Life in the Fast Lane


Merely Freshmen

By 12:36 PM , , , , , ,

It was 7:30 am. Unsure of the outfit I put together (after wearing a gingham uniform every day for eleven years of my life) I walked to the third floor of the SEC A building. This was where I would be attending my first-ever class in college. 

The subject? Math 11, one of the greatest foes of a Communication major.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been seeing status updates on Facebook and Twitter from this year’s freshmen from different schools. Some have posted their class schedules, some have asked which professor to take for so-and-so course and others have expressed their First Day Funk anxiety. Today, the freshmen from my beloved university will begin their college lives and with this, a wave of nostalgia hits me. While it seems like my college life took place eons ago, it also feels like it was my first day just yesterday.

Times may have changed drastically from the time I was a freshman to today, but a few things have stayed the same: feeling nervous on the first day, the jitters before an oral exam, the excitement during outings with friends, the high after a successful activity with your org, the stress of an all-nighter, endless laughter during long breaks, the relief after graduation.

College is a transition period that serves to hone one’s skills and direct one’s future. It’s both exciting and nerve-racking. But if you embrace each day, it can be the best experience of your life.

So I write all these with today’s freshmen in mind: my brother who will be one a year from now and cousins who have two years to go, another cousin who's now a freshman, some “kids” who were once my Sunday School students.

Dear freshmen, don’t hold back. Don’t let first impressions stop you from reaching out to the people you’ll meet. They will come from all walks of life and their personalities will be as varied as the color spectrum. One of them may be your best friend for life, your husband or wife, or maybe an important contact once you start working.

If you have a passion for a sport, a form of art or self-expression, or a particular endeavor, join an org. Not only will it keep you well rounded, it will keep you grounded as well. Having a passion brings more color to your life; something straight A’s can’t quite give you. Having a support system brings more meaning to your day-to-day existence. Until now, I regret not joining the swimming varsity, just because I thought that I wouldn’t be good enough.

Remember that your grades don’t dictate who you are. Just because everyone else seems to be on the Dean’s List while you’re struggling, it doesn’t mean that you’re inferior to them. By the same token, don’t limit your choice of professors based on how they can boost your QPI or average; there’s more to life that the so-called terror profs can teach you; something far greater than an A, a quatro or an uno on your class card.

Take it all in. When you’ve had it up to your neck in readings, when you can’t stand the drama within an org, when you want to self-combust after your nth computation or paper, remember that this will all end. At some point, you will finish the semester and move on to the next. Then graduate. These experiences will help you, whether you know it or not, in what people call “the real world”. The stress you face today will multiply a hundredfold when you face office politics and become responsible not just for yourself. So take it one day at a time; this long exam, too, shall pass.

Remember why you’re there in the first place. Not just because it’s what comes after high school or because you want to make your parents proud. You’re there because, someday, you will contribute to the growth of society. Someday, you’ll be treating patients, crunching numbers for a multinational bank, writing for a magazine or newspaper, delivering the news, predicting trends in the stock market, selling a brand, making ads or films, defending in court, constructing or designing a building, finding solutions to a more sustainable lifestyle, helping the less fortunate live a better life, molding young minds, or governing the nation. What you do today will serve a greater purpose someday.

But don’t forget to have the time of your life.

I sure did.

Bachelor of Arts in Communication, 2004

Welcome to college!

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