Opinion: Final Frontier

Anthony Holloway

The freshman class pours onto campus each year, flooding the crowded residence halls and readying themselves on their first journey in freedom. They are kids who were once at the top of the social food chain now humbled because they are once again on the bottom. I use “kids” intentionally, but not to belittle or undermine. We are kids because, while we thought we knew it all, it turns out we knew very little in the scheme of things when it came to what would happen during college. For kids coming from high schools with a total student body of 1,000 or fewer and where they sat in classes, which were all contained in one building, the shellshock of running around campus from class to class with a bunch of people who will more than likely be complete strangers is enough to terrify some of even the most confident people.

College isn’t easy if the plan is to get something from it, and it is definitely no Van Wilder experience. There is no better way of saying it, and there is no reason to sugar coat it. Most students will go from being in a class with 30 students in high school to a class that can have up to 300. There are also no longer any home cooked meals from mom, and sorry to say, but the freshman 15 is not a myth. The food in the dining halls can and will get old. There are only just so many chicken tenders one can eat. There will more than likely be at least a dozen nights throughout the first semester where staying up all night to study is the only option because studying throughout the week was procrastinated away. Art history one is definitely a class that shouldn’t be procrastinated, especially since after a while all the monuments and prehistoric tools start to blend.

Not matter how terrifying it sounds; college will be the best four years of life. That can be taken to the bank. Going to a place where you don’t know anyone is probably the best thing that can happen after being surrounded with the same people and same routine for 12 years. It is also pretty exciting knowing there are so many people on campus because there is an opportunity to meet someone new every day. Not only is it about meeting someone new, but they can and possibly will be friends you have for the rest of your life. There is no use worrying about old high school friends. If two people are really that great of friends, it will take more than going to college to keep them from staying in contact.

Sure the food might get old after a while, but it is nice to know that after a night of studying (or drinking) Rosie’s is open until 3 a.m. or so to serve breakfast and whatever else you may have hunger pangs for. Those worried about the freshman 15 need not worry because they should be fine as long as they don’t spend all of their meal plan money on cookies and pop. It is important to indulge those cravings every once in a while, though. Where else in the world is it OK to only have eaten Cheez-its and Oreos for an entire meal?

Late night studying is inevitable and no matter what, it will happen. That doesn’t mean being prepared every day for class and doing homework won’t help. If I had a dollar for every time I wished I would have come to class more prepared, I would have enough to pay for next semester’s tuition, and that is a lot. Speaking of tuition, it is not something to get worked up about. Whether someone applies for every scholarship available, gets financial aid or gets a job, it will get worked out. Again, it helps to plan early and know what options are out there. The one thing I learned early on was to try and stay away from unsubsidized loans as much as possible. Since debt is almost an assumed experience while being in college, it’s all right to let Uncle Sam pay for interest on your subsidized loans for now.

Freshman year marks the first year of freedom beyond the grip of parents for most students. Spending time with new friends, eating ridiculous amounts of fried food and partying to the break of dawn are a part of the college experience. So, it’s important to have fun, make mistakes, study hard and live life to fullest because before you know it, it is time to graduate and move on to the final frontier.

Contact Forum editor Anthony Holloway at [email protected].