One of the most difficult tasks facing 17- and 18-year-olds every year is the adjustment between high school and college. As one of the bright-eyed youngsters of the class of 2020, I have had the privilege of experiencing the struggle firsthand.
For freshmen, the fourth week of college came with one overwhelming thought: “Did I really make it this far?”
It’s true that college brings a lot of new experiences, but it also comes with new responsibilities and expenses. For instance, many freshmen were caught unprepared by the new financial obligations. In addition to the larger expenses, such as tuition, textbooks and parking passes, little things like providing Scantrons for tests and being prepared with one’s own stapler came as a shock.
“I really like UNR. It’s a great school, but it’s so expensive. My bank account is crying,” said freshman Karly Campbell.
Once the fees were paid and the supplies were purchased, the struggles continued within the classrooms. Many new students had homework and assignments immediately, beginning their college coursework before they had time to adjust to life as an adult.
College in general moved quickly. Clubs and campus jobs were already filling up before the end of the first week. “Music Man,” the school musical, had been cast and begun rehearsals by the first Friday of the school year. By the end of week two, the semester was in full swing. Everybody seemed to have adjusted from the summer and started working toward their personal, academic and extracurricular goals without hesitation.
The rapid pace, however, left several freshmen struggling to catch their breath.
“I cried literally every day my freshman year. My first semester screwed me over so bad. My first theater class caused me to not pursue a career in acting. The world might be better for it, but my confidence is not. I also got my first C, which ruined my GPA. I’ve had straight A’s and worked my butt off to reverse all the turmoil that happened those first 16 weeks of college,” said senior Katie Jones, reminiscing about her first year at UNR.
For most freshmen, the first semester is brutal. The steep learning curve is coupled with the pressure of trying to start off with good grades. Throwing in concerns such as working and participating in extracurricular activities makes the first few weeks even harder.
Still, many students have been able to find solace in their passions.
“Freshman year was tough because, for the first five weeks, I did not have friends and was alone a lot. But being a theater major helped because the theater department is very close. The transition from high school to college is tough, but you get used to it,” said Morgan Moessinger, a sophomore at UNR.
Now that the first few weeks of the semester have passed, it seems that the worst might be over for freshmen. Routines have been set, friends have been made and the worst of the culture shock has passed. With the most extreme highs and lows over, freshmen are finally able to enjoy their newfound adulthood. It’s still a little scary, though.
“Transitioning from high school to college has been a little chaotic, but the sense of community and purpose in college is far stronger, which is an amazing feeling,” said freshman Sam Crabtree.
Dominique Kent studies English. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @TheSagebrush.