My experience as a freshman on UCA’s campus was full of ups and downs, but I learned a great deal through my experiences. The idea of beginning college and going off on my own terrified me. I had always lived with my parents. I didn’t know how to effectively manage my time, and I wasn’t sure how to do this whole college thing.
My high school teachers scared me by telling me college was more rigorous, more stressful, and more intense than high school. College sounded like a monster, and all I wanted to do was hide.
I knew I had to face my fear, so I packed my bags and headed for campus. Once I arrived, I quickly discovered college wasn’t as daunting as it seemed; I knew it would just take some figuring out.
The first month of my freshman year was my favorite because I met new people each day. I met people in the cafeteria, in class, and in my dorm. By putting myself out there and talking to new people, I was able to make lasting friendships.
Freshman year taught me the importance of relationships. I can’t imagine going through my freshman year without my friends. They listened to me, laughed with me, and cried with me. I learned that experiencing freshman year alongside someone creates an immeasurably strong bond of friendship.
Freshman year also changed how I viewed my relationship with my family. I didn’t go home very often my freshman year, so I learned to cherish my time spent with my family. The time I had with them became more meaningful because I didn’t see them as often.
After getting a feel for how college worked, I started to observe everything around me more critically. For instance, I noticed there weren’t many events held on campus over the weekends. I always wished there would be dances or movie nights on Saturdays to convince students to stay, but instead my friends and I learned to make our own fun.
In high school fun had been a foreign concept to me. I spent the majority of my time studying, but during my freshman year in college I had more free time. I took advantage of this free time by trying new things and going to different events. I attended lectures, concerts, and plays. I even tried out the HPER workout classes.
Looking back, I was a different person at the start of my freshman year than I was at the end. I experienced a great deal of growth because I wasn’t scared to step out of my comfort zone. I was scared to talk in my seminar class, but I did it anyway because I knew it would be beneficial. I was scared to run for SGA, but I campaigned anyway. I was scared to take a study abroad class because I wasn’t sure if I’d know anyone on the trip, but I went anyway and ended someone who is now one of my best friends. I wouldn’t have grown if I had been afraid to get uncomfortable.