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Sunday, May 28, 2023

Letter from the Editor

Letter from the Editor: College is one small step in the process

Michael Slaten With college around the corner for incoming freshmen, it's good to think about how much you'll grow in one year as a Cougar. College is just one step of the process in your life. | Trevor Nolley/The Cougar

With college around the corner for incoming freshmen, it’s good to think about how much you’ll grow in one year as a Cougar. College is just one step of the process in your life. | Trevor Nolley/The Cougar

College might be the biggest change incoming freshmen have had in their lives. There’s so much to worry about and many unknowns ahead. 

But take it easy. College is just one step in the process for anyone.

Some students will have it all figured out. They know what classes they are taking and what career they want. Others, and I speculate most, have no clue what they’re doing. 

There’s value to both. With the former, you can more easily plan your next steps, and with the latter, you can be fickle and change your mind if something new sparks your interest. 

I came into college with my eyes firmly set on graduation. My first semester I said all the time, “I can’t wait to graduate.”

Once my close friend settled into college, he figured he wanted to take five, six years to graduate. That couldn’t be further from what I, or any academic adviser, would want. Neither of our approaches are wrong. You have to determine what works for you.

Ask around if someone is certain they know what they want to do after college. It’s a lot to ask a young adult to seemingly plan out their life now.

You and I aren’t planning out our whole lives now, we’re just planning our time in college. What we do after can easily change, and that’s OK.

Ups and downs in college won’t be permanent. School work will get tough, jobs will get tough, your relationships with friends may even get tough. How much of that will matter in a year, 10 years?

Not much, if at all. 

Take solace in that what you do now, while important, isn’t going to ruin your life if things go south. You’ll have ample time and extra chances to stay on the path you want for yourself.

At the end of your first year in college, think back of everything you’ve learned. You came in not understanding calculus, and now you can take the derivative of anything. Or, you struggled. You came up short and didn’t pass a history course in the fall. Now when you’re taking it in the spring, you’ve learned a lot of the course already and know where you erred. 

It may not appear this way, but nothing that will happen in your first year of college will ruin any long-term plans you have.

That freshman you were when college began will seem dumb to you in a year. That’s because of all the accomplishments and mistakes you made in a year. You grew.

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