Opinion column: Joys of college

By Randy Ma

(Ed. note: This is part one of a two-part series in a freshman’s look ahead and a senior’s look back at college.)

One of the greatest emotional experiences I ever will have will be arriving at college. As the family car drove up to PAR, my father and I frantically emptied our vehicle and headed toward my designated room. As I opened the door, I was flooded by an array of emotions such as excitement, worry, pride and concern – only to find that the room was so small that the door had just slammed into my roommate’s closet; that the interior was unbelievably hot and that my desk lacked a chair. Instantly, one word came into my mind: lame.

This shouldn’t have come as a surprise, because my orientation experience was quite similar. If memory serves correct, my adviser sent me into a panic by requiring me to make a list of 20 classes to choose from in one night and then throwing the list away when the time to register finally came. After registering for classes I quickly realized I did not want to take, I discovered that I easily could have registered from the comforts of my own home while sitting on my soft bed instead of in a room with air-conditioning that made the place seem like a freezer box.

But I am still optimistic regarding how my college experience may turn out this semester. High school was just a blow-off period until now. I can begin living away from the scrutiny of my parents and start living as an individual. By this, I mean mimicking as many college stereotypes as I can. This includes listening to classic and indie rock, studying outside under a tree, wearing Hollister-fashioned shirts and shorts regularly, playing Counter-Strike, ultimate Frisbee, poker, pool, bowling, primarily hanging out with the same-old high school clique and getting drunk on a weekly basis.

I will accomplish all of these feats and still remain a prominent student. I know this because before I arrived, I purchased a high-powered laptop/desktop computer. With equipment this advanced at my disposal, there’s no possible way my education will do anything but soar.

Without the distraction of classes, I also can look forward to the many activities the University has to offer. This is the time to create a fresh persona for myself. I can become the overachiever and attend 20 different organizations on a weekly basis with an estimated total of 20 minutes of sleep a day or join none of the organizations offered and become a slacker with an estimated total of 20 hours of sleep a day. The possibilities are endless. All I have to do is seize the day, because that is what going to college is all about: taking advantage of the options available.

College is basically the beginning of my adult life. It will set the tone for the rest of my life as I know it. I will discover and prepare for my future career and graduate into a job market that probably will be flooded by foreign workers who might have more experience and a stricter education. But I will not worry, because obviously, the fact that I am attending college means I have job security (or the fact that I’m in the college of LAS).

Tomorrow I will begin attending my classes. I get a sense of warmth in that I will be course-overloading to get rid of my gen-eds, and soon I will be able to travel the campus without a map. That feeling of excitement has returned, and I am ready to begin my semester at the University with a clean slate. I feel like I will be able to accomplish anything – especially with 8 a.m. classes every day. The sun is ungodly bright; I can smell a sewerage leak from outside my residence hall and the fact that I forgot to bring my alarm clock makes my life much easier. Looking back on my first impressions of college and what I intend to do in the future, one thing is certain: It’s going to be a long year.

Randy Ma is a freshman in LAS. He is a guest columnist. He can be reached at [email protected]