Change and Traditions: A Freshman’s Reflection

By: Bailey Verreault, CLASS OF 2018

“College will be the best four years of your life.”

I am sure you have heard this cliché saying at least once before embarking on the next chapter of your life. Even though I am only a freshman, as I get ready to wrap up my first year, I can attest to the validity of that quote that was so heavily emphasized pre-college.

I am not going to lie; I did not look forward to coming to college. My impressions of college hinged upon movies like “Sydney White,” “The House Bunny,” and (dare I say it) “Animal House.” Needless to say, I had low and false expectations regarding my college experience. I did not want to leave my friends, my family, my school, and especially my own bedroom. I did not want change.

Move-in day was awful. It was the most mentally, emotionally, and physically stressful day of my life. I remember lying in my bed the night before thinking, “This is the last night I will sleep in my bed as a non-college student.” I was nervous, not knowing what to expect. I did not want to leave the comfort of my home and the thought of saying goodbye to people I had spent the past eighteen years of my life with was emotionally draining. Despite all the anxiety following my first year in college, this year was a huge change for me in several ways. Thankfully, it was a change for the better.

College was a bizarre experience. Not having parents hounding me to do my homework was a challenge. I had to manage my time wisely and that was only one of the many skills I had to learn on my own. Tuesdays and Thursdays fall semester I only had one 8:30 a.m. class, so I had to figure out what the rest of my day would become. Having all the extra time was amazing at first, but I soon realized that it would have to be spent writing papers, reading articles, and attending meetings. Not liking change, the process of organizing my time on a day-to-day basis was tricky at first, but I soon learned to enjoy being independent and having full control over my day compared to high school where my day was definitely more structured with classes all day. I quickly realized that while I did have complete control over my day, I was also responsible for how I spent my time. I also realized that there is also a greater feeling of satisfaction from my achievement because I did it. I made the choice; it was all me. Talk about independence.

College changed, not only my academic lifestyle, but it also my social life. I had spent many sleepless nights worrying about how I would make new friends in this new environment without my friend group from back home next to me. However, being placed in  Blackwell dorm definitely helped. As people say jokingly, the friends made in Blackwell become friends for life because everyone lives so close to each other – iguratively and literally. As a Blackwell survivor, I completely agree.

With new friends come new traditions. If you have not figured it out yet, I have always had a hard time with change and letting go of the past. College has given me a chance to create new habits, good and bad, stretching from going to Tandem every Sunday for brunch to doing squats every night for Lent with my roommate to constantly checking to see if there are any good Buzzfeed quizzes. After having relinquished old traditions from home, I created new patterns for myself here in an ever-changing process full of fun and excitement.

Perhaps one lesson I have learned as a freshman is that change is inevitable, but not for the worse. At one point or another, we will all have to say goodbye to old traditions and, as much as this hurts, it is necessary in order to develop as an individual. It is exactly what we need to move into the future. Only when we relinquish old ways of life for new ones will college become the best four years of our lives.

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