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Freshman perspective: UMass Lowell after seven weeks

Meghan Driscoll
Connector Contributor 

Starting college is like trying a new food. Everyone can tell you different things about it, but you have to experience it for yourself. So, here I am, giving you my perspective of what it’s like to be a freshman this year at UMass Lowell.

Moving in to my residence hall, I had a wide range of mixed emotions, similar to every other freshman. I was sad about leaving my family back home, but, being so over high school, I was looking forward to a new life and a change of pace.

Move-in day was chaos, but when I finally made it up the six, long, tiring flights in Fox Hall (did I say tiring?), I discovered my new home would be on a renovated floor, one with air conditioning and heating. It was safe to say my college life was off to a great start.

Finally settled in, it was time to make friends – the most dreadful part of all. I contacted a friend I had met at orientation, and we met up. She brought her roommate along, I brought mine, and right off the bat, we were a group of four. Together, we celebrated the five days before classes began.

Finding where my classes were located the day before they started was extremely helpful. I figured if I could avoid the classic freshman acts like taking out a map, or walking aimlessly around campus, I could avoid anything.

The first day of classes was fine, but walking to them was a hassle, and crossing the streets was my main source of frustration. I wasn’t born and raised in a city, but I do know pedestrians shouldn’t walk across the street if cars have the green left arrow. Knowing that, I resisted peer pressure and patiently waited for the walk signal, obliterating the whole “I’m not a freshman” act. After about a week, I lost my patience. I’m now seven weeks in, and jaywalking has become one of my areas of expertise.

Somewhere around the second week mark, I had to face my biggest fear: eating alone. My friend, who had a class on South Campus, didn’t give herself enough time to eat breakfast at the dining hall with me. But I was hungry, so I walked in, acting all cool and casual, but trying to hide my tears at the same time. My sister, a sophomore at UMass Amherst, assured me that people eat alone at the dining hall all the time. Her words of encouragement made me feel a little better, but it didn’t cure the loneliness I felt in the two-person booth, nor prevent the pitiful stares I felt I was receiving from people that actually had a buddy to sit with.

People complain about dining hall food, but I don’t understand why. There’s always something readily available, unlike at my house where I’m either complaining we have no food or preparing the only dish I know how to: cereal. I really can’t complain about the dining hall, except that it’s costing me a fortune to have an unlimited meal plan.

College is much different from my public high school. First, I don’t have to wake up at an ungodly hour every day and then be forced to throw my coffee in the trash because of potential “spilling.” I no longer have to deal with the “can I/may I” situation after I ask to use the bathroom. My classes don’t continuously run from the crack of dawn to mid-afternoon. Instead, I have breaks, like a human being should be given. Unlike high school, I can’t slack my way through college. There’s no more faking sick, getting unexcused absences, tardies, and dismissals. I am well aware that I’m paying to be here. If I want to pay to sleep and eat all day, I’m wasting my time, and I’m also an idiot. I make it my first priority to get up, go to classes, and complete my work on time.

Being part of the Business Innovation LLC has definitely helped me. Every class I take has one of my floor mates, so if I’m ever in need of help on an assignment, they’re down the hall. I love my floor because everyone’s outgoing and easy to get along with. They’re loud, though (extremely loud) which can be so annoying when I want to sleep, but my friends visit my floor and then go on to complain about their floor always being dead silent, which I wouldn’t want.

College has been quite the experience so far. I enjoy the freedom, though not so much the responsibility. The walk over the Howe Bridge is a sight I’ll never quite get used to, and I’m genuinely happy with the friends I’ve met here.

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