🗣 Finding Our Student Voice 🗣 The UnifiEd Student Voice Team Blog Surrounding Student Life
Sophie: As I've begun making sense of the “adulting world,” it’s just now starting to hit me that my life is going to change forever in the next few months. While my parents have allotted me a great deal of...
freedom and responsibility in my teen years, I know that won’t compare to the complete freedom I will feel on a college campus.I feel like my parents have done their best to prepare me for the real world but yet I still feel like a baby bird testing its flight skills for the first time. The only way I’ll figure out if I’m truly prepared for this newfound independence is to jump off a branch and hope that I don’t plummet.
While that may seem like extreme and admittedly morbid imagery, that’s somewhat the reality of my situation as I move on from high school and into a college that's far from home. This has been an especially difficult transition considering I am coming off an online semester and into in-person campus life. Trying to coordinate final transcripts, scholarship information, and college materials with my college-and-career counselor was a trying effort, to say the least. However, his consistent communication and support have heavily contributed to my post-secondary academic successes and financial aid awards.
I appreciate the considerable team of support that I have. Still, a college that is out-of-state and private will run a pretty penny, even for a student with a significant number of scholarship acceptances. It’s currently the middle of summer, and while my peers are beginning to enjoy getting back outside and gathering with fewer CDC restrictions, I'm stuck in my room finding as many late scholarships that I can apply to. I chose to go to a school, knowing the financial strain it would put me under because my dream of being a businesswoman and politician in the D.C. area outweighed whatever doubt I had in my head. I constantly tell myself: “It’ll pay off. This work you’re doing matters. You will be able to have a great job to support the dreams you have for yourself.” Yet somehow, intrusive thoughts seep through my consciousness and make me question if I made the right decision for a college or if I should have just gone to a school in Tennessee that was less financially restrictive. I started to feel selfish because I was scared that I could accrue student loan debt that would affect my parents and me as well.
While this internal battle feels very personal to me, I know this is a common experience for most students who require financial aid. Through all of my fears, doubts, and worries, the hope that I can create a better future for myself and my family has been utilized as a provocation against such self-destructive tendencies. Sometimes It’s hard to look forward to college life when I’m not entirely sure how I’ll pay to be on campus, but I stay hopeful because I know I’ll find a way. My self-love and personal aspirations have driven me this far, and I can’t help but think that it would be foolish to quit on my dreams before I even start them. Even still, if I have learned anything from my high school experience, it’s thatyou don’t need to know how things are going to alignto work in your favor; you just need to put forth your best effort and trust that they will.With that being said, the butterflies in my stomach are raging as I get closer to freshman orientations, on-campus events, and eventually, my move-in date. I can only hope to maintain this determination to achieve my dreams when I make it to campus. If I can hold on to my hopes for a bit longer as I leap off of my branch, I will not only sustain flight, but I’ll be able to soar above the rest!
Carson: At the time of writing this blog, I have three unread college emails, each reminding me about a different part of my online orientation courses. The past few months have been spent frantically trying to figure out what I need to do before going off to college while also wrapping up my responsibilities at work and in other organizations and trying to soak in every last moment of my last summer in high school. From finishing blogs, planning meetings, and making my packing list for my dorm, this summer has been nothing short of chaotic in ways that past summers have never been. I think the main thing that has distinguished this summer from the rest is the unrelenting anxieties about next year, don’t get me wrong, I can’t wait to go off to college, but there’s something about not knowing how college works for myself that haunts a lot of my planning. The thing that’s difficult for many seniors now, and I suspect for many classes before, is transitioning mentally from feeling like a high schooler to feeling like a college student. I don’t feel any different yet, but every once in a while, there will be something that clicks and reminds me that my days at home are numbered and makes me feel uneasy about the transition ahead. Recently, that’s been having a date on the calendar for when I move into my dorm: August 11th. I saw the date on the carton of milk in the fridge yesterday: August 27th, almost like the milk was reminding me that it may be in my house longer than I will be. The idea of moving into college and starting school and meeting new people, and learning new things has me over the moon excited and ready for it to start. But on the converse, the idea of moving out, being away from many of my friends, and missing my dogs makes my happiness for the year skip a beat, almost like my excitement is faltering or wavering or buffering at times.
As time continues to pass and I continue getting ready for college, I’ve only gotten more excited about starting college. The main thing that I’ve gotten more excited about in the past few days since I wrote the first couple of paragraphs of this is that we are seemingly moving out of pandemic times. After nearly a year of online school, I’m really excited to return to a standard classroom setting on a regular basis and be able to walk around campus and see everyday interactions and activities happening again. Although some things remain uncertain with a potential third wave, I’m optimistic. I’m vaccinated, and I know that that’s the key to having a typical year for myself and those around me. If you need information about getting vaccinated, check out www.vaccines.gov! It’s truly the easiest thing you can do to protect our community! In getting ready for college, I’m currently packing my things to move into my dorm. I haven’t moved since I was really little, so this is somewhat of a first for me, and it’s extra weird right now since I’m only taking the necessities with me since I’ll be in a dorm. I’ve been working on figuring out all that I need to take with me and what I want to make my new surroundings feel more like home. It’s definitely a strange feeling having to think for the first time about making sure that you have things like silverware, but seeing your belongings in boxes does have a certain promise of what the next phase of life could be like. There’s a lot of possibilities presented by moving to a new place with mostly new people. I’m sad to leave, but I can’t wait to see what the new possibilities bring.
Overall, we’re both really excited about college, but we wanted to be truthful about the struggles that we are going through as we prep for college. As we conclude our time with UnifiEd, we hope that reading through our experiences will help other people and students prepare for college or go through other more general changes in life. Thanks for reading along with us as we have gone through high school; we can’t wait to see how college will go and will miss all of our readers so much!