Monday, October 19, 2009

Collin's First Impressions

It’s only been a month since I first came to Macalester, yet it feels like I’ve lived here for a much much longer time. This place has already taught me so many valuable things, and everyday there’s something new and exciting for me to experience and learn. It’s the kind of college life that I’ve always wanted, and I feel fortunate that I was able to find a school so wonderfully in tune with my passions and interests.

But it wasn’t always like that.

The prospect of college was exciting for me. Over the summer I read up on a vast amount of literature over the courses and programs offered at Macalester. Each subject, each word, seemed to strike a chord with me, and I knew, even before coming here, that it was the right place for me. However, another side to this life remained hidden, and only revealed itself when I first stepped foot on campus. It was the new, terrifying, and incredibly potent feeling of homesickness.

The first three weeks were some of the most difficult of my life. With the novelty of college came loneliness, anxiety, and depression. There were days where I was tempted to call home and get a ride straight back to Nebraska. But there were professors, councilors, and doctors here that helped me weather the storms of my chaotic emotions, and approaching them, I feel, was the best decision I could have ever made.

I’m not saying this to scare off new students. Moving away from home and becoming immersed in the autonomy of adulthood is an essential step for anyone to take, though that doesn’t make it any easier. It’s important to know that people deal with these feelings in different ways, and some are hit harder than others; but it’s also a fact that you are never alone. College, after all, is a heavy adjustment for everyone, with so many new things being thrown at students all at once.

Growing pains are a natural part of change, and the key is that there is growth. One week or two weeks ago I may have said differently, but today I support the notion that persevering will benefit you more than you could ever dream of. A college can become your new home with time, just as Macalester is becoming home for me.

So look forward to your time here, but recognize that coming to college is an adjustment that takes time. Remember why you decided to pursue your education in the first place, and always remind yourself that no matter how hard things can be, they will get better, and the realization will set in that you wouldn’t trade your time here for the world.