The Folly of Freedom

Kaitlyn Travis is an alum of SUNY Purchase, where she received her B.A in Literature. She currently is a poetry-writing bartender/personal therapist. In her spare time, she creates macabre drawings, explores the wilderness, and likes to read anything from Fyodor Dostoevsky to Stephen King.

Freshmen: welcome to the the new totem pole of living. Mom and Dad are tucked away into the far corners of the Earth. You are now an autonomous creature. No one is going to hold your hand (but in all honesty, one day you will miss the direct guidance). The rapture of this new freedom fills your flood gates with joy. The wide and uncharted expanse known as college awaits your carbon foot prints.
But once you set foot into the “adult world”, your stock in personal responsibility rises. Try not to interpret this freedom as you choosing to skip out on class whenever the mood strikes (especially those god awful morning classes—how can they expect your to function that early?) It will be tempting to sleep in, now that you don’t have Mom or Dad acting as your alarm clock. Plus, no one is going to call your family to ask why you pulled a Ferris Bueller.
College might also introduce you to this substance known as “alcohol.” If you have never consumed it before, you will quickly learn its potency and why it should be treated with caution. KNOW YOUR LIMITS. I cannot stress this enough. It does not take much to turn an innocent, fun time into a living nightmare. You are the one who knows your body best—do not lose control of it to mindlessness. College is a time to become more self-aware and to learn who to trust. Strip yourself of naivete and play it smart.
My advice: do not give into the Bacchus lifestyle too too often. Everything is fine in moderation—a break from the stress of studying here and there is definitely warranted (just wait until you get your first taste of mid-terms). It is important to have fun while you’re learning. Your time spent at college will become some of the best years of your life; you will make life-lasting friendships, experience self-discovery and personal growth, and have priceless memories from the bizarrely-themed events your classmates plan.
However, try to recall that you are LITERALLY paying for your schooling. Additionally, you are solely responsible for completing your work load. Your professors are not going to force you to do your homework. They will not set up study guides and review every detail of their lectures with you (unless your professor has a benevolent soul). Most refuse to accept late assignments. Some might even automatically fail you for skipping class a couple of times. Every time you slack off, decide to have a mid-week hangover, or fail a class, you are essentially throwing away your own money and valuable time.
Remember the main reason for your going to away to school: receiving a life-changing and credible education. College is the major stepping stone to finding your career path and ultimately discovering the type of person you want to become. Have fun while achieving your goals, but do not waste this opportunity foolishly. Freedom has both its rewards and its consequences—be sure to handle it responsibly. You’re a big kid now.

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