First Year, First Term, First Finish

It’s Spring Semester here at Gustavus, which means most first-years  have all successfully finished our first their first-ever term of college.

A congratulations is in order, of course, so congrats to all my fellow first-years on a term hopefully well accomplished. There’s still many more to come, however, and it’s important to reflect on how this first term went before attempting to tackle all the other ones.

Although there’s still some time left before graduation, the first semester has a way of setting up how the rest of college may look for any one individual. It’s commonly thought  that the first term of college is the transition period between being dependent and becoming independent. It’s not a clear transition, and people go from one to the other at different paces, but it nearly always happens by the end of the first term on college.

Some people may have struggled more than others, and there are many reasons why that may have been. There’s the clear reasons of harder coursework than some students may be use to, or simply trying to tackle more than is actually possible. It also may have been a harder adjustment to that stage of independence for some coming to campus.

Personally, adjusting to life on campus was not hard for me, but it’s easy to recognize why it would be a difficult adjustment for many. Suddenly living far away from family- whom you were presumably around for the last 18 or more years – is a difficult task, and being surrounded by strangers, friendly as everyone here at Gustavus may be, does not make it much easier.

“There were a lot of ups and downs during the fall term but overall I can’t say it was bad, just stressful. Honestly it wasn’t really academic stress but just being in a new environment,” first-year Sydney Sutherland said. I know personally that before I managed to throw myself into uncomfortable situations in an attempt to make friends, I felt pretty awkward walking around campus and adjusting to the new environment myself.

Now that the semester is over, along with my first J-term experience, I am happy to say that I’ve really enjoyed studying here at Gustavus. There were some very stressful times, of course , but those stressful experiences have prepared me for future terms. “It was stressful but a good learning experience, learning the ropes and everything. I feel like it prepared me for the spring term, as well as future years here at Gustavus”, First-year Samantha Dalluge said.

Through all the stress, there are a ton of fun and unexpected things offered to do on and off campus. The courses offered to first-years who don’t know their major quite yet aren’t too bad either, but it’s easy to see how stressful it might be to have jumped right into heavy coursework and start  attacking your chosen major.

Overall, I’m happy to say that the first term of my college career was successful and I know a lot of people are quick to agree. Through the anxieties of coming to this new environment, people were able to become friends with one another and really jump into activities as well as academics. Of course, not everyone had a breezy first term, but those who struggled can always find help around campus to ensure this next term, as well as  future ones, aren’t as bad. Here’s to another semester on the hill, as well as many more to follow.