When I began this semester, I didn’t envision that my first few months of freshman year would be so transformative. While I had long awaited college, being rapidly introduced to adulthood was a staggering experience. During The Chronicle’s first week of Fall publishing, I wrote an article that detailed my initial impressions. At that time, I found the sheer amount of buildings mind-boggling, and the “Tower of Terror” horrifying. Since then, my predispositions have completely shifted, and it’s time to reflect on the fall semester.
Before classes began, college quickly taught me to grasp the significance of adulthood. Unlike living at home, there is nobody else responsible for doing your laundry. Dishes pile unbelievably high, and instant coffee becomes a tolerable source of caffeine. In our room — which is strung with 80 inches of LED lighting — Christmas lights scream “fire hazard!” These are supplemented with fresh Michael Bublé holiday tracks, which never get old. While I thought that I’d eventually tire of seeing a Stalin flag each morning, nothing about the first semester made it unappealing; rather, it became the staple of our dorm.
Furthermore, when I began this semester, I prided myself on having a deep appreciation for succulents. However, over the course of six months, I discovered just how resilient these plants are without regular watering. Most importantly, I am grateful that my student fees paid for a “free” HBO account, a “free” UTA pass and all sorts of other “free” perks.
Yet, these experiences only scratch the surface of what six months has done for my personal development. When I entered college, I was exceedingly skeptical of Greek life — perhaps even slightly jaded. Although I never joined an organization, I found that those predispositions quickly faded. Late nights spent studying were supplemented by electric afternoons in Rice-Eccles stadium, where I found a new love for athletics. I’ve also developed an appreciation for biking, and a disdain for the steep elevation gain while walking up from lower campus. Although the Social and Behavioral Sciences building (a.k.a the Tower of Terror) still terrifies me, I rest easy knowing that it will be torn down soon … I hope.
Reflecting upon the past semester, I’ve come to a single conclusion: being an adult is unbelievably fun and exceptionally terrifying. Taken as a whole, growing up has been a demanding process. I found that my high school teachers were correct in preaching that professors wouldn’t cater to the needs of all students. Instead, competent critical thinking became a standard for each class, meaning mental lapses would be harder to correct. Thankfully, there have been enough breaks throughout the semester to allow for decompression. While it once seemed unbearable to separate from friends, it became much easier with time.
Indeed, the University of Utah provides students with an endless amount of opportunities. Fortunately, this means seeing a constant array of witty “U” related phrases, which includes: Imagine U, “All U Need” or U-ID. These little reminders serve to remind me which school I attend, which is appreciated on those days I happen to forget. Perhaps most importantly, this first semester taught me how to balance a truly tumultuous schedule, with numerous obligations. This reaffirmed my belief that students aren’t solely destined to fill the gaps in the workforce; instead, it has become obvious that college is meant to expand horizons. With six more months left in the academic year, I can’t help but imagine what other personal changes will occur. Similar to the beginning of this semester, I wish all of my fellow freshmen the best of luck as we quickly approach 2017.