I can’t believe I’m finally in college! So, what did I expect as an incoming freshman? My perceptions ranged from the idealistic to the pessimistic.
On the idealistic side, I figured that I would get my first choice in everything, from classes to dorm room assignments, and that everything in college would go perfectly.
My pessimistic viewpoint came from an offhand comment from the president of my high school. When I told her that I had decided to attend Temple, she replied that she’d rather see a “more prestigious degree behind my name.”
That comment really altered my perception of my freshman year at Temple. I began to picture an impersonal setting with huge 200-person classes and inferior academics. I feared that I would not benefit from attending Temple.
Also, I began worrying about receiving the proverbial roommate from hell once I moved on campus because my friend at another college reported such an experience. I worried that my roommate would mock my strange habits and label me a weirdo. I also imagined an opposite scenario, where we would be really close friends.
I would love to say that college life is like some sort of wonderful, hallucinogenic dream, but I don’t believe in lying.
Rather than getting a nice, air-conditioned dorm, I got roomed in Johnson Hall, which always seems 10 degrees hotter than every other building on campus, no matter how comfortable it gets outside. I won’t even talk about the elevators, which behave as though they are possessed by evil spirits (angry former Temple students, maybe?).
The dorm experience isn’t all that bad; although, my roommate and I don’t have as much in common as I thought we would.
Also, my classes at Temple definitely aren’t as large as I’d imagined. My largest class has “only” 50 other people, and I have one class with 15 students. There’s a lot more personal interaction than I’d expected, and I actually do chat with my professors every once in a while.
To address the inferior academics issue, all I have to say is this: If I go back to my old high school and show people my Calculus textbook or the assignments I’m writing for Philosophy, they couldn’t say Temple doesn’t challenge its students. The classes I’m taking here have educational benefits similar to those at the snobbish Ivy League institutions.
Surprisingly, although I’m only 20 minutes away from home, I miss my family and my friends. I never realized how close I was to them until I left home. On the bright side, they appreciate me more when I visit–except my brother, who thought that my leaving for college meant he could steal my VCR.
I absolutely love the diversity in the student body and it pleases me that people actually give me a friendly smile as I walk the campus.
I imagine I’ll have a good time here. Like the commercial says, “I could have gone anywhere, but I chose Temple.” And overall, I think I made a pretty good choice.