Entering college life, I was rather pessimistic about the whole idea because of the fact that I’d been homeschooled for all of my educational life. I had never been to any kind of public, private or any other type of school, but I did start going to community college at fifteen years old as an early college start student. As an early college start student, I was only allowed to take two classes per term, which wasn’t too difficult, but I was heavily occupied with studying for the PSAT and SAT, as well as other subjects that I was studying at home.
Upon deciding to go to Drexel, I knew that I’d be in for a very long and potentially stressful transition. I’d heard some people’s personal stories about their first year of college, and most of them consisted of three main things: drugs, alcohol, and partying. However, I was more concerned about having to take five classes each term, as well as living in a dorm and having a roommate. I was also worried about having to be for the most part self-dependent. The fact that my brother was also going to the school did ease my worries a little, but I was so used to being around my parents all the time that not having them around was immediately strange to me.
I was also dreading the idea of having to make new friends. I wouldn’t consider myself to be antisocial, but making friends is something that has always been a hassle for me. While growing up, I never really bothered with trying to make too many friends in the neighborhoods that I lived in. The vast majority of my peers were fellow homeschoolers who I met at clubs that were specific to homeschoolers, although I did have a few friends who were in public school.
Some of these perceptions that I had were quite accurate, others not so much. My academic concerns were pretty much spot on. Not all of the classes were necessarily harder than the ones that I took in community college, but the workload of five classes was overwhelming during the fall quarter. Having to develop good study habits and learning how to manage my time were things that took me weeks to figure out and on multiple occasions I wanted to call it quits because it was just too much.
Socially, it wasn’t as bad as I had been expecting it to be. I was of course skeptical about interacting with people who were coming out of high school since I had heard so much about how intense life in high school can sometimes be. However, to my surprise, I ended up forming friendships rather quickly without really meaning to and having a social life certainly helped take my mind away from my classes when I was in need of a break. People definitely hadn’t been lying about the drugs, alcohol and partying that come with college life, but it isn’t that difficult to avoid those things.
As if academic and social related things were not trouble enough during the first couple of weeks, I also had to deal with a major culture shock since I had never lived in a city before. This was something that I had honestly not even taken into consideration when I chose to go to school at Drexel. It was a pretty big change at first, but I grew to like it a lot as time went on and I adjusted to the lifestyle. Although having to go out in search of food on a daily basis was admittedly a little frustrating at first, especially since I preferred to cook my own meals.
At the end of the day, I cannot deny that college isn’t as bad as I was led to believe. It is certainly chaotic from time to time and plenty stressful, but those are things that I’ve been able to handle fairly well so far.
I must say that my freshman experience had its fair share of ups and downs throughout the three quarters, but the good outweighed the bad in the end. From staying up at night studying, to being out at in the city later than I had any right to be, there are definitely a lot of things that I would have done differently if I were given the chance to relive my freshman year of college.
At the same time though, I think that the point of freshman year is to experiment and make at least some mistakes so that you can figure out what works and what doesn’t work.
I certainly learned a lot about myself and about life in general, not to mention that my opinion of college has gone from one of pessimism to optimism.