Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Life > Experiences

Diary of a College Freshman: Understanding the College Experience

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Louisville chapter.

Imagine yourself in a dark compact space. Loud noises unknown to mankind blaring through your ears and stabbing their way into your brain. Flashes of light appear, yet they are inconsistent. Above all, you are getting jostled around and can barely breathe due to the rank odor surrounding you. Doesn’t that sound like fun? This is the hidden paradise of college which we know as the basement of a frat house.  

At some point in your life, you will hear someone talk about how grand the college experience is. What they fail to leave out is how to truly enjoy it. For me, this was a major challenge I faced when I first arrived on campus. I desperately wanted to be included in the iconic college experience, especially after the pandemic rocked our world. I worried that another wave or variant would come through and take back normalcy.  

Of course, I tried to go in with a positive attitude. I went to tailgates, frat parties, and spent long nights down the halls with other people in my dorm. It was at all of these that I had a realization: I was completely alone. There I was surrounded by crowds of people, and I felt like a boat abandoned at sea bobbing helplessly. I recall looking around and feeling disgusted.  There were people stumbling around the tents before the football games slurring their speech and getting sick on themselves. It was only noon. The game didn’t even start until six. I could barely hear myself think at frat parties and worried about the safety of my friends, the girls around me, and myself. Even in my own residence hall, I found myself with an aching heart as I felt like I was being judged for everything I said or did. Was this the college experience everyone raved about?  The college experience looks different to everyone. The events I described above are important to some, but not to me. In my opinion, it excludes some of the best parts!  I am happy that I pushed myself out of my comfort zone to attend college events my peers would hype up, but my experience has been so much more than that. The college experience is agreeing to get repeatedly pied in the face to raise money for philanthropy. It is a late-night swim in the campus fountain after your football team (finally) takes a win. It is the excitement you feel during your Friday morning class because you know that evening you will have a Disney movie marathon with your friend and eat homemade cookies. For me, the college experience is going on late-night ice cream runs, having Euphoria watch parties every Sunday, and shopping in the witchy boutiques. The college experience is best spent with people who are willing to go on silly adventures with you and try new things. You will truly understand this when you accept yourself and find entertaining activities that you find special.

Olivia Barclay

Louisville '25

Hi! I'm a sophomore at the University of Louisville majoring in psychology with a minor in art to be an art therapist. Some of my passions include scream singing in the car, eating different forms of potatoes, stargazing, and dancing like everyone is watching. Mostly here for the goofs and gaffs!