Freshman Year:Recap and Reflections

For those of you looking for a distraction from work, I hope I can be of some assistance…

This being the last week of classes I have taken some time to look back on my year and put together a little recap/reflection. I hope to look back on this 3 years from now when I am graduating and see how far I’ve come and hopefully see that my writing skills have improved too.

The Beginning

The hot and humid day I moved in was filled with excitement and a bit of anxiousness. My mom, brother, and aunt made the trek down from Jersey to help move me in and as quickly as we arrived, my family left and I found myself sitting in Seaco chatting with other freshman and their families. There were plenty of activities during the first few days in attempts to bring us all together as a freshmen class, but most of us wanted to find someplace air-conditioned so we wouldn’t wither away.

My Roommate: Although we are two completely different people we made great roommates. Some of that may be due to the fact that she was practically living in someone else’s dorm the first semester but, we talk and generally like each other. Actually she likes to talk and I like to listen so it is a good combination for the both of us 🙂 Living with someone who is in many ways my opposite has taught me several things and I would like to think I have become less judgmental and more willing to talk to people who don’t necessarily share my same interests. We shared a lot of laughs and I learned some fun new slang, eg “Did you see that bunny? He totally sweats you! I totally fried his duck friend earlier so now the bun won’t speak to me, that’s the dirt!”. Even though I am pretty sure we won’t be close friends after this year I am still grateful to have had the chance to room with someone I probably would not have picked to live with if I had been given the choice.

First Day of Classes: Much like my first day of high school I can only remember my first class of the day. Coincidentally, in high school my first class was a history class and at Mary Wash it was also a history class. I nervously entered Monroe Hall praying that Banner did not have a major malfunction and was sending me to the wrong place. After quadruple checking the room number I quickly found a seat and hoped to hear some people say something about American History to indicate I was indeed in the right class. If I recall correctly Dr. McClurken went around the room and had us say our names and what kind of history we were interested in. It was only my first class and I was already having a mini-panic attack, hoping I would remember how to speak English when it was my turn. ‘Maybe I should have gone to a college for mutes?’ Of course in retrospect the reaction is a little ridiculous but then again, I’m a little ridiculous.

And The Rest: I was going to write a little bit about each of my classes, but I realized that I honestly did not have much to say about most of them. There were little things in each class that I enjoyed learning but, I wasn’t sure that warranted me writing it all out. I have a lot to say about one class, which you think would make it really obvious that I had interests in it and perhaps should major in it, but I had to have someone point that out to me. I’m quite good at missing the obvious. So I wrote down some thoughts about the class that does involve my major.

American History to 1865: Even though American History pre-1865 is not my favorite part of American History, the class was still enjoyable (and I swear I am not saying this just because Dr. McClurken reads my blog). In most history classes in high school I had managed to avoid primary source documents, but to no avail in this class. There were times (late Thursday nights) I wanted to shoot myself because I didn’t care what the third pilgrim from the right had to say. Now that I think back, I realize that the primary source readings did facilitate a better understanding of the time period. Wait, is that one of the ways historians know what even happens during the time period? Interpretation of primary source documents? One would think that connection would be clear but, somehow that fact eluded me until college. The one reading that struck me the most was the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. I had sort of read it back in high school but, did not care much about it and upon the second reading I felt much differently about it. I wondered how I could I have missed the passion and the power in Douglass’ words the first time around? It is the one book that I did not return or want to return after the semester was over. Oh, and of course Dr. McClurken’s outbursts and jokes were just an added bonus 😉

Ehem, so the first semester continued on, day by day, class by class. English class tormented me, students on campus were not my type of people, and college food was getting monotonous; I was sure I was going to transfer to any college as long as it was outside of Virginia. Harsh? Maybe a little, but there were bright spots. FSEM kept things interesting, friends became closer, new episodes of CSI, Young Life, and sending off sarcastic questions/comments for the weekly discussion in history (and when some questions/comments eventually made it into the discussion) were a few things that kept me from catching the next bus to Mexico. By the end of the semester I was drained. My education, for the most part, was unexciting and I was sure I was never going to be able to decide on a major, ever. Depressing? Exactly.

Have no fear though, my second semester has been different. So stay tuned to hear the happy side of this year and I promise part two will have a little more reflecting.

ETA: Some of you might have noticed I didn’t really talk about the FSEM, well I think I have talked about that class plenty. So I’m not quite sure what more I could say about it, plus a lot of the beneficial things that came out of the FSEM came from my reflection on the class during my second semester.


4 Responses to “Freshman Year:Recap and Reflections”

  1. 1 Dr. C. April 26, 2007 at 9:56 pm

    Looking forward to the next episode! Rock on.

  2. 2 J. McClurken April 28, 2007 at 11:33 pm

    I’m looking forward to the next one too. And not just because you wrote nice things about my class…. 🙂

    [I still find the words of Douglass moving after nearly a decade teaching it….]

  3. 3 Prof.G April 29, 2007 at 9:49 am

    A couple of comments in order of importance to me:

    1. “Some of you might have noticed I didn’t really talk about the FSEM…” You should always blog about what you feel, not what you think other people want to hear. You know that. I know that. No offense taken. FSEM did what it was supposed to for you.

    2. “I realize that the primary source readings did facilitate a better understanding of the time period. Wait, is that one of the ways historians know what even happens during the time period? Interpretation of primary source documents? One would think that connection would be clear but, somehow that fact eluded me until college.” You’re ahead of most college students in that you got it as a freshman. College professors more often than not assume that students understand things that are obvious to them. The point you raised is one of those things. Another is highlighted by Gerald Graff in his book Clueless in Academe: How Schooling Obscures the Life of the Mind. Read it this summer.

  1. 1 History Got Me Hooked « Loaded Learning Trackback on October 2, 2011 at 6:55 pm

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