A reflection on my first semester of college

I came into college terrified.

I was so excited to move away, to be on my own, to surround myself with new people and new situation and figure out who the person I want to be is. College was all I could think about for the entirety of my senior year in high school. When I graduated, I was even more ready to enter the world of higher education. And then, unexpectedly but completely normally, when it got down to the one month mark until the fantasy became a reality, I became scared shitless.

Granted, my school is only two hours away from my home and nearly forty of the kids I graduated with in high school are attending the same institution, but on move in day I realized I was completely and utterly alone. Two hours is a long way. Of those forty other Lee’s Summit West survivors, I was only friends with two of them. Neither of which I had any classes with or lived in the same hall with. To top it all off, I had never been away from home before. It was more than a little scary, and I definitely cried in front of my roommate, whom I was meeting for the first time that day.

The first few days were strange. The hall was deserted. I knew there were other people, but I had no idea where to find them or what to say once I did. All but two of the girls in the hall were rushing, which meant they were out of the dorm all day parading around Greek Town. The very first interaction I had with other real living, breathing residents of Hatch Hall were with two guys who kept trying to show me Adventure Time videos on Youtube, which I had no interest in.

But after people started opening their doors and coming out of their rooms, Columbia became a much less frightening place.

A stranger invited me to (an illegal) game of darts in his room with a bunch of other strange and diverse people. I found myself in an unlikely group outing to a magic show, a movie, and Target. Somehow I ended up as part of “The Sandy Balls” volleyball team. We were all in a new town, at a new school, and most of us didn’t know anybody.

As the semester continued, the hall has morphed into what I now refer to as the “Hatch Five family.” It’s amazing how people bond over endless hours of ESPN (against my protests about sharing the lounge tv), cheering on the tigers at football games after degenerate tailgates, almost dying at frat parties, etc. Without a doubt, my favorite part of college is the people I have met and come to care for.

Another big highlight of my first semester of college has been working at The Maneater, the student-run newspaper. I am incredibly honored to be able to work there as a beat writer, and next semester I will be the movie columnist, which is pretty much my dream career. From day one, I have felt nothing but accepted with open arms by the editors and other writers who always work with me on stories, give me advice, and  let me crash their parties unannounced.

Put all of that together, along with classes that went (mostly) without a hitch, and I had one amazing first semester. I’ve made friendships that will last through years to come, memories that I will always hold on to, and a fair share of embarrassing and hilarious stories that I will be sure to recount in the future when I talk about my “college days.”

The year is half over. And that’s scary as hell. I don’t want this time to end, but I’m looking forward to the next semester and the six others that will follow.

Someone once told me, “People say college is the best four years of your life. And yeah, they’re good years, but they’re not the best.”

And right now, I say back, “Bullshit.”

College is the best.

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