Now I know that my title doesn’t sound very positive, but I promise, this is a positive story. First off, I had a really great upbringing. I moved around a lot and was able to experience cultures outside of the United States. I participated in many sports and was able to excel in the things I chose. For the most part it was your average childhood, it just happened all over the world.
I graduated high school in June of 2016. Like tons of graduates, I took a gap year. Looking back now, this was both the best and worst decision I could have made, but that’s a story for another time. A year later my family moved to Albuquerque and I decided that I was ready to go to school at UNM. My freshman year taught me a whole lot, both academically and socially
At this point you’re probably wondering why you should even continue reading this, asking yourself “Why do I care?” WELL, you should care because I’ll be expressing universal components of the freshman experience. Without further ado, I present to you the things I lost:
1. Time. It just goes by too fast. There literally isn’t enough time in the day to go to classes, work out, eat, do homework, and have something that resembles a social life. This is especially true if, like me, you come to college with zero time management skills. However, planners work wonders, so if you don’t have one, you definitely should.
2. Sleep, or should I say the thing I completely forgot. Every semester I told myself that I could handle an 8am class, and every semester I was faced with the fact that it sucks. However, if I only had late classes I would sleep in far too long and then my day would start significantly later than what I’m used to.
3. Sanity. This is definitely the thing of which I’ve lost the most. Whether it’s staying up late studying or doing homework, stressing about not feeling ready for this quiz or that exam, we’ve all been there. Even a few weeks ago I was having about 12 shots of espresso every day just because I was staying up so late working on homework.
4. Money, money, money. I feel like Donna Sheridan. Even if you have scholarships or a job, you still buy things from the university. Parking passes, parking tickets, books, and food really take a toll on your wallet.
5. People. This is where we start to hit home a little. Now I know that many people manage to stay close with their friends, significant others, or whoever else, but not everyone is able to do that. Sometimes no matter how much you try, no matter how much effort you put into keeping those relationships open, you just can’t. You’ll lose friends because they change, or you change, or it just wasn’t in the cards for you guys. But that’s okay. You’ll move on and meet new people. Yeah, it’ll still hurt for a while, but soon enough you’ll be able to think about them fondly again.
6. Myself, or at least who I thought I was. I had always identified as a jock, well kind of. I swam competitively my whole life. I also excelled in academics. Coming to college, I stopped swimming and I started taking classes that were harder than what I was used to. Due to my upbringing, I also came to college speaking multiple languages. Moving to NM caused me to stop speaking in many of the tongues I’ve been speaking since I was a child. Furthermore, I lost people who I had let become a part of me. By themselves, none of these things are too major; however, all of them happened at roughly the same time, so it felt like I lost everything about me that made me who I was.
Now remember I said this wasn’t sad, and it’s not. I gained a whole bunch of things while being here as well. I gained amazing friends, who will all be standing at my wedding. I gained an intense appreciation for my parents, who I 100% took for granted before I started college. Once I got to college I understood how much I relied on their support and money. I also realized how much I need them and how much I love them. A piece of my advice to you is to make sure you call your parents because they really do love us as much as, if not more than, we love them. The most important thing I discovered was who I was. I learned that swimming, languages, and the people that I surrounded myself with didn’t define me. In all, my freshman year in college taught me a lot in the long run, even with everything I lost. Coming to college is absolutely the best decision I’ve ever made.
Written by Victoria Knight