Those of us who are college veterans will never forget our freshman year at college. Some of us may like to forget our freshman year, but in general it is a time filled with anticipation, some anxiety, and wonderful discoveries.
College is a lot different than high school. You may decide to commute from your home to a local campus. Your freshman experience will definitely make an impression on you. Without doubt, though, the most dramatic freshman year is for those living away from home. What can you expect as you head off into the wonderful world of higher education?
The first thing you’ll notice is the workload. It will be heavier and more intense than you ever experienced before. The major challenges of college work are the large volume of reading, the short deadlines, and the writing, writing, writing. A related effect that can be brought on by the workload is doubt, frustration, and possibly loneliness. You’ll be away from the comforts and friendships your home provided for you over the previous years.
On some of those long, seemingly endless nights of studying and writing, it will be only natural for you to long for the good old days. Hang in there. These down periods will pass. Whatever you do, don’t make major decisions about your major, your courses, or even your roommate during one of these blue periods. Things always look better in the morning.
You’ll be making a lot of new friends. Continue to be yourself. Don’t strike a pose or play the role of someone you’re not. Select your friends with the same care and patience you have always used. Believe it or not, your college friendships will be among the most satisfying and long-term of your life. It’s always exciting to discover how wonderfully diverse college relationships can be.
You’ll also be on your own, your own boss (more or less) 24 hours a day. Be careful here. Don’t go flying off the end of the pier. Enjoy your newfound freedom. Stay up until dawn talking about your ideals and ambitions with your dorm’s regular bull session buddies. Sleep in until the afternoon on a light class day. Explore the local town or suburbs with one or two of your new friends. Remember, though, with freedom comes responsibility. Even though your parents won’t be around to follow up on your loose ends, you shouldn’t let things go completely. Just find your own style.
You may even start to think about your future. Be on the lookout for role models. Maybe a certain professor is especially inspiring. Perhaps your school has some ground-breaking research going on. Be sensitive to your own gravity. If some area of study attracts you, find out all you can about it. It might be the beginning of your self-definition process. Going to college is as much about finding out who you really are as it is about getting that degree.
Life at college: The most glorious phase of one’s life
One of the most interesting stages in life that gives you an opportunity to explore is the ‘college phase.’ Life at college is the time when the teenage years end and we all dive deep into the ocean of new beginnings and possibilities. This golden period better equips you for all the challenges you’ll face in life and creates a strong foundation of knowledge.
My experience at IIT Roorkee has taught me one fundamental thing – life is unpredictable. It might be good, it might be bad, it might be weird, and it might not interest you, but expect anything to happen. For example, you might have a wonderful job this moment, and be fired the very next moment. College life prepares you for all of this. It is a perfect blend of joy and hardships. You meet different people, you interact with them, you learn about their cultures and grow as a person. You will understand how to talk to different people, how to judge their behavior, thus helping you with important life skills.
You learn to sit through a boring lecture; you try to cope up with the surprisingly strenuous syllabus, and you have the opportunity to learn from some great research minds. Academia, as they say, never lets you go free. People might try to motivate you by telling that you need to study only through your school years and chill during the college life, but that isn’t true.
Another life lesson you will remember – the learning never ends. You find campus groups or student groups where you can explore your co-curricular skills along with many other students like you. You share common interests, and thus you share common ideas. There might have been a time where you would have had to give up drawing for your JEE Advanced preparation. Trust me, once you get into a good college, you will get an opportunity to be the artist you always wanted to be through probably a fine arts campus group. You could be that director, you could be that vocalist, you could be the dancer of your dreams – college is the Santa Claus that keeps on giving all these wonderful opportunities while you’re in it. There are also campus festivals, which draw a lot of fun crowd from other colleges and let you show off your skills. You could also enjoy with the celebrities who are invited to perform, or even show off your technical prowess in a tech festival.
The life at college is a time when you can decide your career. It’s a time of dreams and innumerable paths. You can still be as good as a programmer as the JEE Advanced topper who gets Computer Science studying a completely different Biotechnology course for your major. You can work for a non-profit organization and even gain the satisfaction of being a humanitarian. The point is that you are free to try out these new things and no one is going to forcefully control the decisions you make. Every nook and corner of the college you’d find a peaceful spot full of natural surroundings, who’s value you will only realize once you graduate from your campus. You will always remember the early morning fog, your hostel’s adorable “puppy” or even your grumpy stationery shopkeeper.
So, remember that there will be moments that carry a lot of sentimental value and you can’t help but miss those years later. The friendships you make in college life is the most important aspect. These people will give you strength and be your knights in shining armor all your life. The time you spend with your friends, playing Mafia, Poker, or arguing about any random topic, your regular lecture “bunking” to watch a new release of your favorite star, will always stay in your heart. Planning road trips, occasional adventure surges, and impulsive journeys—all these things make you more emotional when you bid adieu to the institution.
So, one fine day when you see pictures from the college of you and your friends having a good time, you’ll definitely land up smiling silently. That’s the beauty of college life. It stays with you long after you’ve climbed those ladders of success and forgotten the name of that cute crush you used to drool over.
Life at college is a wild mish-mash of experiences, what with all sort of hilarious stuff going down in the hostels! Read about such stuff here.
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About the author
An adventurer who has threaded his life through unexpected twists and the longest paths. An avid fiction reader, I construct my imagination through writing. I always love to sit for a cup of tea and talk about anything all day!View Profile