When one first enters College, it can be a bit overwhelming. Where to start? There is so much surrounding you, yet you feel like a fish in an ocean, not knowing which school you belong to. The problem is that sometimes, college gets a bit ahead of itself, demanding too much from the attender and forcing relationships without giving them the necessary time to burgeon naturally.
College's first week is one of its highlights. The problem, however, is that it's so different from the rest of the experience that by the time you're halfway through the second semester, you wonder if you were even attending the same institution back then.
With merciless amounts of drinking (about half of it probably of the underage variety), you glean the impression that your liver is going to be doing two-a-weekends for your entire collegiate career. This isn't the case; there's actually much to do at college that doesn't involve drinking.
Eventually, as the first week ends and schoolwork becomes a necessity, you get stuck with your first choice as an attendee: is College a social forum or an academic forum?
This postulation seems difficult for many attenders to work out. In fact, whichever facet you choose to prioritize, you'll be under the impression on several occasions that you're doing it wrong. This leads to a lot of mentality changes over the course of your two semesters. Without stability, it's hard to say whether you're attending an academic or social institution; and as much as you'd like to claim it as both, college has sparse moments where it actually functions successfully as a socioacademic domicile. This leaves me apprehensive to label it a multidimensional maturational medium due to its lack of consistency to do this on a microcosmic level.
Eventually the workload steepens, and the general collegiate populace will glide down the spectrum from social enticement to become more academically attentive. Beautifully accompanying this is the atmospheric shift from summer through autumn into winter, serving as a sordid reminder that your thousands of dollars aren't going towards your friend groups, and that college isn't meant to be your playground.
On an extracurricular level, college succeeds where life's previous effort, High School, failed. It raises the stakes on the attender, raising the level of difficulty in the process, without dropping — and, in fact, increasing — the standard level of interest. There is a genuine feeling of productivity in the achievements of collegiate asides, as opposed to the apathy-chocked emptiness and general feeling that no one cares of the extracurricular activities in High School. Among others, "Student Media" and "Improvisational Comedy" are two of college's biggest hits, along with other more career-oriented clubs. The relationships formed in these extracurriculars at first tend to feel forced, but eventually gain legs, leading to solid new found companionship.
Overtoning the experience of College is the feeling that what the attendee is doing has a sincere and prevalent effect on their future, inclining them to take seriously and cherish intimately the opportunities they are handed. This adds an exhilarating aspect to further separate this effort from High School, and is definitely an element that was missing in earlier life efforts such as the feel-good Middle School.
In spite of this, many choose to spend college fraternizing (or sororitizing?) and drinking and hooking up with strangers for some good, clean (fingers-crossed, anyway) fun. This is certainly one route that can be taken with college, speaking to its versatility and openness to interpretation. Others, meanwhile, will throw away financial aid money attending every music group that claims to be good that comes to town, also a viable way to spend four years.
The drinking in college doesn't stop, but merely slows, stirs and speeds. After the first week, when seemingly everybody is waiting to hand you free beer, you work out relationships and establish your connections to enfranchise your illegal habits. Look out for cops though, and don't carry large wooden objects, or you'll have a $300 ticket like my stupid, stupid roommate.
"Thanksgiving Break," the long-winded odyssey "Winter Break" and party and dancing themed "Spring Break" provide a three-part respite from the traditional grind of the college experience. Because of this, College doesn't quite flow as well as it could if it cut down on some of the extra malarkey. "Finals" and its reprise, "Really Finals" punctuate each semester, giving college an epic ending showing that it was going for more of an academic feel all along.
This is a nice tidbit to figure out, but one that you learned too late to save your grades. Especially your Journalism class, which is embarrassing, because that's what you're trying to do with your life.
Overall, college is a spellbinding experience, and one that should be as fully explored as possible by its attenders. Despite striving for too much at certain junctures, it rolls along quite nicely and should provide a great experience for me for years to come.