Every first-year college student is different and has their own story, but there is one thing we all have in common: after finishing our first semester, we are all asked the same question…how is college? It’s a question asked by everyone—parents, friends, neighbors, you name it. Granted, it is an easy conversation starter, especially when talking to someone you don’t know too well, but often it only leads to a simple answer: good. “College is good,” a sentence each and every first-year student has said at least once since beginning their first year. I was thinking about this question over winter break, and I realized that I, and probably many other first-year students, never honestly answer this question. Well, I’ve decided I’m going to try.
College is bittersweet; it is bittersweet because it requires growth, and growth, although necessary and beneficial in the long run, can be arduous at times. During my first few months of college, I met some amazing people, studied fascinating concepts, and learned a lot about myself. One thing they don’t tell you about your first semester of college is that it can be lonely at times. You are without your family, childhood friends, and virtually everything familiar to you, and that can feel isolating. I love college, but I also miss the comfort of familiarity, and nothing about college feels very familiar.
The best way I can describe the first semester of college is that some days I felt like an alien who had just arrived on a strange, new planet—everything was foreign to me, and I felt alone. On other days, though, I felt like an alien who had just arrived on a strange, new planet, but everything was exciting and different, and I felt giddy. Some days I was the lonely alien, and other days I was the giddy one.
So how is college? College is more than good most of the time, but, like any worthwhile experience, sometimes it is less than good. It is still a new experience and I’m still trying to figure it out, but I’m excited about what is to come.