I am currently hurling down the highway in the back of my dad’s silver SUV, looking back on the past year of my life. I can’t quite put into words how I feel about my first year in college. Recently, I was asked if college was what I expected it to be, and I realized that I never really had any expectations before starting my first year. Overall it was an interesting journey, and I have grown so much in such a short time. But truly, college is just – well, different.
I am fortunate to have met countless genuine people, and I am lucky enough to have a few people I can now confidently call my best friends. We do everything together. We eat together, we study together, we stay up till 4am together. Each of us is always ready to hold each other up when life gets rough. I can go to them for anything, and I am so very grateful to have them. They have been such a significant part of my experience in college, and I feel so blessed to have them by my side to walk through life with me.
In addition to meeting new people, I was re-introduced to the biggest anchor in my life. My summer roommate was a fun-loving, energetic girl who freely expressed her passion for God. This enthusiasm was utterly contagious, and I began to tag along with her every time she went to church. Having grown up in a Christian household, I knew a lot about the faith, yet I never quite connected with any of the readings or teachings. Attending service with my roommate gave me a completely new look on the whole religion, and I have grown so close to the Lord as a result. Trusting in Him has helped me enormously throughout my time at college so far.
Although there were so many positive things that came from my transition to college, I’ve learned that this new life can be a bit challenging in many ways. For example, there is a ridiculous amount of social pressure to party. If you don’t go out to the bars or the clubs every weekend apparently you don’t have a social life. At least that’s how I saw it for a while. Plus, I felt like people from home expected me to do these things because that’s what “typical college kids” do. I used to constantly feel like I was disappointing someone; though I now know that those feelings were silly. Fortunately, the people I spend my time with have similar thoughts about the party scene. It’s just not our thing, and we know how to have fun without going out.
Another new challenge was class. College classes are a lot harder than high school classes. I did expect that, but it’s much different from what I imagined. Of course, the material is harder, but that’s not what got to me. It’s the amount of constant, in-depth studying that is needed, which high school definitely did not prepare me for. The coursework in college requires perpetual review and practice. My first semester went okay, but not as well as I had hoped. However, by my spring semester, I finally felt like I had a grasp on how to manage my work time and my rest time. I learned what it takes to succeed in college, and I am much more confident in my abilities to do well and have fun, simultaneously.
College is all about finding the right balance. I know this is tremendously cliché, but it’s true. The right amount of socializing, schoolwork, relaxing, Netflixing, and so on, is different for everyone. You just have to find that sweet spot where everything seems to work together. I am certainly not too ignorant to think that I’ve figured it all out. I know that as I continue through college and venture on into the real world, I will always be searching for and reestablishing that balance. As of now, I have no regrets for my first year. I’m a bit sad it’s already over, but I am constantly overjoyed when I reflect on the relationships I’ve made and the adventures I’ve had.