If I wanted to describe my freshman year at Mizzou, I would probably start with one word: crazy.
It goes fast. One minute I was meeting my roommate Nancy for the first time, and the next, I was waving goodbye to her and returning to the residence hall to spend the rest of finals week in a room that was too empty.
School was a bit overwhelming. Suddenly, my time wasn’t scheduled to the minute. I had chunks of free time between classes that I needed to use wisely. I had to learn that even though watching Netflix during that hour between Spanish and J1100 seemed great, I’d regret it later when I didn’t have the chapter read for Ancient World.
Another couple words to represent the year? Slightly uncomfortable.
Freshman year starts out overwhelming. You’re meeting a million people at once — some freshmen who, in a desperate attempt to make new friends quickly, are just a little bit too excited to meet you. The adjustment period is awkward and tiring, and sometimes you just want to go back to your room and lie down by yourself for a while to rejuvenate.
Living in a dorm isn’t always ideal. Even when I was surrounded by people, I still sometimes felt homesick and lonely. Residual weed smell and rowdy floormates made for some sleepless nights. Plus, walking from class to class in the winter was a pain in the butt, especially when I forgot to wear gloves.
Throughout it all, the year was especially enlightening.
I learned so much about campus issues, as Mizzou made national headlines for activism on campus. I saw the power of social media and local reporting firsthand.
I found that the amount of effort I put forth for each class reflected in my final grades. I also figured out that sometimes it’s OK if the effort doesn’t translate to the GPA.
And I also realized that I need to double check how much water I need for Easy Mac before I pour it in, so I don’t end up with macaroni noodle soup.
Above all though, my freshman year was warm. Not in the sense of weather, but that it gave me memories that have that wonderful glow to them.
It was “Cutthroat Kitchen” parties in my suitemate’s room, when we’d criticize the chefs while stuffing our faces full of Easy Mac. It was wandering around downtown CoMo with friends during Record Store Day, getting excited over each other’s finds. It was watching the entirety of “Kill Bill” at 2 a.m. in our floor lounge.
At the beginning, freshman year is daunting. You’ll be lonely at times, wondering if you’ll ever find solid friends to do things with. You’ll get stressed about school, you’ll miss home. And that’s OK. It’s all normal.
The beauty is that it’s temporary. Time will pass. You’ll join clubs, meet people on your floor, talk to other students in class. Slowly but surely, you’ll figure it out. You’ll know how to find the dining hall with toasted ravioli for lunch and you’ll know how to cut a minute out of your commute time, too. You’re going to scream your head off at football games and dance your heart out at parties. And you’ll have people to experience it all with.
Everyone’s freshman year is different. That doesn’t mean they can’t all be extraordinary.