Time flies: a reflection on my freshman year

Paige Parsons | Staff Writer | Paige Parsons (left) and her roommate Bethany McAninch (right).

Paige Parsons | Staff Writer

Whenever someone asks how school is going, I respond with: “Every bad day in college is a good one because it’s not high school.”
College is difficult, there’s no way around it, but it was also a new start. The workload is intense and overwhelming no matter the major, and that’s definitely something that took some getting used to at first. I’m no stranger to difficult classes.

The variety in scheduling was a pleasant surprise. Rather than struggling through seven straight hours of classes everyday, my days are balanced. On days I have fewer classes, I can do more homework. When classes are scheduled back to back, I can give myself a small break from the work and leave it for a free day.
It took a few months to get used to, but now I really enjoy the flexibility college allows me.

It’s crazy to think that my time as a freshman is coming to a close. Eight months ago, I entered my dorm for the first time – confused and a bit unsure of how the year would go. Everyone seems to have horror stories about freshman year and I had no idea what to expect.

Luckily, I found my people. My roommate and I slid easily into a routine together that I feel lucky to have gotten so early on – she’s one of my closest friends on campus, and I adore our silly moments together.

I love the circle of people I surround myself with, and I met them by coming here. They help me to become a more educated and overall better person everyday, which is something that everyone deserves in a friend. I found people that I can trust to support me through my weak moments and to laugh with me even when I’m being too much.

I built my own little family at this school, at this dorm, and it’s kind of hard to imagine that I’ll never live in this room again. There are so many fond memories that happened here – so many people that have sat on my bed, watched all the movies and shows with me and shared in all of our laughs. I’ll be moving out in two weeks, and I don’t want to see all the life I built up here drain away.

I think back on the past year and I’ve learned so much about myself. Pushing past my own goals academically has always been something I shied away from because my heart was never in it before coming here.

High school felt so aimless and it killed my joy for learning – something that only began to change when I realized that I CHOSE my college path. I got to choose where it would lead me and take classes specific to my own unique interests.

Classes can be overwhelming, but in less than a year I have learned a lot and actually retained skills from those classes. I challenged myself and it paid off, if only in the sense that I gained confidence in myself and my abilities.

College has thrown so many things at me, and I’ve walked away from it with nothing but growth – academically, emotionally and mentally. University is known for changing people, but it’s also good at emphasizing what is already there. I’d like to think that I became closer to the person I want to be during my time here so far.

With growth comes growing pains and despite knowing that a biochemistry undergrad and forensic science masters program would not be easy, I was afraid of challenging myself when I came here at first.

I was worried I’d crack under the pressure or end up backing down just like so many others did in the first semester. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course – college is difficult, draining and above all not a linear process. Once again, growing pains.

While I have enjoyed my time here so far, Duquesne itself is not without flaws. The communication between departments and students is lacking on so many fronts and can be so frustrating sometimes. Certain departments need to listen to students more, some need to listen less to the trivial grumbles about course load. I have my complaints, but at the end of the day I’m happy with my decision to come here. Despite its numerous challenges, I love my major. I love the people I’ve met here and the experiences I’ve had – good and bad.

Ultimately, I would say that freshman year is what you make it. Every experience is determined by the approach taken and the maturity level of the person dealing with it.

Almost everything can be solved with communication and self-reflection – as young adults in college, it is prime time to examine yourself and discover the type of person you want to be. Just like Duquesne always says – the foundation of your future starts here, and as I’ve learned, it’s really all up to you what you do with it.