Every year, high school graduates across the globe move on to the next step in their journeys, college. While there are high schools that do prepare students for college academically, no amount of information could truly prepare students for the experiences that await them at college. Navigating college can be intimidating for the first time, but also exciting as one may finally be on their own for the first time. They’ll make new friends, attend parties, study overnight, and learn more about what they truly want (and don’t want) from life.
These general ideas of what first year students experience are vague though, as each student perceives their first semester differently. As we complete this Fall 2016 semester, students Shayla Chambers, Parker Wilson, and Claire McGinty kindly share their reflections on their first semester at Temple University. Whether you’re reading to relate, or to feel the nostalgia, enjoy!
Shayla Chambers is a Communication Studies major from Bridgeport, Connecticut. To Shayla, unlike students who may come from small towns, coming to Philadelphia’s urban environment was an easy transition, “Where I’m from is an urban city setting similar to Philly, so I felt comfortable in terms of the urban environment from the start.”
In regards to her adjustment to college life, she had this to say, “I feel like I’m adapting well to the new environment, even though initially it took a little time for me to adjust. I love how there’s always something going on and that there are different student events and clubs that suit my interests.”
Shayla seems to have gotten one of the most important aspect of college down, time management. In making sure she set enough time aside to study, she said her first semester wasn’t harder than she expected.
In closing our interview, she gave us a tip for next years incoming students.
“Don’t be afraid to branch out and try or join new things, whether that be student clubs, organizations, or any of the other activities that are offered here at Temple.”
Our next student, is Parker Wilson, a Kinesiology major from Upper Dublin, Pennsylvania.
The one thing he found at Temple to be most unexpected was the amount of freedom he had.
“I wasn’t used to it cause I was living with my Dad and he’d ask what work do I have, what do I need to do…also I played a lot of sports in school…having practice everyday after school was a big part of my life and I invested a lot of time in it, so coming here and only playing inter mural sports…it was getting used to that and not have a schedule set for me.”
Parker mentioned his older sister attended Temple and during his visits to see her, loved that Temple was in the city. Coming from a small town, the move to the city was what Parker desired, “I wanted to go somewhere where there was more than just three things to do…I can’t see myself going anywhere other than the city,” he said.
In asking Parker if he could go back and tell himself anything before his first semester, he said this.
“Get a feel for time management and studying cause in high school you can get away with not studying…and I’d tell myself to be more personable and to put myself out there.”
Our last student to share her reflections on her first semester is Claire McGlinchey, an Advertising major from Media, PA.
One thing Claire didn’t expect to learn at college was fencing, “I joined the club on a whim near the beginning of the semester and it’s had a really great impact on me. I guess that just goes to show that there’s a lot more to college than academics,” she said.
Despite coming from a small town, Claire adapted rather quickly to her new environment.
“When I first got here, I found myself wishing I had chosen a more nature-infused college, but with time, I saw the lack of trees and green space as a fair trade-off for the exciting bustle and infinite possibilities offered by the city.”
For many students, going away to college is one’s first time away from home. Claire truly loves the new form of independence she has.
“The best part of being away from home is the ability to set my own curfew; there’s something so liberating about hanging out with my friend at two in the morning in the middle of the week.”
“I’ve noticed between my thirteen years in public school and my first few months of college is the way my academics meld into my personal life. I think that’s just a natural part of living on campus. Everywhere simultaneously feels like my classroom and my home…I find I have deeper intellectual conversations much more frequently here than I ever did at home.”