All Up to You

Hello, everyone! I am Megan Danjul, and I am currently an undergraduate student at The University of Texas at Arlington pursuing Nursing as my major. Although it’s barely been the first semester of my freshman year here, I thought that I might share some of the many things I’ve experienced within the first few months of college. My transition and adjustment from high school to college wasn’t difficult, but I did, however, notice and experience their huge differences.
The environment was the first thing that made me feel like a newly hatched butterfly. I felt so vulnerable, you know? It’s like one of those moments where the choices that life offers become so infinite that the slightest deviation directs you elsewhere and lands you in a completely different place in comparison to the path next to you that you could have taken in the beginning. I had the freedom to do whatever, whenever, wherever I pleased. These choices suddenly opened up, each acting like little kindergarteners screaming, “Pick me! Pick me! No! Pick me!” Growing up, my parents were constantly by my side telling me what to do and what not to do. Like any other student in any college, we’ll all tell you the same: “There’s no one to remind you what to do.” Right before I entered college, I also asked my older friends for advice. They gave me similar advice, but I never really gave their opinions much thought until I actually stepped onto campus. In a place where you make the decision to whether to go to class, where your acquaintances are from your making, where you can decide when you want to eat, life sounds awesome because you’re in control—or so it seems. In reality, such a place filled with great freedom is also filled with great responsibility. As eighteen year olds, we are considered adults. No longer children, we must take responsibility for our actions. Well, you might ask, everything here is quite conceptual, and it’s not that tangible. Why I say this, is because I asked that same question (as a high school student). Say, for example, today is Wednesday and I have a Chemistry exam next Monday. I have the choices to begin reviewing and studying now, or cram the information the night before the exam. The slightest choices I make (the day I decide to begin studying) will have an impact on the grade I make on that exam.
Another thing about college that differs from high school is that you get to know yourself better. Growing up, my parents have always told me that they know me better than I know myself. But just in these past three months, I have learned so much about myself, I might know a little more than they do. When faced with so many things to do at once, you can’t possibly call up your parents for help and advice for every single dilemma that pops up. There are times where you simply need to clear your mind, to thoroughly consider your options, and to pick the choice that best solves the situation. Let’s face it—you wake up every morning and you’re already solving problems. There may be people you need to talk to, appointments you need to make, essays you need to write, research you need to do, the list is endless. You learn to observe yourself and others in certain situations, so that both parties don’t make the same mistakes. When no one’s looking, what decisions are you going to make? College isn’t only about meeting new people, it’s also learning who you really are.
Choosing friends might seem simple enough. The mentality of: “Oh I’ll just hang out with all the nerds and then I’ll get good grades!” is an illusion. Going into college, you need to be prepared in that your goals need to be set, and your eyes fixed on the prize while running after it. My point isn’t that you should be antisocial. My point is, that, to be successful in college, you need to manage your time well. That means you’ll have to learn to say “no” some events. I have some classmates who break under peer pressure, and unless they learn to improve on this personal aspect, the cycle of “eat, sleep, rave, repeat,” will never end.
I know that I make college life sound like a nuisance, but it’s just all a matter of some individual adjustment and more introspection. College gives us the potential to successfully learn to fly and it gives us the potential to build unhealthy lifestyles. Every decision you make will deviate you more and more towards a more definite direction. Think of this not as a linear plane; think of it as a dynamic and infinite dimension with infinite possibilities, where you can shape your future by simply thinking over your choices thoroughly. The choice is yours.

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