Stepping Out and Looking Back

Indiana Nash, Editor-in-Chief

Prior to attending college, I was under the impression that the experience would be akin to summer camp with a ton of work and sleepless nights thrown in. I also assumed that, like most summer camps, I wouldn’t have control over my schedule and that every day would be exhausting. Yet, I was looking forward to it.

At the conclusion of my third year here at SUNY Oneonta, I’ve come to realize that there really is no universal college experience. There is no specific way that these four years have to go. Much of my life here has been a self-made road, complete with random obstacles and challenges, as well as moments of brilliant speed and smoothness. Forgive the metaphor, but it works so I’ve no choice but to use it (plus, the semester is coming to a close and time is more precious than ever around here).

Every semester has, in a way, felt like an entirely different year. There never fails to be new people to befriend, new professors to be taught by, new material to pile into our brains and new experiences to be had. This is what I will miss the most about college—if you don’t like how things are going, wait a little while; they will change faster than you’d think. College is a safe environment to make a few mistakes and figure out where you are the most comfortable. It’s the place to figure out where you stand on big issues like women’s rights and the recent Common Core debate. But it’s also a place to learn how to deeply get to know other people who are from a completely different place and frame of mind than you. After all, where else will you be able to meet so many people who are completely out of your career field? This may sound simplistic, but being exposed to people who do not necessarily share your perspective is an important and challenging experience.

Yet another lesson learned from my three years here is the importance of family. For many, freshman year is such a scary experience simply because it takes time to find your niche and the people who you most feel akin to. Prior to finding this, the year can be a bit tough. Much of life is figuring out who is important and who to hold on to. Since it takes time to not only find those people, but to grow close to them, you have to be patient through the journey. I have found many “families” here: my freshmen year family is still happily intact and I gained a new one sophomore year that I also love dearly. Then, of course, there is my State Times family. Through them, I’ve found my “niche” and met some of the most hard-working and truly hilarious people on-campus. I will miss them quite a bit next year.

This may have sounded a bit random and pensive, but there are a few morals to the ramble which the reader would be the wiser to heed. If college is getting rough and you’re not quite sure what to do­—buckle down and wait a little while. Your circumstances will probably change within the next week. If you are enjoying college, appreciate it but always be prepared for the future. Next, figure out who your family is. Obviously, never forget your biological one (how long has it been since you last called home anyways?), but also don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and create a new group for yourself. These people will be with you throughout your four years here and most likely for years beyond that. Enjoy your time here and don’t forget just how quickly it will pass.

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