When I came to the University of Colorado Boulder my freshman year, I had no idea what to expect. I am the oldest in my family and the first to go to college. I was completely on my own with zero guidance or advice.
I was also coming to Boulder as an out-of-state student from New Jersey which made everything that much more stressful and confusing. Before moving into my freshman year dorm, I had only previously been to Boulder for a total of 72 hours. I was excited but had no idea what I was getting myself into.
I was a completely different person freshman year compared to who I am now. Over three years later, I have changed in the best possible way. I would not change anything, though. I was one of two people from my high school to come to CU. I did not know anyone, but looking back, this put me in the best possible position. I was forced to go outside of my comfort zone and meet new people, something I probably would not have done if I had been spending time with high school friends the first couple of weeks. It may seem like everyone knows each other, especially during the first semester of freshman year, but that is definitely not the case. Everyone is in the same boat and wants to seem like they have it all figured out.
Friend groups are constantly changing, breaking up, and evolving freshman year. There are so many people that I hung out with freshman year that I thought were going to be my friends for life, but we have grown apart since then. The most important thing is to meet as many people as possible because you really never know who will end up being your best friend. Put yourself out there. Go to the random events thrown by the RAs in your dorm. Sit with someone new in the dining hall. It is OK to be scared and nervous, just remember that everyone is feeling the same, some are just better at hiding it.
I felt a lot of pressure freshman year to have my entire life planned out and know exactly what I wanted to do. Looking back, I think it is more unusual to have your life planned out at 18. The point of college is to try as many new things as possible so you can find exactly where your passions and interests lie. I started out as a journalism major. I enjoyed writing in high school so I automatically thought that journalism was the best fit for me. After taking a few journalism courses during my first semester, I realized that I love writing, but I don’t love journalism. I wanted something more creative that would still involve writing.
I worked with my professors and academic advisor to figure out what major and minor would be a good fit for me. I tried out some different courses freshman year within the College of Media, Communication, and Information which exposed me to so many creative paths that I never would have even considered.
I ended up switching my major to strategic communication with an emphasis in public relations and minoring in journalism. Both paths involve writing but in very distinct ways. I am receiving such a diverse education, and I cannot wait to see where my future takes me. Although,I never would have realized this if I didn’t take a step back and reconsider my educational trajectory. I highly recommend taking classes that interest you, regardless of the topics or if it aligns with your current major.
You have absolutely no idea what you will enjoy or be good at unless you try. I also would never have made the switch without the help of my professors and advisors. The faculty and staff at CU want to see nothing more than you succeed in doing something you love. Become friends with all of your professors and anyone else you meet while at CU because you never know how they will be able to help you in the future.
Freshman year is an incredibly exciting time in your life. Don’t take it for granted. It is your time to find yourself and try as many new experiences as possible.
Don’t let the fear of failing stop you from doing whatever you want to do. College is your time to be selfish! In the end, you’ll be amazed by how far you have come and how much you have grown. I know I am.
After all, there is no better place to go to college than CU.