was my dream school–we’ll call it University A. I only applied to a couple schools because I knew that was where I wanted to go. Everything seemed great, but I didn’t immediately feel like I belonged. They say that when you visit a campus, you can tell if you “fit in” there or not. I didn’t really feel that, but that was typical. I didn’t feel that way about a lot of places.
I began classes there one autumn. The campus was beautiful, and the people seemed friendly. There was a decent variety of classes. It was a place where people actually held the door open for you.
The thing about being a freshman is that a lot of campuses require you to live on campus, which is actually great. College students don’t always have cars, and dorm life means little transportation to classes. Students can focus on academics, and depending on the school, meal plans may be included in the tuition/room and board fees. Some people love dorm life, some people hate it and yearn for their own apartment, and some are stuck somewhere in between all of that.
Dorm life can be hard. Being paired with a random roommate is intimidating. Sometimes, it feels like there’s a lack of privacy living so close to other people. Sharing a bathroom or, worse, using a community bathroom, can be awkward.
I actually loved dorm life. The food was kind of unlimited. I had a bathroom that I shared with three other girls (and not a whole group). If I wanted to be around people or cook something, all I had to do was walk down the hall. But it was hard. I was immature and struggling with OCD and depression. I probably irritated my roommate and suitemates. Making and keeping friends wasn’t easy for me, being the socially awkward person I am.
That first year had its ups and downs. Four As and one B the first semester and a mixture of grades the second. Public speaking was probably the worst class I took. I was surrounded by freshmen; we were new to this college thing. They seemed…I don’t know. Some people at that school seemed to have the attitude of “homework is a burden, and I like to fly by the seat of my pants. I’m smart enough to do that,” and it wasn’t necessarily those traits that bothered me. It was more like a lack of respect for education, instructors, and themselves even though they were attending a school with an excellent reputation. What do you learn with that attitude?
There are two things I have to add to that. For one, I am that person. I don’t necessarily think I’m intelligent enough to leave everything to the last minute, but I am a procrastinator. I do prefer to be organized, though; writing in a planner, for example, is something that simply must be done. Secondly, there were plenty of hardworking people at that school. My best friend studied like crazy. There were others that really seemed to care about learning and, of course, doing well in their classes!
My other classes were interesting, to say the least. The most fun class was Greek. The instructor was fantastic, and the class was a nice size; we were a small group, and it was nice to return the second semester to familiar faces.
I spent two semesters at that school. I learned a lot, met really neat people, and made some great friends.
Eventually, I left University A and went back to where I belonged. Community college was my next academic destination.