Thursday, March 21, 2013

What to Expect When You Get to College

By Trey Gamble, Guest Blogger

College is a large step in one’s life. It is the departure from the norm, from one’s family and from one’s home. I speak not only to those who live on college campuses, but even to students who commute. Regardless of your living arrangements, college is a migration away from the nest we have called home for our entire lives. The huge step is fueled not by necessity nor by happenstance; whether you are at college for a job or to learn, you are here by choice – by option. And that alone constitutes the biggest aspect of college life for me thus far: responsibility.
                I came to college living with a single mother for the past few years. I have had my fair share of responsibility to keep the house going; I would often do simple chores such as laundry or cleaning just to help out as much as I could. Obviously this pales in comparison to living alone, and I realized that much quicker than I would have expected upon moving to the residence halls at the University of Texas at Dallas. Of course I was lucky to board with two of my closest friends from high school, who are in the same boat as I am when it comes to learning how to live by oneself. It is definitely a challenge getting used to waking yourself up on time, keeping up with assignments and laundry, and even some of the more expected things (eating? honestly I forget to eat sometimes, no joke!).
                Not being reminded of your responsibilities means you have to remind yourself, and this means you have to stand on your own two feet when moving through the circus hoops that are the college experience. Occasionally I find myself overwhelmed: forms and essays circle above my head like vultures, waiting for their chance to strike at my free time. But after a complete semester at UT Dallas, I feel as though my experience here has changed me for the better. I realized that the myths about college responsibility – ignoring social life, eradicating fun, complete focus on academics – are just absurd. The UT Dallas community is full of students who are learning about personal action and responsibility just like me, and the comforting notion that I can hold out a hand for help is only possible with a group of people going through such a similar experience.
                The notion of unity also applies to students who share an academic major. I arrived at UT Dallas as an Economic Political and Policy Sciences major, specifically in the study of International Political Economy. I had the slightest idea of what I wanted to do with my life other than a desire to help people, and this alone made me doubt any progress I made in becoming an independent college student with a mind full of responsibility. How was I supposed to call myself independent and responsible when I did not even know why I was at college or what I wanted to study?
                I know many incoming freshman struggle with this problem of self-doubt, wondering if the major or courses they are taking can help them in their lives or if they are truly enjoying themselves and their studies. We have to realize that as people taking such a grand leap forward in our lives, it is okay to question whether or not something “fits” within your life. This can apply to how one lives alone, dietary habits, classes and academic majors, friends, and more. Responsibility and independence are not being able to walk into college or any part of one’s life knowing exactly how their plan is going to unfold.
                Responsibility and independence are being able to tell yourself to explore possibilities within life, teaching yourself new skills (be them living alone, or even remembering to eat!), and being content with where you are and where you might be heading.

1 comment:

  1. I guess that the right answer should be crazy times. =) You haven't got spare time merely at all. Constant studying and entertaining. I'd love to share some tips on how to deal with all this:
    Recipes & Ideas for On-Campus Cooking