Alum Reports from 1st Semester at College


The overwhelming, yet exciting feeling of being in a completely new environment, the stress of another paper, the rush of joy as the class canceled email hits my inbox. These are just some of the feelings I’ve experienced as I move through my first semester at the University of Vermont. While I still have a lot to figure out, one thing is for certain, college has been the biggest adjustment of my life, and some aspects of this new life fit my expectations, but others differ radically.

I didn’t truly understand the immense increase in freedom I would have in college until I got here. Unlike high school, no one is watching your every move and prescribing strict guidelines to follow for daily life. Want to skip class? Maybe forgo the homework? No one will stop you. Want to leave campus in the middle of the day for lunch? Go right ahead. Of course the University is not a lawless land, but for the most part, I make choices about my daily life without worrying about causing trouble with a professor, administrator, or anyone else. And this differs significantly from my high school experience, so it’s been a huge adjustment.

Some parts of college have proved less surprising to me. I’m glad I get unlimited dining hall meals, but the reality is that the food is just as mediocre as I expected. Occasionally there are days where the food tastes great, but most days, I’m happy to secure a slice of frozen pizza. The dorm situation has not surprised me either. Sharing a space that’s barely bigger than my room at home hasn’t been easy, but at least it’s taught me to be creative with space!

College has provided me with surprises too. One of the pleasant ones has been how my classes function. Unlike in high school, my professors don’t force me to complete a pile of busy work during class and for homework. Rather, the vast majority of my work revolves around reading, writing papers, and studying for tests. Gone are the days of endless worksheets. This has allowed me to work more freely on my assignments because instead of having to follow a strict process to complete them involving specific guidelines that must be followed for each step, I can do them in the way that works best for me. I recognize that some may struggle with this academic independence, but for me, it’s something I will continue to relish.

My college experience has required me to get used to so many new things, and while some aspects of it have been consistent with my expectations, others have not. I am still getting used to the newfound freedom I have as well as having a roommate, but I am also taking advantage of the increased academic independence that comes with college classes.