Remembering Freshman Year…
by Rachel Brumenschenkel ’18
If I had to give one piece of advice to freshmen, I would say, “If you think you don’t have homework, you’re wrong.”
As a senior graduating in May, I have recently been reflecting on my years at Mount Union. When I first came to college, I was most excited for a new start after high school. I was excited to decorate my dorm room, try out a lot of different clubs, make new friends and take classes that interested me. I thought I would spend most of my time studying in a cute coffee shop.
My perspective of college has definitely changed since freshman year. During my first semester, I was constantly nervous as I was figuring out how to transition to college life. I have grown personally and academically as I got involved on campus. I have made so many great college memories with my roommates, sorority sisters and classmates.
Everyone says “your four years in college will fly by.” When you hear this as a freshman, you may not believe it’s true, especially when you find yourself staying up late working on homework and starting to feel some stress that comes with being a college student. When you become a junior or senior, you may, like me, start to agree with the quote.
I thought it would be interesting to have other seniors reflect back to their freshman year and see how their perspectives of college have changed. I interviewed Tori Lehn of Austintown, Ohio, Allison Miedl of Olmsted Falls, Ohio and Josh Leiter of Akron, Ohio, who were all in the same first year seminar (Gender in Disney) as me three years ago:
For what were you most excited when you came to Mount Union for your first semester?
Allison: When I started college, I was most excited to start my own journey. I was nervous but also very excited to leave home and be on my own. I was also very excited to start paving my way towards my future career coals.
Josh: I think I was most excited to learn all the new things. It was a fantastic new door to walk through and a great new broadening of my horizons.
What were you most nervous for?
Tori: I was most nervous for feeling at home and comfortable while making the adjustment from high school to college. The academic change from seven hours of class to only a few per day concerned me in the realm of time management.
Allison: I was definitely intimidated by the coursework because of all the stories I had heard about how difficult college classes are.
How has your perspective of college changed since your freshman year?
Allison: Freshman year, I was very intimidated by the coursework, but I quickly realized that it was very manageable with a good work ethic. I came into college expecting it to be very similar to high school, just with harder classes, and I quickly realized that was not the case. College has really been a place for me to expand and grow as a person. I have been able to expand my knowledge in the subjects of my majors and minors and also expand my knowledge in many other important topics through the integrative core. Most importantly, I was able to find confidence in myself throughout my time at Mount Union and I have been able to explore my leadership abilities.
Josh: I do not worry about getting straight As like I did when I was a freshman. That drive has morphed into doing my best and not worrying about the grade as much. I found I had this recurring problem when I placed the identity of who I was in the grades I got. It always made me feel like less of a person when I didn’t get an “A” on something. I think I have grown out of that. I’m happy I did, too.
What did you think about your freshman classes, compared to classes now?
Tori: Freshman classes were so easy! I remember my first finals week and the level of stress I had. Compared to now, I would trade my freshman course load for my senior one in a heartbeat!
Allison: As a freshman, I thought my classes were fairly challenging but also manageable. Through the years the classes have increased in difficulty, but I have also been growing, learning and gaining new skills along the way that made it possible for me to perform well as the classes became more rigorous.
Josh: Oh, those were easy compared to the senior classes that I am in now. They were still work, and quite important, but it takes much more time to complete an assignment for a 300/400 level class than it does for a 100/200 level class. I like my classes better now also because they go further in depth into the subjects I enjoy.
How many times have you changed your major since freshman year?
Tori: I changed my major twice. My intended major was a chemistry on the pre-medicine track. Then, I was a human resource management/accounting double major. My major now is accounting.
Josh: I originally came to Mount Union as a mechanical engineering major. I switched to a double major in physics and mathematics. I have only changed my major one time. I switched because I felt physics would let me get outside the “box” and explore thoughts no one had ever thought of before. I wanted to learn the natural philosophy of the universe.
What advice would you give freshmen?
Tori: Seek new opportunities, get involved as soon as you can, go Greek and make memories!
Allison: Take every opportunity you can to do something new or different. You don’t want to look back on your college experience and regret not doing something. Many of the opportunities that you will be given in these four years you will never have again, so do not take them for granted. Explore yourself throughout these four years because this is the perfect time to do so. Put your all into everything you do so that your work always reflects on you as a person. Finally, make sure you are making time for yourself and a social life as well because those are going to be the memories you look back on one day.
Josh: Start your homework two days before it is due. Make lots of friends. Always go to class and sit in the front row. Make time to talk with your professors. Find the major you are most passionate about, where you could lose yourself for hours and it feels like minutes.
What is your favorite college memory?
Tori: My favorite college memories would have to be the countless late nights spent talking and hanging out with my roommates and best friends. I don’t always remember the classes I took, the professors I had, or the games I went to, but I know I’ll always remember the good times with them.
Josh: There are so many wonderful memories. Hanging out with my friends. Joining a fraternity. Dressing up for Halloween my first semester of my freshman year. The list goes on and on. It is difficult to isolate one that is the best.
Any final thoughts?
Tori: Wrap Wednesday, caf nachos, and the KHIC muffins are vastly underrated. My favorite spot on campus is the bench by the archway near the lakes—best view around!
Josh: I am sad that they no longer have the couches in the back of the caf in the sun room. I also like to attend all sorts of events. There is so much to learn so why stop!?