Freshman year of college starts before the first day of classes in September. The debate of when the journey into higher education begins is endless. For me, May of senior year was when it set in that I was beginning a new journey. Dates and times started to rush my mind on important events that would make me officially a student in an undergraduate program along with my peers. Decision day on May 1st was the first step on the staircase to the real world.
Committing to a college relieved some weight from my shoulders but set in fear and nerve within my stomach. While people kept asking me questions, I was asking myself questions as well. Aunts, uncles, cousins, teachers, and friends would ask “where are you going to school”, “have you visited yet”, “what will your major be”, “do you have a roommate yet”? I was asking myself, “Am I ready to live on my own”, “how do I do taxes on my own”, “did I pick the right school”, “I wonder if I will make friends easily”.
Then came along summer orientation. Driving to a school where I did not know one person was an experience I will never forget but the orientation leaders and activities made me feel much more relaxed and excited to start school. After summer orientation my family and friends were still asking me the same questions as before, but the questions I asked myself shifted. I was then finding myself asking, “I wonder where my room will be”, “will I be rooming close to the friends I met at orientation”, “I wonder if my professors will be nice”, “I wonder if I will like the classes I signed up for”. After summer orientation, a month passed and time began to quicken.
All of the sudden, it was move-in day and it felt like the first day of my life. Will I gain the freshman fifteen? Will I make the honor roll? Will I survive without homemade food? Through out the first year of college I answered all of my previous questions and started to really shape who I was as a person and not just as a student. Lesley University is a unique school that has impacted many people, including myself, for the better. With all the various campus activities and resources, I had the power to make my freshman year and all my years in Cambridge to come, exactly what I wanted them to be.
December 18th marked my last day of my first semester of college. During this four month block, Lesley University provided me with many great experiences but, as with most great places, there is a little room for improvement. My professors were professional, kind, caring, and wanted to see all their student succeed. Many of my friends and acquaintances have said the same for their professors. Lesley University is just a breeding ground for kind-hearted people who can also teach exceptionally.
This school is also a place that cares for our environment. After participating in the New York City Climate March with over thirty other Lesley University students, going to talks about our impact on our earth, and seeing compost bins and recycle bins wherever there is a trashcan on campus is a refreshing feeling and I am glad to say Lesley University is trying to make sure we have a planet worth living on when we get out of college. With that being said, when walking into a dining hall at Lesley University, one will find that everything is compostable. Everything from the napkins to the to-go cups. This aspect of the dining halls is amazing. Another thoughtful act that Lesley University provides are vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options at every meal. Being a vegetarian and transferring into a vegan throughout my freshman year, these options made life easy and convenient. Even though all these options were available, more than one person I spoke to had complained about the quality of food in the dining halls. The food was edible but was often the same meal on several nights and was not worth what we pay for food.
During my second semester of my freshman year, Lesley University helped me start to ask myself questions about my future. By this time I was comfortable with Cambridge and being away from home, so it was time to begin the internship process, making a graduation plan, and really getting a foot in the door of my future. Lesley University has many resources to help plan out the students’ future. They put a big emphasis on internships and for that I am thankful. Having three internships completed by the end of my undergraduate program is something students at other schools will not experience.
When reflecting on my freshman year of college, I feel silly for worrying so much at first; I know this is the beginning of the rest of my life, and Lesley University has been the place that has helped shaped who I am today, as well as who I will become in the future. May 15th marked the last day of my freshman year of college; and as the flowers bloomed, and my friendships flourished, I have come to the realization how hard summer goodbyes can be…and how grateful I am to be returning in the fall to continue up my staircase into the real world.
[Morgan Smith is majoring in Counseling and minoring in Art Therapy.]