The First Semester: Expect the Unexpected

The months leading up to college, you’ll be hit with congratulations after congratulations after more congratulations. You finally made it. The thrill builds after being accepted to a college after the long and treacherous journey, where your blood and tears were poured into an application that could ultimately determine your future. Once you have chosen your college, and you begin preparing for that exciting move in day, you’ll hear from your parents, your teachers, your parents friends, “College? Oh it’s definitely the best four years of your life.” So you stay awake every night, eager to meet “your best friends for life,” thrilled to spend your weekends “partying the night away,” and nervous to “discover yourself and your future.”

The first week of college was nothing but excitement. It almost felt like I was away from home at summer camp and the feeling of independence hadn’t quite hit yet. You’re still meeting new friends, trying to find your group.We still had two days till classes started, two full days of exploring the campus and getting to know each other before we were all hit with the tidal wave of work that would soon consume our free time.

This is the part they don’t tell you about.

After the first week, when you have 2 essays due in a week, countless hours of reading, 10 club interest meetings to attend and you’re debating when you should face the fear of doing your own laundry for the first time, suddenly reality hits. You’re living alone, no parents, and you’re just supposed to figure everything out. Some people catch their grip faster than others, easily adjusting like it’s second nature. Others, struggle.

I was one of the ones who struggled. I was completely overwhelmed by it all. All my classes first semester were science classes except for my  English class. I wasn’t too interested in the basic sciences at first, and I do admit, I took it all lightly, thinking, “It can’t be too much harder than high school.” Well I was hit with a rude awakening when our first midterm grades were posted and I nearly failed to failed every single one. Happy to say, I did get an A+ on my English paper though. I was disappointed to say the least, but I was determined to do better on my next set of exams. I tried new study techniques and studied longer hours. Yet, I still did poorly. And no matter how many times I changed my study habits, visited office hours, pulled all-nighters, I still didn’t do as well as I hoped.

And this is where it got hard. Coming from a home with the strictest parents, whose expectations were that they were sending their first born to school to become the future doctor they hoped for, it hurt to be working so hard and not seeing any results. And I’m not going to lie, I went to parties, drowned my sorrows in bad habits. I became more and more sad. Emptiness and doubt began replacing my excitement.

I’m still questioning my major. I wonder if being a doctor is really what I want to do, or if it’s just what I’ve been pushed to want to do. Everyone around me seems to be know what they’re doing, while I’m just trying to gain a grip, something to hold on to, something to motivate me.

I’m not one for New Years Resolutions, but I sure as hell am going to try my hardest to become more motivated and focused second semester. In academics, clubs, and in finding a job, I’m going to put in my all. I was probably one of the few who had a rough first semester, but it was sure an experience, and one that I’m going to learn from. So while my first semester wasn’t what I expected, college is full of expecting the unexpected.

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