The Power of Choice

Being a senior in high school, I am at an interesting point in my life. For the first time, I have the freedom to make my dreams a reality. Growing up, you can dream but cannot do. When you become an adult you can do, but cannot dream. As a child I always wanted to be a ballerina but obviously I wasn’t old enough to achieve my goal at a professional level. When I am an adult and have a family, I will (hopefully) have the means to afford to fulfill my wildest dreams (like attending New York Fashion Week) but leaving my (potential) young children behind or taking them with me would not be an option. I’ll be 18 soon, finally holding my high school diploma in my hand, and will be at the age where my only responsibility is making my dreams a reality. When I graduate from high school, I will no longer be a product of that environment. In fact, I will become a product of the environment of my choosing. The stress of senior year is beginning to set in. Picking the right college and being in the right environment is the key to achieving the success I ultimately want.

As a senior, I have accepted that my idea of what college is like isn’t true at all. The best way to figure out what college actually is like would be to talk to other college students.
I have recruited my friends, who are entering their freshman year of college, to write their first impression on college. I am excited to see if their opinions on college stay the same throughout the year or if they change. The first of this series is from Maggie Chaquette, a freshman at Georgetown University. Be sure to follow Maggie on Twitter (@_magaritaville) and on Instagram (@Mangochaq).
Maggie at her Convocation
There are so many rites of passage that we go through as we grow up. They start off as mundane, cute things—losing your first tooth, learning how to ride a bicycle, your first day of school. But then they become more significant—the first day of high school, prom, applying to colleges, and graduation. What happens after that, going away to college, is perceived as the ultimate mark of the end of our childhood. Having just started this massive transition myself, I’m so happy to share with all of you what the first week of college is like.
            The main thing that I will tell you is that absolutely nothing can truly prepare you for college life. Even if you have family or friends with you, everything will be new and different, and more than likely super intimidating. Some deal with the total change in pace better than others. One thing I have learned is that you can always rely on your family to help you adjust, no matter how far away they may be. To be honest, I thought I would be a lot more homesick than I am. It’s okay to just send quick “good morning” and “good night” texts, but it’s also okay to text or call throughout the day if that helps you. I’ve had to call my mom so many times about doing laundry or whether I should go to this or that event. While my parents can’t be so helpful when it comes to my college social life, they’re great for a little dose of home or life advice when I most need it.
Maggie’s adorable dorm room
            Of course, there have been ups and downs. I’m not going lie and tell you college classes are just like high school ones, because they’re not. For once having total control of your schedule, rather than having to take certain subjects, is great, but it’s also very tricky. Balancing courses and deciding what to keep or drop is no easy task. I’ve always been the type of girl who likes to figure things out on her own and not ask for help, but I’ve quickly learned that in college not only are upperclassmen and deans willing to help, but eager to. After receiving my syllabi and starting my first college assignments, I’ve definitely had moments of thinking, “What the heck am I getting myself in to?” But I know that while right now it’s all so overwhelming, within the next few weeks I’ll figure out what schedule works for me, what professors want, and then doing homework won’t take quite so long.
            One thing you’ve probably heard is that living in a dorm is likely the weirdest thing you’ll ever do, and I’m going to agree with that. Luckily, my roommate and I met through a “roommate dating service” that Georgetown has, and so we were able to choose each other and talk throughout the entire summer about getting ready for school and life in general. We had not, however, met until move-in day, and it is still an adjustment waking up every day in a room that’s surrounded by one hundred other freshmen. That’s another thing about living in a dorm. There are so many people around all the time. This can be fantastic when it comes to socializing. There’s always someone to talk to, walk to class with, go out with on weekends, or to go eat with. Dining halls, by the way, aren’t quite as bad as everyone makes them out to be. They get repetitive, but you can make it work by just getting a little creative. Also, don’t feel like you always have to go to the dining hall. I’d advise it for the first week because it’s a great way to meet new students from all grades and a common time to socialize, but it’s totally acceptable to go off-campus if there are some places around you or even to cook in the common room (which is also a great way to make friends, because people love free food if you make extra).
Maggie and her new friends at Georgetown 
But having so many people around can also be terrifying and even slightly annoying. It will definitely feel like some people have this big, solidified friend group. You may feel miserable because you don’t have your “group” yet, but the truth is, no one does. You’ll find the people who you share interests with and who like you for who you are in time. This past week I’ve met so many different people (and for sure struggled with remembering names) that I can’t wait to hang out with again. There will be people going out Thursday-Sunday nights. My advice, which I’ve struggled to deal with myself, is to not have FOMO (fear of missing out, for those of you who don’t know). It’s okay to stay in and do homework on a Saturday night, or to watch Netflix in your pajamas on Sunday afternoon. There’s also a good chance there will constantly be people talking, blasting music, singing, and screaming down your hallway. Enjoy it as a part of “the dorm experience”, but learn to engross yourself in your own music or conversation to tune others out, or go to the library if you’re the type who can only focus in total silence.  
            With all that being said, my first week of college has been absolutely incredible. I’ve become way more social than I ever was in high school, and surprisingly I’ve made deeper connections in a mere week than I did over the past four years. The last piece of advice I’d give all of you is to see college as a daring adventure. It’s one of the last times you’ll ever have the chance to completely reinvent yourself, to go out of your comfort zone, to try something totally new and either really succeed or fail miserably and laugh it off. Use college as a time to grow and find out who you are, but more importantly, discover who you can be.
Thank you for guest posting, Maggie!
While you’re experiencing new milestones in your life, stay true to who you are while keeping things covered up.


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