First Steps to a New Start


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Students gather around Duncan to celebrate the start of classes

Amira Cooper, Staff Editor

Entering college, a transitional step that we all face in our lives, is a time of vulnerability, change, and discovery. However, as the environments and circumstances change, so do the perspectives. Detecting these changes is simple, all it takes are a few conversations with fellow freshmen to figure out how they feel. The first week is the telltale sign of how college might play out, so I asked about it specifically. From my perspective, I knew that my college experience would be different from high school and I was honestly scared. Fortunately, I found out that I was not the only one.

It is a natural reaction for people to be scared or nervous about something new, so it should not have been a surprise when I discovered the truth. From the freshmen I conversed with, having anxiety about college was a common feeling. We all thought it would be difficult and scary, but college is not what we expected at all.

Andrea Dinh, a student at HCC, has shared how her first week went. “I thought my first week was going to be really hard, and just that my impression of college was going to be extremely difficult and different from high school. It really isn’t that hard or different,” she said. “There were actually a lot more students attending here than I thought, but also there was a wide range of age differences. I’m surprised that there are still immature people though.”

For Andrea, it was comforting knowing that her first week was not as difficult as people made it seem. Another factor that helped to calm Andrea and her peers was the fact that there were many students attending HCC that she could relate to. Being surrounded by people of the same age or people with a higher level of maturity can project a sense of security and serenity in one’s self. Others, like Carina Thornton, agree with Andrea on the fact that making new friends in their classes was easier than when they were in high school because people were more open about common interests.

Carina also introduced the friendliness of everyone on campus by saying “I expected to not make any friends, but reached out to classmates and noticed that we have a lot in common. I was surprised by how nice and helpful everyone is, and I’m excited and nervous for what is to come.”

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Students learning, teacher teaching


We live in a society where we can be surrounded by negativity every day, but the freshmen have expressed how college campuses provide a healthy and positive community that excites them for what is to come in the future.

From the freshmen I spoke to, none of them spoke about being stressed much. However, one student did. Helen Bertot, another student at HCC, shares the same perspectives of Carina and Andrea. She expressed how excited she is for what is to come and what she will experience during her college life. Unfortunately, she was expecting her week to be stressful and it was, but not in the way that most people think.

“I thought the first week was going to be kind of stressful. Overall, the only stressful thing was trying to find parking. This led to me being very late,” she said.

The fact that parking is the most stressful thing in Helen’s life shows that college is not as horrific as society portrays it. What all of the freshmen have in common, other than our first week experiences and feelings, is that we easily believed what our peers, family, the media, society, and more had to say about college and their experiences. I am not saying that college is easy by describing these freshmen experiences. I am trying to convey that different people have different experiences and feelings when something in their lives changes.

In this case, our school and, for some people, home, transitioned to a new environment and a new community. The freshmen I interviewed had similar feelings and experiences, but that does not mean that they will continue to share these similar aspects. Entering college is similar to going on a journey. You are picking a path and following it, no matter how nervous you are. However, that path is subject to change, it is not concrete, but that is how life works. We might have life planned out from beginning to end, but we can only take it step-by-step because we do not know what to expect. Not knowing is what adds the excitement and anticipation that we desire in our daily lives.

The first week went well, but weeks to come might not and that is okay. Enjoy each day in a positive light and be excited for what is to come because remember, what you expect it to be might not be what it seems to be.