Ah, college. Parties, procrastination and 2 a.m. bowls of Ramen noodles. A place where going to bed at 5 a.m. and waking for class three hours later makes perfect sense. Then there’s the second half of college.
Like most, I spent my first two years of college enduring the days of seemingly endless classes and making plans to do whatever unscholarly activities
I could find at night. After long days of crunching numbers, observing rocks and writing until my hand fell off, the best way to unwind usually involved pajamas and a TV. Throw in some friends and a smorgasbord of cheap food and I was set.
After just a week into the first semester of my third year, the second half of college is proving to be very different than the first. The classes aren’t harder, but the workload has my schoolbag bursting at the seams. Literally.
The amount of money I spent on books is twice what I’ve spent in previous semesters. Most of this year will be spent looking for internships. Forget movie marathons in pajamas, the only downtime I get is the short break between my classes. Before the semester started I didn’t even consider the possibility of this year being any different from my past experience. If anything, I thought it could only get easier.
However, a sense of reality hit pretty quickly. In less than two years, current third year students like me will graduate and face the cold harsh realities of life. No more professors handing out study guides, no more apartments that come fully furnished. We’ll be on our own looking for employment and ways to defer payments on loans that seemed like no big deal when we signed off on them.
Seniors are probably laughing at my third year anxiety as they order class rings and get fitted for caps and gowns, while sophomores blissfully soak up their last year of carefree collegiate life. But some third year students are looking on the bright side.
“As an upperclassman you know the ropes better, you feel more comfortable on campus,” said Junior Secondary Education major Katie Hollenbach.
“You already have a group of friends.” Hollenbach’s upbeat attitude is refreshing, but the perks of being an incumbent student aren’t as easy to enjoy when you’re bogged down with work and life.
Most people go into college with the mindset that they have four years to party and goof off in between study time. Little do they realize the in-between time gradually becomes few and far between.
Classes become more intense and paper assignments get longer and require more research. Though it would be silly for upperclassmen to expect not to have to work as hard, I was unprepared to feel so much pressure so soon. The best way to handle it all is to enjoy the first two years of college to the fullest. Go out and have fun – within reason of, course – before assignments get too long and life gets too serious.
Shannon McDonald can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.