Freshman year brings on unanticipated changes

Freshman year: gone.

It is far too cliche to begin with “It seems like just yesterday” and “Where did the time go?” but it’s all too true. In a mere eight months everything has changed and freshman year of college has dissolved.

As a first-year student, I’ve had a taste of that yet to come. I’ve gotten involved, taken too many classes, made procrastination an art, and still somehow managed to finish the year on the Dean’s List. Freshman year of college has been a learning opportunity.

Yes, we’ve all learned how to cut corners and still produce excellent work. We’ve learned countless dates and names that will stick with us through the summer, to be replaced with new ones in the fall. We’ve learned which teachers grade how and where we can get the best wireless connection on campus. But we’ve learned even more than that at KSC.

We’ve learned how to live.

Again, I’m getting borderline cliche here. Everyone knows that going to college is one of the monumental, life-changing experiences that define our lives, but what we learn here is bigger than any of us could have possibly expected. What we learn each year comes down to more than what we expect and pay for without tuition bills; in between the classes and homework and final essays, life lessons are being sprinkled in at each corner and each opportunity presented to us.

In August, I walked onto campus with a handful of kids also from my hometown. Other than a few other acquaintances and familiar faces from Facebook, I was shuffled into the 5,000 plus unknowns that make up this campus. What a terrifying concept.

But in just a few weeks, KSC became home. Once the newness of college fell away and I got involved, all of campus became a learning experience. I learned how to balance classwork and extracurriculars. Learned how to be independent. Learned how to live on my own and take responsibility for my life.

We all know that these are essential parts of growing up and becoming adults. Most of us have felt “grown up” since we got our licenses and became independent of our parents in the sense that we no longer needed a ride to football games on Friday nights. But here, we’ve taken that one step further. We’ve had to feed ourselves when we run out of swipes at the DC. We’ve had to manage our dwindling savings accounts, to decide whether a concert ticket or a new pair of sneakers is more essential.

It’s these little parts of going away to college that we really learn and grow from, not the entire act in itself. Classes aren’t significantly harder than they were in high school; choosing to further our education is not life-altering, though it will (hopefully) give us an advantage in finding a job post-grad. But yet, these little parts of learning to live with people who aren’t related to you and discovering what choices you make when push comes to shove define our lives. They shape us to be the people we are.

And so, as I check the first year off of my to-do list and anticipate starting life after graduation, it’s necessary to sit back and reflect how we’ve all changed in these eight months. It seems to have disappeared, and in the greater scheme of things, it has. Eight months is a small chunk of time, and yet, it’s possibly one of the most important times; the most life-defining. It’s the time in which we learn about ourselves.


Allie Bedell can be contacted at

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