Moving in wasn’t at all like I expected- it was very complicated, drawn out and disorganized. There were confused students everywhere and not many people to help guide us. Once I finally got in and settled, it was time to actually say goodbye to my parents. This was strange in itself. Th e only time I’d ever been away from my parents for an extended period of time was summer camp when I was nine years old. Now, nine years later, here I am saying goodbye to them for a much longer period of time. Now is as good a time as any to warn you parents and moms alike:
Mom is going to cry. It’s inevitable. Th e woman who carried you around like a watermelon permanently attached to her abdomen is going to sob Alice in Wonderland style tears all over your brand new shirt. But that’s all to be expected. Am I right? You want to know what the fi rst semester is really like?
I made tons of friends at orientation over the summer, so I already had people to hang out with. The first thing we did was explore the campus and the surrounding city. This is something I suggest everyone does before classes offi cially begin, I mean, who wants to know only how to get to class and back? You’ll go crazy before the end of the second week. Also, scope out cheap places to eat. Campus food gets old real quick.
Academically, college is easier in most subjects than high school. Th is is probably because in college, you take mostly classes that are related to your major. Since most people major in things that they are passionate about they will find it surprisingly easy. However, that being said: You will do more writing than you might have previously; if writing isn’t your forte then you might have a bit of trouble. Most schools have writing centers to help you find out if your skills aren’t up to par.
The hard part about going away to school is adjusting to life on your own. It can be shockingly overwhelming and exhausting. You will have to take care of things that you’ve never had to do on your own before. For instance, I had to open a bank account, buy textbooks, go to class, and decide when to sleep and what to eat.
There are countless errands and other things that you will have to accomplish as well as filling out a whole slew of forms. You will have what seems like endless responsibilities as well as homework. Not to mention you are going to feel like you’re broke almost every moment you are away at school. (Suddenly, that buck you spent on a can of soda looks like one hundred dollars.)
But the fun part of school is the freedom. I’m not talking about the freedom to decide that you’re going to stay out at 4am, but the freedom from the innate fear that resides in all the subjects of Teenagerdom. The fear that without our parents, we can’t take care of ourselves.
In your first semester you begin to discover that there is no reason for the terror you’ve been harboring since the excitement wore off after receiving your acceptance letter. You start to realize that while your parents didn’t prepare you for everything (not possible, by the way), they did raise you in the best way they knew how and that you really are going to be okay. So please, don’t spend your first semester in total panic mode. Relax and handle all the challenges you might face while you’re away at school. If things get too overwhelming, well…there’s no shame in going home for the weekend! Your family will be very happy to see you.
MADISON KANE is an 18-year-old English and Theater major. Her hobbies other than writing include blogging and watching My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic with her boyfriend. To learn more about her college exploits visit Four Shattered Stars: Finding Philadelphia. She lives in Loudoun County.