Two College Years in the Books

I know I’m not the only one who feels like the past two years have flown by way too fast. Move in day: two years ago, I was standing across the street from Witte Residence Hall, hands full with boxes and bins labeled ‘college’, and all I could think about was the year ahead of me. I was so hopeful and optimistic that I’d found my new home. I was right. A new chapter of my life had begun and little did I know how many people I would meet and all the adventures I’d experience along the way. There were so many firsts that I’ll never forget; my first football gameday, my first fifty-minute lecture, first conversations with the people I now call my people. Here’s a few things I’ll take away from my first two years and I’ll be keeping in mind for my next two:  

  1. 1. Noodles & Me

    Kraft Mac N Cheese

    You’ve heard how broke college students are but it’s one thing to hear it and another to live it. This year I had my own apartment and kitchen where I was reintroduced to both Ramen and Kraft Mac n’ Cheese. Before, I thought of Ramen as a block of hard noodles in water and now I think of it as my hungry-but-poor meal and Kraft mac n’ cheese as my I-only-have-ten-minutes meal. As a college student, life’s expensive. You’re willing to save money anywhere you can, whether that be eating Ramen instead of eating out, waiting another week to do the laundry that’s been piling up and holding off on that pretty sundress you saw in a store window last week. At home growing up, I’d relied on the cooking of my parents to the point where I never considered how one day I’d be the one behind the stove. Well, that day was definitely supposed to have come already even though I feel like it has skipped over me somehow. Instead, I was left with the cooking instructions for two different kinds of noodles--which doesn’t amount to much, anyway--and the continuous wonder of what normal cooking skill consists of. 

  2. 2. Temporary People Aren’t Just in High School

    two women sit on a swing set. they are facing each other.

    In life--as college has helped me to realize--people go through change that shapes them into who they want to be. Growing up, I was under the sad impression that people who walk out of your life as quickly as they walked into it only existed in the halls of high school. It’s okay to admit how inaccurate this was and how often I will continue to come across this even beyond college. Whether the change is intentional or not, we are constantly altering into a future version of ourselves. This is why it’s normal to make new relationships the same as it’s normal to say goodbye to the old ones. It’s good and healthy, even, that this happens because if it didn’t, you wouldn’t have room for the people you haven’t even met yet. I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. That includes people coming into and leaving your life. 

  3. 3. A Night’s Sleep

    Between spending hours at the library, going out on the weekends, extracurriculars and keeping a reliable job, the meaning of sleep can stretch anywhere from getting eight hours a night to two. ‘A good night’s sleep’ for anyone else is ‘a night’s sleep’ for a college student and we’re okay with just that because for us, it’s a miracle to get any sleep at all. Students learn that the overly generous amount of work given outside the classroom doesn’t just give us more to put on our plate; it gives more. In fact, it gives us anxiety, stress, fear of missing out, and a reason to fall behind on habits like working out, eating healthily, and getting ‘a good night’s sleep’.

  4. 4. Fork in the Road

    Girl Holding Map Inside Vehicle

    This is something you’ve just come to terms with since, ‘it’s normal to feel that way’, ‘no one knows what they’re doing’, ‘you’re not the only one’. The question that has brought unease along with it since the very first time I heard it: ‘So what do you want to do when you grow up?’. The further into college you get, the more and more anxious you are to find an answer to the single question most of your relatives ask at the annual holiday get-together. Imagine the look on their faces if you responded with uncertainty about what field of study you’re leaning towards. Or even worse, you responded with certainty that you don’t have an area of study you’re leaning towards. I’ve wrestled back and forth with myself about how to see it: actually no one knows what the heck they’re doing or something’s wrong with me if I still don’t know where I’ll be five years from now. From this constant debate, I’ve come to the resolution that both of those could be true or neither one could; it doesn’t matter much. I am doing my own thing and that is how I’m going to find my way. Through the chances I take and the experiences I have, I’ll find myself. If I knew all the answers already, where would the fun come in?

I hope that by reading this, you’ve learned one student’s perspective of college, the pretty sights that come with it and the not so pretty ones. Here’s to more adventures in the second half of college years. Thanks for reading!