Well, my first semester as a Saint Joseph’s University student has come and gone just as fast as everyone said it would. As I relish in the post holiday laziness of my winter break, I have been able to take a moment and look back at my first semester. There have been many highs and lows that have accompanied these few short months, and all are what I believe every new college student will face.
Roommates & Friends
High: The great thing about college is that you are surrounded by people all day, people who will soon become great friends. This means that you will never be bored, as these new people in your life are just as excited to do new things and make new memories as you are. In my case, I live in a suite style dorm, which is like having a sleepover 24/7, as people are always around to borrow some laundry detergent or walk to Campion with.
Low: This constant presence of people always comes with the struggle of finding a moment of silence for yourself. This is especially true when living with someone in a small dorm room. This shared space seems like it could present fun ideas for organization and decoration, but really it ends up being a constant struggle of ‘what can I leave at home so I have more room to breath.’ Living with people is hard — no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Everyone is used to their family, and their habits; but when you throw a new person in there, things that you never thought would bother you, really start to affect your daily living. Having peers around me all the time was definitely an adjustment, but one that has actually turned out to be really fun.
Schoolwork & Schooldays
High: The rumors are true kids — college is hard, but it is supposed to be. Though, I think this is the first time I have really had an appreciation for learning. Before, it seemed as though I was just studying to get through, but now I get excited when I read an interesting article, or have a thought provoking discussion in class. It sounds weird, believe me, but I have found that even though there were classes my fall semester I didn’t particularly like, I still was able to finish the course with a takeaway of some sort. Whether it was how to properly study and take a test or watching some really cool Ted Talks, I truly did enjoy all that I have begun to learn in college.
Low: Let me be the first to tell you, whether you have an 8 AM or don’t start until 1 PM, waking up will be hard. You would think that since you were so used to getting up at the crack of dawn everyday in high school this change would prove to be easy. Wrong. Sleep is your best friend; and whichever way you finagle your schedule, you’re still going to wish you had a certain class on Tuesday instead of Monday.
Freedom & Schedules
High: You eat when you want; sleep when you want; and leave when you want. No one is in control of what you do, which means you really need to be in control of yourself. New found freedom is great, but it is definitely something to not only get used to, but continuously perfect. It is very easy to take a lazy day and watch Netflix without anyone nagging you to get your work done, trust me. So, being accountable is one of the most important things you can be, and I have found that by staying busy I am the most successful.
Low: Though you get to pick your own classes, and what time and day you want them in college, this idea doesn’t always turn out so great. As a freshmen you get the last pick time; so your schedule never seems to turn out as easy as you would like. With this said, once your schedule is picked, the real challenge ensues: what to do when. Scheduling when to do your homework, grab some lunch, make it to class, and socialize is a hard balance. But it is one that can be done, and is done by many students everyday. Once you’re organized, your schedule will become secondhand. By the end of the semester you’ll know just how late you can sleep in in order to make it to the third floor of Merion!
Overall, my first semester has been everything and more, and I know that the coming semesters will only present new challenges and opportunities for myself. The highs and lows of these experiences compliment each other, and I realize that without my bad days, the good days would not be as great. As I reflect back, this is exactly what my first semester at SJU has been, made up of many obstacles, all of which can be summed up as simply, great.