You’re Such a Freshman

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When you’re a senior in high school, the same sentences echo beautifully with naivety through your classrooms:

“I am so ready for college.”

“I’m gonna be a biology major. Why do I need to read ‘Great Expectations?'”

“I don’t want to date anyone. I’m about to be in college.”

“I’m probably going to do some intramurals.”

“College professors don’t really care.”

“It’s a party school. I’m not gonna get ANYTHING done.”

My purpose is here is not at all to say that prospective college students don’t know anything about what it’s like to actually be in college…but it’s a little bit true. I am currently a freshman at the University of South Carolina. When I was a high school senior, that university ranked about sixth on my list of schools, and I was accepted to the five above it. A seventeen year old expects so many things to happen, but let me tell you; my life is nothing like I thought it would be six months ago.

Although I’m not the most organized person in the world, I’m going to try my hand at breaking down the quotes above, one by one. And when I say “break down,” I mean “pretentiously dispute.” Let’s begin.

I’ll start with “I’m gonna be a biology major. Why do I need to read ‘Great Expectations’?”

What I knew in the back of my mind, but chose not to ever think about, was the fact that learning “unnecessary” and “irrelevant” material was not going to end after high school. As a journalism major, I’m taking a psychology course and an oceanography course. Ocean freakin ography. I can now include the depth of the arctic ocean in my stories if need be. The truth is that it’s called a university for a reason. There is knowledge everywhere, and damn near any of it can be used to one’s advantage. No part of my education will be taken for granted.

“College professors don’t really care.”

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If you’re in high school and you think this, you watch too many movies. It’s not that college professors don’t care if you dick around, it’s just that they know that they aren’t going to be held responsible for what YOU screwed up. I thought this to be a good thing too, and it can be, but I understand that I need to discipline myself. College is hard and easy at the same time, and I can skip class if I want to. However, my failures are just as much my responsibilty as my successes.

“I don’t want to date anyone. I’m about to be in college.”

Yes, college is a much larger and diverse community than high school. Yes, there are so many cool and attractive people with whom to spend time. It’s a classic thing to enter a university and start having sex with anyone who gives you a suspect look. But should this phenomena cause young people to shy away from what could be a beautiful and meaningful relationship? Should we make excuses for ourselves not to ask people out because we MIGHT meet someone else at school several months later? Should we just assume that we’ll be getting lucky every other weekend? Should we also just assume that long distance never works? This quote is not really one I’d like to dispute. I honestly think I’d just like to hear it discussed among people a little bit more. There are many people who date others at different schools, but then there are couples who break up because of that same situation. Hm. I’ll get back to you on this.

“I’m probably going to do some intramurals.”

Don’t worry, friend, I’m not so good at sports either. You’ll learn to just accept it.

“It’s such a party school. I’m not gonna get ANYTHING done.”

 I feel like we students are better at time management than we give ourselves credit for. Almost everyone I know, so far, is getting everything done as well as partying on weekends and maybe even during the week. If you know for certain that something is important and has to be taken care of right then, and then you delibereately choose to get drunk instead, then you were not to be accepted in the first place. As my high school band director would always say, “If you know what you’re supposed to do, and then you do the opposite, that is the height of non-intelligence.”

And lastly…

“I am so ready for college.”

Keep telling yourself that as you run late into your first class because you never bothered to memorize the campus topography. Keep telling yourself that as you ask how to work the washing machine. Keep telling yourself that when you walk in on your roommate masturbating because you knuckleheads never discussed schedules or ground rules for ANYTHING. Keep telling yourself that when you’re sick and your mom isn’t there. Keep telling yourself that when you drop two of your classes and replace them with totally different ones. Keep telling yourself that when you’re back at your high school watching a football game and showing off your college t-shirt.

Truth time. Freshman year is an amazing experience. And even if we’re not ready, we’re ready. We may be wrong about a lot of things, including ourselves. But if we didn’t know anything, we wouldn’t have been accepted in the first place.

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And hey, we’re all human.

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