When I played in my living room as a young child, imaginary lava flowing viscously between the floor boards, I didn’t have a grasp of what adulthood truly signified. This blissful period insulated my conceptions of personal responsibility. And while arguably naive, this innocence allowed me to imagine grownup life as one simply without rules, something I certainly desired on many occasions. Yet, just a couple of weeks into the fall semester here at the U, so many of my opinions have been unexpectedly refashioned. Indeed, regardless of my time spent on campus, introduction to life during college has already made significant personal impacts.
As I sought inspiration for this article, I jotted down some everyday reasons why my life has been altered. The basics are as follows: move-in day was terrifying, new friends and support groups, nobody cleans dishes, my laundry always needs attention, etc. But then, I took a step back and looked around the room in which I now reside. Over the course of seven days, I had somehow signed up for Planned Parenthood club. On top of my desk, their souvenir cup is filled with some instant coffee I bought for occasions when boiling water is too hard. In my living room now resides a 10’ American flag, juxtaposed against an image of Stalin on the opposite wall. On the inside of my window frame is over 80’ of LED lighting. Oh, I nearly forgot — I have recently gained both an intimate knowledge and deep appreciation for succulents, especially those requiring a minimal amount of maintenance.
Yet, beyond this oddly descriptive rendition of my dorm, there is a heightened sense of personal responsibility. Suddenly, there isn’t a familiar group of friends to lean on throughout the day. Instead, I’ve been tasked with finding a new crowd to keep me afloat on the hard days. It’s only been a week, but a tenacious yearning for loved ones has already developed, especially for those who were swept away by distance. Yet the unabridged flurry of school has begun already to subdue those concerns, replacing those worries with fear that the RA is hearing me play songs from the utterly poetic Red Army Choir.
Unsurprisingly, my attitudes concerning many issues began to suddenly change as well. Nowhere is this more evident than in the classroom, where even on the first day, I found myself writing notes at well over my regular rate.
Within the mess of significant life changes though, many new opportunities have made the whole process absolutely worth the effort. The litany of new buildings reduce me to a state of constant awe. I’ve realized that constant commuting from lower to upper campus certainly counts as daily exercise. I now deal with budgets and eat from the stereotypical Ramen Noodle package. Even having class in the Tower of Terr…our beautiful Social and Behavioral Sciences building is an enjoyable chore itself.
Reflecting upon the past week, I’ve come to one conclusion: being an adult is fun, and stressful, not to mention really confusing, and at times pretty exhilarating. Taken as a whole, the process of growing up is much like the preceding sentence — structurally haphazard, but coherent and entertaining nonetheless. Yet, perhaps that’s the intention of college. Maybe as freshmen we aren’t meant to be simply churned out into society to fill gaps in the workforce. Rather, we have been presented with the resources with which to expand our horizons. Maybe the late nights spent reading 65 pages for class or doing pre-engineering homework is leading to days of success and leisure. Either way, I intend to write a corresponding article at the end of the semester to describe the range of new perspectives wholly different from those I’ve developed hitherto. Until that point in time, good luck my fellow freshmen.