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BG Falcon Media

Independent student content

BG Falcon Media

Independent student content

BG Falcon Media

The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Embrace college experience, lifestyle

“Freshman year gets better — I promise.”

The bathroom stall graffiti of Olscamp Hall usually displays snarky messages or anonymous pleas for help. But this week, the barren, freshly painted walls had only this one message to bear.

I could completely relate. Recalling my first days at the University produces a mental image that’s hardly picturesque.

While classmates paraded about campus chanting foreign phrases like “roll along” and “ay ziggy zoomba,” I sat in a heap in Harshman residence hall, tears streaming down my cheeks.

I was a University freshman, just like the 4,000 or so of you who arrived last week. But, unlike a majority of college newcomers, I was anything but excited.

Before I even arrived on campus, I made a hasty decision: I hated it here.

The University stripped away the familiarity of my hometown, Sandusky, Ohio. It separated my boyfriend and I by 60 miles. It depleted my bank account as I purchased overpriced books and attended classes that didn’t matter.

Orange-and-brown clad students bombarded me daily with what I considered faux school spirit. Their cheerfulness was gag-inducing to me.

“No one is that excited about attending college,” I cynically thought about the self-declared University ambassadors. “Maybe college parties, but not college. This is stupid.”

I didn’t want to listen to their advice. I didn’t want to admit they might know more than me about this “college experience” everyone was raving about. I just wanted to get in, get my journalism degree and get out.

Oh, how things have changed — it’s almost laughable. If you spot me on campus today, you’ll notice I too radiate an abundance of gag-inducing love for this University.

And no, it’s not just because of our raging college parties (although, I’ll admit, they are pretty awesome). It’s because, after a semester or so, I opened my mind and I started listening to those self-declared University ambassadors.

I became involved in campus organizations like The BG News. I stepped out of my residence hall and into other buildings for study groups and for first-year events. I learned it’s OK to expand your friendship group outside of high school classmates and your roommate.

In the process, I met my best friends and grew into a well-rounded person. I’m so glad I did.

Freshmen, as you can tell from my tale, I’m the last person who will tell you how to spend your first weeks at the University. I’m not going to tell you to feel happy if you’re not happy. I’m not going to tell you to get excited if you’re not excited.

And if you haven’t warmed up to college yet, don’t worry — you have at least four years to get used to it.

I simply want to leave you with one instruction as you continue forward: Keep an open mind. Judge hastily, like me, and you might miss opportunities you can’t get back.

As new freshmen move in each year, upperclassmen are overjoyed. You bring energy, enthusiasm and fresh ideas, and we also see a bit of ourselves in you.

We want to ensure you have fun; that’s why we’re so apt to come up to you and brag about our wonderful campus for hours at a time. We’re excited for your fresh start here — the friends you will meet, the things you will learn and the memories you will make.

As your journeys begin, mine is nearing its end. In less than four months, I will graduate and start seeking a job as a newspaper reporter. It’s bittersweet.

Although I convinced myself I would never grow attached to this land of blustery winds, feisty squirrels and fight songs without real words, it happened. It will probably happen to you, too.

The bathroom stalls in Olscamp Hall tell no lies — it does get better.

Three years ago, tears streaked my cheeks after I left my hometown. The scene seems so distant now because I know an imminent, ironic scene will eclipse it in my mind.

When I walk across the Stroh Center stage this December, I’m certain I’ll wipe countless tears from my face as my life changes again.

This time, the changes will be even more drastic, as I’ll say farewell to the only place I can now truly call home — this University.

Respond to Alissa at

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