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Commentary: First semester in college comes with overwhelming stress, but joy

January 5, 2014

miles.217@osu.edu

It’s strange to think that one-eighth of my time at Ohio State is behind me.

A large part of this first semester felt like a sudden submergence into a new lifestyle with new struggles and triumphs. And now that I reminisce over the not-so-distant past, it seems that these crests and troughs were a product of this sudden submergence. It’s all rather mind-numbing, too.

The main reason, arguably, most of us are here (although it is often forgotten) is to be able to successfully comprehend class material. It is safe to say that my classwork and studying for this first semester have required more effort than I have ever put into any previous schoolwork, or really anything at all.

Quickly following this increase of work, unfortunately, were heaps of intermittent stress, which usually sprung up around midterms and major deadlines that were difficult to meet. But this is all just what college is, and I’m sure every upperclassman would agree it’s just a part of the experience, and with more experience comes composure.

My ability to handle these overwhelming moments, however, has noticeably improved thus far, so I’m actually feeling much more positive about my capability to handle the Spring Semester’s workload better.

While I might have found this simple, day-to-day, week-to-week, routine of assignment completion and review of in-class notes as a stressful experience, it actually seemed trivial at the end of the semester. As an undecided first-year student, I value the ideas of self-discovery and personal evaluation and how they relate to “big picture” questions and concerns.

Yes, it is stressful to study for midterms, write papers, and to stay up late doing so, but the concern that looms over my shoulders, underlying all of the struggles and joys of the semester, is the task of mapping out my future.

It feels like one day I was sitting in a high school class, and the next day I was expected to know what I “wanted to do with my life,” a question that I have yet to answer.

It might seem like I find this all very unfair, this system of (relatively) quick decision-making, but I actually think it’s quite all right. It has forced me to actually question, think about and develop every angle and aspect of my life.

That’s enough talk about work and seriousness for my liking.

While I enjoyed and appreciated the academic side of my first semester, specifically the expertise and wisdom I have see in my professors, there have been many more meaningful experiences that made me keep my head above water.

It has truly been a pleasure to meet the people I have met thus far, and an even greater pleasure to start and develop relationships that will surely be long lasting. I think this is the facet of the experience that I value most, and will be what I value most when I look back after graduation. It is this part of my first semester that makes knowing I have seven more an absolute treasure of mine.


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