My First Semester of College: By Teen Contributor Riley Jensen
Many of you have watched Riley grow up here at TLT and some of you actually helped us pay for her to go to Ohio University this first year with your generous donations. Today, she is writing and sharing with us all a bit about what that first semester in college was like.
I just got finished with my first semester of college and as some of you may know, it was really stressful. I got through the semester with my lowest grade being a B-, but there is still a lot that happened that I was not at all expecting. In addition to all the changes and a new environment, I started my first semester of college just having lost my grandfather, in the midst of a deadly global pandemic, and right before finals my childhood dog passed away. I loved college, but there was a lot of stuff that nobody prepared me for.
First of all, I got sick. A lot. It wasn’t Covid thankfully, but it was very annoying. I know it wasn’t Covid because the college had strict mandates and I tested whenever I came down with symptoms. They made it pretty easy to test. I don’t know if it was because I wasn’t taking the proper precautions or because I was living in close proximity with a bunch of people who went out nearly every night. Also, going to class sick is not fun. I thought I could make it through the first semester without getting sick, but I was sorely mistaken. I did learn one very important thing though: keeping Mucinex around is always a good idea because walking to CVS when your lungs are dying is not enjoyable.
Also, nobody is going to follow “quiet hours” at all. There is probably going to be someone at 1:00 in the morning talking about how annoyed they are with someone, which just made me annoyed with them. The RA’s didn’t really do anything about this, so now I can sleep through nearly anything. Those walls are thin, and there was a lot of stuff that I was like, “hmm that sounds an awful lot like,” you get the idea.
Then, there’s the drunk people. So many drunk people. There was one night where four people were just lying in the middle of the hallway and I had to step over their bodies to get to the bathroom. I was not expecting that many people to constantly be drinking, but it was definitely a thing that people did. This was definitely a new experience for me.
In the midst of all the negative aspects though, there was so many positive aspects that none of the negative mattered. I have grown to look forward to craft nights on Thursday and brunch on Sundays. I have made close friends, one of them is even my roommate, and we go to dinner together whenever we can. Walking by the pond, mostly to see the deer that are all around campus, is now therapeutic for me and going to the Family Dollar brings me so much joy.
Also, there’s so many places that are within walking distance. My friend and I even found a little antique store and so many boutiques that we spent a whole day looking at when both of us realized that we needed to get out of our dorm. Those happy moments make me believe that I am truly at the right place.
Mostly, it was a pretty amazing first semester for me, and I learned a lot of important stuff like, don’t schedule two lectures right after one another because you will not want to do anything after it and labs that go until 9:00 at night are the worst. I’m very glad that I get to have this opportunity though because I know that some people don’t. So, I’m going to continue trying my best, even though some days it feels like just going to class will make me lose my mind.
Riley Jensen is a Freshman majoring in Forensic Chemistry at Ohio University. She loves the academics and is so excited to finally be doing some amazing STEM classes. She is an avid YA reader and has been writing for TLT for almost 10 years now.
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About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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