Growing up I was always told high school would be the best 4 years of my life. While I focused on school work, my shot putt footwork, and FFA I realized that for many this would be their favorite 4 years, but it wouldn’t be mine. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the people I went to school with, I made some lifelong friendships, and had experienced things that helped shape me into who I am. From breaking my personal shot put record my senior year to winning the state Ag Sales competition, these experiences truly showed me that working hard and preparation can really make a difference. However, growing up as a first generation student, I never really knew how to prepare for college; the diversity, the classes, the freedom, and the homesickness. This is where I begin to tell you on what I have learned from college as a first generation college freshman.
1) The Diversity:
I grew up in a very small town in northern Illinois, basically in the middle of nowhere. Needless to say, I never experienced much diversity with other cultures and overall just different minded people. Let me tell you one thing I noticed the first time I walked onto the great campus of K-State, the people. Everyone walking around me had some sort of buddy, they were all happy. I never noticed how many different backgrounds could make up a campus until that first day. These people all mixed and I realized that here on campus I could finally experience a wide range of diversity. Whether it was when I got to work with several people from all around the globe, people from Kansas, or even other people from Illinois that all had different experiences and and backgrounds that brought them here.
2) The Classes:
Let me start out by saying the very first class I went to my very first semester, I fell asleep (SHHH don’t tell my mom). I was sitting in the very back of my first huge lecture hall, psychology 101. The reason for this mid-day snooze was a mix of not being able to sleep the night before from nerves of my first day and a very, very monotone professor. I won’t name any names on who this professor was, but she turned out to be an extremely passionate in psychology and teaching. This was my first experience of what college classes were like. However, as the semester continued on I realized these classes take a lot more work than I ever experienced. I was always used to not having to study and classes coming easy to me. Well if that is how high school was for you, then I will let you know that college changes all study and work habits. At least it did for me, and I hope knowing this could help any future college students with classes.
3) The Freedom:
I always knew that I would no longer have my parents and teachers watching over me, making sure I was in class, and pushing me to do my best. It truly didn’t set in until that 8:30 class on a Monday in the middle of the semester. I woke up and didn’t want to go to class and I didn’t have to. To be honest with you I wanted to lay in bed all day and watch netflix, but I couldn’t. Since I was paying to go to class, I needed to go to class.
4) The Homesickness:
Growing up, my family has always been close. My two older brothers helped raise me and shape me into who I am. So when I moved to Kansas (9 hours away from my little town and family) it was hard to leave. I never knew how hard until about three weeks into the semester. It was the longest I have been away from them. That feeling is something that can’t be explained and it can’t be prepared for. I believe that feeling homesickness is one of the best things I have learned at college, because it reminds me of all those back home whom I love and who love me.