I Hope You Had the Time of Your Life

12 December 2018

As I sit here in the library, I’m suddenly struck with the idea that my first year of college is almost at an end. I glance down at my assignment book sitting atop my math notebook, both of which are to my right. At my left sits a plastic cup with just another few mouthfuls of iced left over from my earlier Diner visit as well as a half-eaten chocolate bunny. Accompanying my food and drink is my Childhood Development textbook, still at the same page it was about 10 minutes ago, right where I left it in pursuit of something to focus my attention. My distraction was people watching, something I do quite often. This time, unbeknownst to my subjects, I was trying to guess ages and how long they have spent here at West Chester University. That was when it dawned on me that I would soon be leaving for a little over three months. Given this thought, I reflected on my time here. How did I do academically? What stupid decisions had I made? How could I cope with not seeing the same people day after day, some of with whom I had become very close? And finally, how did I get here?
I think back to 7th grade. I was 13 years of age and my school district had gone on strike. The strike lasted longer than expected, and my mother brought me into her Learning Support classroom some days. I was like a teacher’s aide, making copies of papers, helping the children—3rd through 5th graders—with their numbers or letters. I even got to eat lunch in the teacher’s lounge. This was when I knew I wanted to be a teacher. Helping children succeed was something that appealed to me. Seeing that light bulb go on after such hard work seemed to make everything worthwhile. From then on, I made it my goal to get into a university that would help me prepare me for my dream career. All through high school, I made sure my grades were satisfactory and participated in extra curricular activities. In fact, most of my friends wanted to go into the teaching field as well so we encouraged one another. When it came time to pick a college, for me there was no other alternative. West Chester gave me a great scholarship, it was close to home, and above all else, and it was known to be a great school for teachers.
When I first got here, I was so nervous. What would my classes be like? Would I make friends? I had nothing to worry about; I enjoyed most of my classes and I made a ton of new friends. Of course, my experience did not come without its hardships. First off, my roommate and I do not really get along. We have different personalities, but we stay civil to each other and come next year, we will both be living with other people. I also saw what every parent warns his or her college-age child about: partying. I’ll freely admit I go to parties and I make some, let’s just say, “not so good decisions” at these parties. But I try to be responsible and not get carried away. My mother knows what I do, and while she is not happy about some of my choices, she understands that she cannot be with me, telling me what to do. She knows that I have grown up and need to live my own life. I have met many people who I am very close with as well as others who are not my favorite people to see. This solidifies the notion that you do not always get along with everyone, but you need to be the bigger person and stay polite and respectful. On the academic side—which is what college is all about—I have done very well in all my classes. Yes, I have skipped classes and yes, I have not done well on a few tests, but overall I feel as if I have the same drive to do well. Of course, the fact that I need to keep a certain grade point average to keep my scholarship also reminds me I have to do well.
One of the most rewarding experiences is meeting so many new and amazing people. I knew one person already from high school who lives in my building and the first weekend at school, I went to his floor and met his floor mates. From that point on, I made close relationships with those people. I met the girl with whom I’m rooming with next year, and already we have been talking about getting an apartment with two other friends for our junior year. As the year is coming to and end, my friends and are planning summer beach trips and times when we can all visit one another. And even though these plans are in the works, I’m still sad at the thought of not seeing them everyday and grabbing dinner or just hanging out watching a movie.
Unlike some people, I knew what I wanted to do with my life from a young age and I strived to make that goal happen. I chose West Chester University because of everything it had to offer. I was so ready to be on my own and have more freedom and control of my life. I believe life is what you make of it; if you know what you want, you should go ahead and do it with confidence and pay little attention to critics. That was my outlook going into college and I feel as though I have made a great transition into this new world. Of course I have made decisions that I’m not proud of, but I think those decisions have helped me grow and I can learn from them. I’m not ready for my first year of college to be over and will miss my new friends dearly over the three months that we are away from one another. I am looking forward to next year though—another new year and new start.

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