On Growing Up

PAIGE LISTON | STAFF COLUMNIST

As each summer comes to a close and another school year starts, I often feel the same emotions each year. I feel excited. Excited at the prospect of a fresh start and the opportunity to create more memories. Entering my sophomore and freshman year, I felt nervous.

There was always an ever-present fear of the unknown as I started another year in college, except for a few days ago, when I made the trip from the suburbs of Chicago to Indianapolis yet again to start my junior year.

For the first time in my experience as a college student, I felt little to no nerves as I drove down the all-too-familiar Hampton Drive. This time, I knew exactly what I was about to face.

The nerves I had experienced in prior years were replaced by a new sensation: nostalgia for my days as a younger college student. And I’m not the only one.

Junior Bailey Beckham is also feeling the changes that come with being an upperclassman as she heads into her final years of college.

“It feels weird to be an upperclassman because I feel like I was just moving into Schwitzer Hall, and now I’m someone that I used to think was so old and above me,” Beckham said. “It’s scary because these two last years flew by and now I know these next two years are going to go by even faster.”

When I was a freshman, meeting upperclassmen was intimidating. I thought being 20 years old seemed very old, and I assumed all people that age or older had their life together.

Having just turned 20 this summer, I certainly do not have my whole life together. I still do not know exactly what I want to do with my life once I graduate. I still ask my parents for money when I optimistically look into my wallet hoping $50 might have magically appeared overnight, but instead find nothing. I still get nervous when I think about being on my own and facing the real world.

For the past 17 years of my life, all I have known is going to school. Knowing that in two short years I will not be doing that seems much more intimidating to me than moving into my college dorm freshman year.

Being a college student is fun and carefree. When you make a mistake it is typically acceptable because you are only a student.

Entering my junior year makes me think about the approaching times when maybe those little mistakes will not be acceptable because you will be a full-fledged adult who should have known better.

I feel a sense of responsibility now that I am an upperclassman. I know I need to become more self-sufficient with the prospect of the real world looming right around the corner.

As I look around campus this Welcome Week, and I see the freshmen being herded from place to place by their Student Orientation Guides, my immediate thought is, “I’m thankful I don’t have to take part in the awkward icebreakers.” However, I know that one day, I’m going to look back on those activities and miss them.

Never again will I have the opportunity to meet so many people my own age. Becoming an upperclassman leads me one step closer to an entirely new stage of my life that I will need to be ready and willing to face at the end of these next two years.

 

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