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January 16, 2008

Life as a College Freshman

    This week's Extra Ink was written by our intern Bridget Murphy, who is currently a Freshwoman at New York University

    Starting a new school can be really scary for a lot of people. Moving away from home and starting college is arguably the scariest time in a teenager's life. Having completed and survived my first semester away at college, I have come to learn a lot more than I expected out of my new educational experience. While I heavily anticipated home-sickness, I have quickly discovered that adapting to a new environment isn't as hard as I had originally expected. Attending the huge New York University with thousands of undergrads, in the heart of New York City, with no campus and Professors who, I thought, would care more about their published works than their students, seemed daunting, to say the least. Add on to all of this the fact that not only had I never spent more than a week away from home, knew no one at NYU, and was about to live with four other girls from around the country in a dorm that housed more than 600 freshmen. To say that I was terrified would have been an understatement.

    But, despite the large student body, I have come to find that everyone is in some way connected, either through mutual friends or interests, and it is impossible not to get to know people you can connect with instantly. And while the lecture halls are very large, each class with over 50 students has a "recitation section" in which Teaching Assistants help explain readings and are able to give a more personal classroom feel.

    While moving in to my new room, I was petrified of my new roommates. Not only did I hope they would like me, but I also worried that they were much more independent than I was. Having lived with them for the past four months, I have learned that they aren't so scary. While we're not best friends, our living situation is nearly ideal. We all get along very well, and are able to support each other through the ups and downs of college life away from home. Our suite has become a very comfortable "home away from home."

    Although NYU seems to lack a campus, it is actually one of the largest college campuses I have ever seen. While it doesn't contain the whole city, the campus's center encompasses about a 10-block radius around Washington Square Park. Our large, open campus provides for many different types of campus events. Whether it is a speech from Barack Obama, a union strike, or multiple street performers battling for the attention of passersby, NYU's campus is full of life and excitement every minute of every day.

    Attending a large university should not scare people, it should rather excite and invigorate new students in an environment open to abundant opportunity. Having grown up in a very small town and attending a high school comprised of only 48 graduates, I chose a polar opposite university, and I'm glad I took a chance!

    P.S. In April Teen Ink is doing a special College issue, so send us your college essays, personal statements, or college reviews (or thoughts on college like the one above). Tell us about what it was like visiting a certain campus, or about how stressful or inspiring it is to apply to college. You can submit your work by clicking here.

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