Marsia Johnson; Guest Writer; johnsomp@plu.edu

College is weird.

When I was coming into PLU as a first-year, I expected that because my high school experience sucked, I would immediately find my place when I got to PLU. I found that college sucks too, but it is also really great.

Here are ten expectations I had about my first year at college:

10. Professors are scary.

Coming from a small high school of around 60 students, I was afraid that my professors wouldn’t get to know me like my high school teachers did. My professors have been some of the favorite people that I’ve met this year. Professors are just people.

9. My roommate and I will be best friends.

That dream ended two months into the school year, when we found out how different our personal values were, which made it difficult to share this important transition in our lives together. Sometimes, it’s best if you can learn to live with the person, and not force a friendship out of that relationship.

8. I’m not going to get any alone time.

I remember senior year of high school, sitting in my car, eating lunch alone. Now, a year later, I still find myself shamelessly eating meals alone in the cafeteria. I was nervous about living on campus. I thought that I would never get time to myself. However, there is a difference between being alone and being lonely. In high school, I was lonely. In college, I have never felt more independent. I’ve learned that I’ve got myself 24/7, and I have to be okay with being my only friend at times.

7. I’ll have so many friends.

I expected that coming to college I would “find my people.” It’s funny how we say “our people” as if somehow those people belong to us. People belong to themselves and their busy schedules. I guess you could say that I’ve made many friends this year– I’m well acquainted with many people on campus. But college comes with new challenges to friendship. No one has the same schedule and people’s schedules are changing rapidly. Having friends takes time, as does homework and classes and on-campus jobs.  Though it initially irked me that I didn’t have a large group of friends, I learned to appreciate the time that my friends and I do get to spend together, making late-night runs to Old Main Market and putting off Writing 101 essays together.

6. There are no cliques in college.

They still exist in college. And in college, cliques are even more defined because people additionally group themselves based on academic interests.  It’s expected of you to already know what you’re good at and where you belong. I’m still exploring what my interests are, which can sometimes feel like I don’t fit in just one group. But this comes with benefits, too.  I have a diverse range of friends, and people in college are a little more accepting about having friends that aren’t exactly like them.

5. I will have so much free time.

LOL. Forgive me, I’m a dreamer.

4. I’ll read everything before class.

Again, LOL. No comment needed. It happens sometimes.

3. I’ll be cool.

Reality tells me that cool is an illusion. Nobody is really “cool.” The world is made up of weirdos, but college allows you to embrace it.

2. It doesn’t matter what you did in high school.

When I came to PLU, I wanted a clean slate. I knew that I wanted try new opportunities that weren’t offered in my high school. This meant I found myself competing with people who had loads of experience with these activities in high school. It’s hard for first years to identify themselves right out of high school without mentioning what we did in high school, which leads many students to take their high school skills as a guide when coming into their first year. A change in perspective allows me to see that everyone starts from somewhere. For me, high school is in the past and my experience starts here, and I’m able to grow into these new skills despite having peers with past experience.

1. I will “find myself.”

I don’t even know what this means anymore. There is a cliche that your glory days will either be in high school or in college. Sometimes I ask myself, “what if I never I find my “glory days?” Maybe it’s not whether I am a “high school person” or a “college person,” so let’s just start with the fact that I’m a person.  I’m a person who has highs and lows each school year, and that is just life. My life didn’t automatically become great when I entered college. It’s up to me to make it great all the time.

So, here I am, still in the process of “finding myself” and figuring it all out.

Here’s to sophomore year. Here’s to being a Lute.

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