Freshman year: The folly of ambition

By Katherine Hamilton |

I’ve made a freshman mistake. One that only an overly ambitious student can make during their first year of college. So many opportunities were thrown my way. Instead of taking the road less traveled, I took both roads at the same time. Believe me, it made all the difference.

And not a good one. I ended up taking eight classes. Don’t ask me why, because I don’t even know. Sure, some of them meet only once a week, but the extra load leaves me crawling into my bed at the end of the night with new wrinkles setting in. At this point in the semester, carpal tunnel is changing my hands into witch-like typing twigs, and my brain is sizzling like over-cooked popcorn.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has made this awful, life-altering mistake. I’m sure I’m not the only one who was sailing through life like a happy fool before getting body slammed on a bed of nails by ten essays in three weeks. Somehow, most of my teachers have managed to be so behind that we are doing half of the curriculum in three-and-a-half- weeks. I’m not complaining of course, just making an extremely astute observation.

Often and with regret, I look back on my relationships with past assignments. Did I treat them right?  Was there something I could have said? Should I have offered to split the check? In any case, dwelling on what I could have done to make my life easier and watching new Grace and Frankie episodes on Netflix doesn’t make my current problems go away.

I go through the five stages of grief whenever I realize my free time is no longer with me. First strikes denial. I simply pretend I have nothing to do and proceed to carry on with my beach plans as usual. Two is when anger sets in. I am mad that all my professors would dare to assign all their work on the same day, so I go on strike and allow myself another day of freedom. Three: the bargaining begins. I set aside some study time, but the whole session is rife with internal struggle. In essence, I argue with myself about how many times is acceptable to look through my phone in a span of 15 minutes, only to become indignant about my right to look at Instagram if I want to. Fourth is a true-blue state of melancholia. I cannot lie to myself and pretend that my work does not exist. As a result, I lie in bed and spend quality free time mourning my losses instead of actually working. After a torturous, self-perpetuated process, I finally accept my fate. Unfortunately, just as I come to terms with it, the cycle begins again: Wash, rinse, repeat.

In my time of darkness, I can only hope that the hardships I have endured this semester light the way for future generations of freshmen. In college, there are endless opportunities and options; however, there is no feasible way to explore all of those options in one year. After all, Robert Frost only navigated one path for a reason. I think next time I’ll take his advice.

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