Happy end of the seventh week! We are now approaching midterms, and flowing into the second half of the year where things are going to start ramping up.
As a junior English major, it is interesting to see the different workloads between majors, and within the same major. At this time last year, I was drowning in my work — constantly writing papers, taking tests and having to adjust to campus life. I transferred here in the fall, not knowing what to expect. Campus life was much different here than at the first university that I attended, granted that my first year in college was 100% online.
There is a bit of amusement when I hear all the freshmen complain about their workload: “class is pointless, I have too many tests, why do I even need to take science credits?” College has taught me how to mature at the snapping sound of fingers. I, too, was a freshman, but my experience was not exactly the same. My original major was Forensic Science and Law, so I was taking three science classes along with two labs. I was overwhelmed within the first two weeks of class, was struggling with how Covid-19 was being handled and was also struggling mentally. As a freshman, I was taking 18 credits. That is something that my advisor forced me to have, so I decided I was going to change that.
I will put it like this: I went to college in Pittsburgh, which is an eight hour drive from Philadelphia. The consequences that I faced were tough; I was away from home, and I had to make an impossible decision: to stick it out for the rest of the semester, or to live at home. For some freshmen, this may seem like an easy answer, but for others who struggle mentally, it is a tough decision to make, especially if the house you reside in is toxic.
You may be asking, “How does this tie into freshmen and midterms?” The answer is this: when you are forced into a major, as a freshman, it can make you feel powerless. The course load can become too much, and once you realize it, it is already midterms. If your heart’s not in it, then what is the point of trying? Freshmen are thrown into college, expected to know what they want and what they want to do with their lives. Sometimes, things do not work out. I learned that the hard way; I heard the harsh words of being considered worthless because I did not want to have a STEM major, because I knew the fluidity of the field of forensics. And I did not want that. Changing my major in freshman year was one of the best decisions I have ever made, and it is something that other freshmen should consider doing if they feel stuck in the mud.
I reflect on what it was like to be a freshman and how I was given a bad start. I did not like West Chester University at all, but after a year, I have grown to enjoy this place. The older I get, the more I see my younger sister in these freshmen, as she is a sophomore in high school. I know that it is hard, but you have to give yourself room to breathe. You do not have to have everything figured out in your first year of college, and you do not have to do a million things at once. Live in the moment and take things slowly. It sounds impossible, but it is not, if you know how to balance yourself. Reach out to your professors and ask for more time if needed, or if you can do assignments for extra credit.
College is not meant to be easy, but as long as you give it your best, then that is all that matters. Sometimes it is easier said than done, but it is possible. You just have to put your head to it. Setting your priorities straight is another impossible decision, but it is one that is beneficial. Being your own top priority is the first step to bettering yourself.
Kayla Redfern is a third-year English major with a women’s and gender studies minor. KR983550@wcupa.edu