First Semester of College Reflection

As I walked through the glossy hotel lobby, I hastened to the front desk to print next year’s housing forms before the upcoming deadline. My sense of urgency contrasted with the twinkling Christmas trees, the grand voice of Frank Sinatra, and the sound of busy Chicago traffic.

Oh, you go to U of I? Some of my best friends went there!” asked the receptionist.

“Yeah, I finished my finals a couple of days ago,” I replied.

“How was your first semester?” she asked.

Trying to come up with something clever and brief to summarize the last few months of my life left me speechless for a moment. I couldn’t help but feel a wave of different emotions: disbelief over how fast the semester had passed, amazement about how many new things I learned, and excitement over trading studying for sightseeing in my favorite city.  

Despite how much my hometown college friends educated me about the life of a freshman, nothing could have fully prepared me for my first semester. Learning how to learn in college, living independently for the first time, and finding new friends were challenges that no one could have coached me on. Newsflash: College is really hard! I’ll be the first to admit that I FaceTimed my mom more than I ever have in the past few months—mostly to vent about my chemistry class, but also at 3 a.m. freaking out about a harmless bug on my bathroom wall I was too afraid to kill! Not to mention that, before college, I didn’t give much thought about the different professions within medicine; more rarely, ever been told that being pre-med may not be right for me.

Trusting the college process is hard, but it’s also wonderful! The challenges of college are what help students grow, not just as students, but as human beings too. It’s true, trying to stay on top of school workload can be exhausting sometimes and staying motivated to exercise is a REAL struggle. But there’s nothing better than sitting in class admiring how DNA replicates and the way Aspirin functions in the human body. Moments with friends, like walking to Kung Fu Tea on the coldest day of the year and having a The Bachelor viewing party until midnight (even though you have an 8 a.m. class the next day), is what makes the challenges worth facing. Not to mention, knowing that endless opportunities are ready whenever you are makes college feel a little less intimidating.

As the receptionist handed me the paperwork, I replied, “Very eventful!”




Class of 2022
My major is Molecular and Cellular Biology (more commonly and lovingly known as MCB) in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. I'm on the pre-med track—I’ve dreamed of becoming a doctor since I could spell the word!

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