Digging up journal from the past: the first week


Last year, I wrote this journal on what was going on in my head after about a week of college. Freshmen, I am sure you will be able to relate to some of this soon.

I am 18 years old. I just 'survived' week one of college, and I am beginning to realize certain things about what I expected out of college. In high school, we are told how important writing is and taught to use MLA format whenever we cite sources. We were babied through research papers so it was just a series of small assignments, and it wasn't much of a challenge to finish by the due date received two months prior.
High school gave us the ability to sit in class, memorize some facts about certain subjects. Some were able to coast by with above average grades that would earn admission to a good school. Some of us were accepted into schools based on our extra curriculars and decent GPA's. But now, we are asked to think, and for some of us, it's the first time our intelligence has been pushed past its comfort zone.
I came to school with the hope of post-graduate job security and a new bunch of friends. Everyone wants friends, so when we endure our 'Camp College' for the first few days, we are all excited to get out and meet new people. Some of us remain shy while others are constantly trying to remember every single name and face they come across.
All of our brain activity is wasted trying to meet new people and become accepted in our new environment, socially, for we have already been accepted academically. So once we meet people, then what? We decide our friends and assemble our own little cliques. Take the safe road and refuse to take any form of a risk, scared of the possibility of messing up and becoming ostracized from our new fragile ecosystem. But why be afraid? Be yourself.
What is job security anyway? Just a word made up by the adults of the world, right? If we leave this institution with a little more wisdom and critical thinking abilities, that's all the job security we need. We all know that life is about who you know. I could have several jobs back home working for my friends' parents or even hanging on the coattails of older siblings, or in certain cases, parents.
But most of us are here to learn. Regardless if we retain anything, we all wish to learn something. Asher Roth would have us learn all about beer pong and sex, which we will of course pick up along the way, but we also want to get something more out of this great institution. But we don't know how to really learn. High school crippled us.
I, like most high school students, did not study. I tried, but I never really could. Now, I try, but end up browsing Facebook, watching viral videos and just chatting away with my new friends. Why can't we focus? This is our lives we are dealing with. Real Life.
Since when do we make our own decisions? Between ages one and 18, our decisions were made for us. So how come the day we leave for college, we must flip a switch and just immediately become super students and adults and miraculously make our own decisions about classes, schedules, careers, majors, minors, drugs, alcohol, fraternities, friends, living units and food...Since when are we capable of all of this?
I love college. I hope we all do. But why did no one tell us about all this? All the stress, all the tests, all the reading, all the people, all the time to ourselves. I'm scared for the future but also excited. Best years of our lives right? Lets make them last, lets make them worth it.

- Brian Austin is a sophomore from Cincinnati, OH, currently undecided on his major.