One of the best experiences in my life was attending college. While I don’t feel like I was as successful with my college experience when it comes to academics, I had a great time meeting people and improving myself as a person. I know college can be hard for a lot of people, but fortunately that was not the case for me.
I started off college as a shy eighteen-year-old who had suffered her way through high school and desperately wanted to change my outlook on life. Although I was anxious about being off on my own surrounded by new people, I was excited as well. In college, I could be someone else. Or, more importantly, I could begin to figure out who I am as a person and be comfortable with that.
I fell in love with a college a few hours away from my home. Everyone seemed so welcoming and friendly when I toured the place (plus we received free snacks and shirts), so I couldn’t wait to live there myself. During orientation, we were able to sign up for organizations and clubs we were interested in (something I neglected to do throughout high school), and I was optimistic. My college did a lot for new students…they had volunteers move in all of the freshman, my dorm had a learning community where three of my first semester classes were with the same people in a classroom downstairs, etc. I felt like all of these opportunities allowed me adjust to the college lifestyle.
I had a random roommate for my freshman year, and although we had our differences, we generally got along. We even made a few of the same friends who lived in our building, so while we weren’t the best of friends, we hung out with each other a few times. Aside from that, we had different interests and went our separate ways.
The aspect that made college wonderful for me was the organizations/clubs. I signed up for quite a few when I first came to college (creative writing, ultimate frisbee, campus news, film, environmental, etc), but the only one I stuck with all four years was quidditch. It was basically a combination of sports and geekiness, and it was perfect for me! We practiced a few times every week, traveled to tournaments, and hung out outside of the club. These were the people I went through college with, and I am so glad that I stumbled across this community! Of course, it was nerve-racking to show up to the first meetings and practices, but I’m glad I overcame my anxiousness and stuck with it.
I honestly wasn’t used to having people outside of my family remembering my birthday, but my freshman year I essentially had three celebrations (aside from my family). One of my friends who had the same birthday went out to dinner with me, and then I went over to a quidditch movie night because they told me I HAD to go. It turns out four guys on my team actually baked me an awesome quidditch-themed cake (although they apparently struggled a little bit in the baking process). Then I returned to my apartment to celebrate with the friends I had at the dorm. This was one of the moments where I realized that I loved college.
In order to provide some income for myself (college is expensive), I also had a couple of part time jobs throughout college. My sophomore year I worked at Taco Bell, but since they wanted me to work more hours than I wanted to give, I started working for one of my campus’ dining location. They were closed on breaks and worked well with my schedule, so it was a much better fit for my student life! I also found that it was easier for me to have a work-free freshman year so I could get situated into college, although some workplaces can also be a great way for you to meet people.
All in all, college was a great place for me. Sure, I had my low moments and struggled on occasion, but whenever I reflect back on it, all of my pleasant memories outweigh the bad. I had to step out of my comfort zone and force myself to do things that intimidated me, but it worked out in the end. I know not everyone gets to have such a smooth experience as I do, but hey, even if it’s not in college, there has to be some type of wonderful experience waiting for everyone. You just have to find it.
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If you went to college, did you have a positive or negative experience?