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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

As a first-year at Denison, I got pretty lucky with my opening semester. With an attitude of studentship pretty marred by two years of online school and a general distaste for homework, I was worried that I would be overwhelmed by homework and the expectation to… do things. While I lamented that my days of putting on mascara on the city bus while simultaneously reading SparkNotes was no longer viable, the minute that I got my college course syllabi, I started thinking about the best ways to minimize the assignments while maximizing my free time. I was full of anxiety at the notion that I could have to buckle down and start thinking again. It had been a while. 

For me, leisure has always been sacred. I am a proud and dedicated napper, a big T.V watcher, and an expert botherer of friends who are more invested in doing their practice problems than me. It’s not to say that I am not concerned about my grades– quite the opposite to an embarrassing level sometimes. But I intended to get said grades by just eeking out the requirement for the goal all throughout my prior academic career, and I didn’t see that changing. 

So, it was a big surprise to both myself and all of those who had watched me scribble faux chem notes during our 30 minute lunch period when I found myself carefully annotating and taking notes on all of the readings for my classes. What could’ve been a quick skim turned into hours of laborious commentary, observation, and footnotes. The amount of Friday Night Lights I could’ve been watching as I read about Jesus and radical feminism and Ice Cores! Yet, even more shockingly, I found that I didn’t mind. While I had always liked school, for the most part, I had never cared so deeply for what I was learning. Suddenly I was a passionate academic seeking out research opportunities, going to office hours for the sake of discussing ideas further, giving up naps to read extra articles. What the hell. I was a foreign entity to my previous self. 

Obviously, college requires much more than high school. Particularly at a small school like Denison, you can’t necessarily hide in the back of the room and slide by. It’s not to say that my prior habits could’ve continued, that probably would’ve been a recipe for disaster. However, whatever has compelled me to be so effortful and fervent in my learning is a brand new force. First semester, through professors that cared and through interesting books, and through thoughtful discussions brought that force. It feels nice to care. 

I still take a lot of naps and I still watch a lot of T.V and I still bother my friends and I start all of this caring at least after 10:30 pm. Still, I’m grateful for that first semester, and all that it has changed. I want to gag a little at the sincerity of this essay. It also kind of doesn’t fit in my M.O to not be blasé about literally everything, but I’m trying something new. Thanks, college!

Anna Cohen

Denison '25

Hailing from Chicago, I'm excited to take a break from city life to experience Granville and all the Denison has to offer. I love writing, and can't wait to explore all of my interests and to publish here on HerCampus.
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