Freshman year isn’t too frightening

Jody Michael

The Stater has asked me to write a column about what incoming freshmen should expect at Kent State, so I will share my personal freshman experience from two years ago with you.

It’s funny, actually, because in the summer before I began college, I didn’t spend a single minute wondering what college would be like. I already knew quite a bit about Kent State after writing for the Stater that summer and having lived seven miles from campus my entire life. Destination Kent State wasn’t extremely important to me because I wasn’t going to be a resident student. Some of my high school classmates had taken post-secondary classes at Kent State, but I never asked anything about them.

I remember waking up the first day of classes and realizing I had no clue what to expect. It was the first time I would be in an educational environment much different from what I’d known since transitioning from elementary school to middle school (can we agree that high school wasn’t much different from middle school?).

Luckily, the first class I was entering was an Honors class of 17 calm, intelligent students and a very nice and intelligent professor. It had relieved me immensely to discover college classes aren’t so strange after all.

It would be inaccurate to say college is basically the same as high school, but the contrasts aren’t radical enough for you to get nervous — in many ways, they’re changes for the better. Hallways don’t turn into massive traffic jams between your classes. Most of your classes only meet two or three times a week instead of five consecutive days.

Sure, your classes will usually be more difficult and more important, but you have a lot more freedom with scheduling. Hundreds of electives are at your disposal. Many classes offer a choice of various times and instructors. You will be very glad exists; use it.

That said, I will warn you of a few things. Don’t get too comfortable with your favorite places to eat, because Dining Services quietly took away A&W, Quizno’s, a chicken place and a pizza place over the past two years and replaced them with things that aren’t as good.

Our president, Lester Lefton, is a decent person and makes the effort to be friendly around students, but behind the scenes he enjoys collecting enormous raises and bonuses, even in years the university increased students’ tuition costs. Apparently he doesn’t think that’s contradictory or counterproductive, or maybe he doesn’t care.

You will at least once buy a textbook you never actually use. Maintenance crews do a mediocre job shoveling the sidewalks during big snowstorms. Robberies and assaults do unfortunately occur on and around campus occasionally; Kent State has been the safest public campus in Ohio, but even hearing of just a few recent student deaths is a scary thought.

As with any new experience in your life, you will face new problems, but also new opportunities. You are probably spending a lot of money to be at Kent State — make the most of it. Allow me to wish you a warm welcome and the best of luck.

Jody Michael is a junior news major. Contact him at [email protected].