College First Impressions

Sunya Chay, Staff Writer

Aleja Perea-Ortiz, a psychology major studying for one of her classes. Courtesy of Aleja Perea-Ortiz.

With one semester under their belt, college life is not what many freshmen expected. Not only may it be a new experience for them, but with a pandemic happening, it made it harder for them to adjust and find their new “normal.” 

For Kaylah Tibbits, a mechanical engineering major, college was going to be a challenging but fun experience. “I thought that college was going to be harder but also more fun due to better time flexibility and just having a fresh start,” she said.

Tammy Abrew, an exercise science major, was also enthusiastic. “I thought it was going to be very exciting and full of new experiences. But that quickly changed once I got here since COVID made the experience new and challenging.”

While college life can bring a fresh start, it can also be expected to bring new challenges. “I thought college was going to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and my world was going to be completely changed,” said Aleja Perea-Ortiz, a psychology major. “However, I soon found out that although there were challenging moments, a lot of the professors and faculty at Saint Martin’s are really sweet and are willing to help you out with everything.” College can be hard when starting out. Most freshmen can find a groove and their first impressions may turn out to be a lot different than their initial thoughts.

“I found college to be a lot more laid back,” Perea-Ortiz explained. “I love that college puts more of an emphasis on topics high school shies away from such as racial inequality, gender inequality, and incorporates it into the class. Ultimately, college is honestly a lot less scary than I anticipated.” 

Kaylah Tibbits also highlighted how she was nervous starting college. “I was a bit nervous at first but now I feel pretty confident in my skills and what to expect. I feel like I’m able to stay motivated thanks to the friends I’ve made.” It turns out that college isn’t as scary as new students may think.

With their first impressions being slightly different than their initial thoughts, just a few weeks into spring semester, they’re able to finally get into a routine that works for them. “My first semester at SMU wasn’t great. I was in the middle of finding myself and being away from home for the first time. Thankfully, I was able to meet new people and make memories and it helped me get through it. However, I was able to find a routine that works for me and I am definitely busier this semester,” Abrew reflected. When it comes to making sure students stay on track, being able to find a reliable routine can help with motivation.

While their first semester was different than what they thought it would be, college can help develop skills that will be beneficial to them after they graduate. If there was one piece of advice that they would give to next year’s freshmen, it would have to be making sure to manage their time wisely. Doing so will help ensure they’re able to have more time to balance school with self-care, which is equally important.

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