First Semester Story


I am officially 12 weeks into my college career, and I can honestly say that this has been the most trying, emotional, scary, fun, and exciting time of my life. On August 13th, I packed up my car and took off to Columbia, South Carolina. Ten hours from home surrounded by a new city and new people, adrenaline took over my body. Move-in was a blur, with furniture being moved, bed skirts being tied up, photographs being hung on the wall, all in a very small dorm room up on the 4th floor of Patterson Hall. The emotions didn’t hit until my parents looked at me and we all knew it was time to say goodbye. A flood of emotions hit; the reality that it was time to be a “big girl” now was creeping into my brain, and tears began to roll. Luckily for my college experience, rush started the next day at 6:00 am, which did not leave a lot of time to dwell on the homesickness.

Sorority Rush was a whole different type of experience, one that is unique to each school. However, the one nice thing about it was that I was introduced to so many girls, each unique and different in their own way. This experience brought me the feeling of comfort I always had at Hutchison. I was surrounded by girls who all were going through mostly the same experience and willing to lend a helping hand or a smile when needed. After 10 days of rush, bid day came, and I found a place I now get to call my home. It was an exciting time, but college is not just about a social setting; the real reason we are here is for school.

The idea of having classes that vary from 12 people to 303 people. When picking my classes, it reminded me a lot of my freshman year of Hutchison. Most schools have a core curriculum in which you must complete a certain amount of hours in different areas of study. Thus, my first semester classes are a lot of general education classes, not the classes particular to my major. The hardest balance by far has been learning how to be able to balance schoolwork and activities on weeknights. Also, it is extremely hard to wake yourself up in the morning for that 8 am when you are used to having a parent help you up and out the door in the morning. Thus, comes the sacrifices you begin to make. In college, there is no one telling you not to go out on a Tuesday night; you have to make that call. If you know that you have an 8 am on Wednesday or an exam the next day, maybe you should make the call not to participate in T-Shirt Tuesday downtown.

Throughout my 12 weeks here, I can truly say that I thought that I had to know all the answers all the time. I thought that because I was “on my own” now that it would be a burden for me to call home and ask for help. I began to find myself in a hole of anxiety and emotions and unable to get out of it. I did not want to admit that I was not happy where I was. I did not want all these people from home talking about how I “failed,” when in actuality, there is no shame in not being happy where you are. I called home and explained all my feelings to my parents, emotional and tired I could not fake happy anymore. My mother gave me the best advice she could have given me. She told me that even though I am “on my own,” I am still only 18-years-old. My brain is nowhere near developed, and that it is okay for me not to be totally sure of where my life was headed. After lots of time, consideration, and conversations, I decided with my parents that it would be best for me to transfer after my fall semester here at South Carolina.

Life is going to throw you curve balls, and once you get to college, especially when you feel like you need to have it all figured out, it is easy to lose sight of who you truly are. I was beginning to lose my identity because I was trying so hard to be what people around me wanted me to be. I wanted everyone at home to see my Instagram photos or my Facebook posts and be just as excited to go to college as I was. However, Instagram and Facebook never show how trying college truly can be. It is a learning experience, a time to figure out who you truly are. Your life does not stop after college.

So, my advice to you is to pick a school where you believe you can be truly yourself. I also want you to realize that first semester is hard. It is not easy. You have to meet new people, make new friends, and adjust to a new living situation, and all of these things
can have an impact on your mental and physical health. Make sure that once you get to school, ask for help when you need it because there are so many resources available to you; you just have to be the one to reach out and use them. Not all bumps in the road your first semester will lead to transferring, but it is important to realize that transferring is ok. Just because you may transfer does not mean you “failed” in any way. If anything, it means you stepped out of your comfort zone and tried something new. Just because it did not work out does not mean you did not learn anything from it. I have learned more about myself and what I want out of my life in the last 12 weeks here than I ever thought I would. I am excited to see where the rest of my college career takes me. I wish you all the best as you make these decisions in the upcoming months and years.