Goodbye, But Only For Three Months

Freshman year went by as quickly as Speedy Gonzalez, but I loved it. Here are a few of my favorite things about my life at school:

1. My roommate. Freshman year would not have been the same without her. I’m not saying we were besties since day one. In fact, I’m not sure we’ve reached that level. But she was a great roommate and an even better friend. She introduced me to Skinny Pop, New Girl, Friends, Grey’s Anatomy and poetry. She also joined me in my ever ongoing procrastination methods. Needless to say, I lucked out with this whole “random roommate” situation.

2. My new friends. My college friends, especially those that live on campus, became my second “family”. They’re the people I see every day, the ones that ask me how my day went, the ones that make me laugh, the ones that do homework with me, the ones that I go out with, the ones that make a four-hour shift funner than it should be. My friends keep me functioning, and at some points they keep me sane.

3. Round-the-clock freedom. No, I’m not a wild child doing everything she can’t do when she’s home. I’m actually pretty well-behaved for the most part. It’s just nice not to have to let anyone know that I’m going out… (If you live in a Latino-Catholic household you may understand the struggle).

4. The Cities. Boy are they beautiful.

5. Campus is on point year-round.

6. Coffee is but a few strides away. Seriously. It was there when I needed it the most.

So bravo to the end of Freshman year and cheers to the beginning of a much awaited summer.

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Three Things I Know

Let’s be honest, most people have a vision of what college is going to be like, whether that be raging parties every weekend or saying goodbye to sleep in place of homework.  I knew I would not be saying hello to parties and I would not be saying goodbye to sleep, but I didn’t know much else.  There wasn’t an ideal freshman year I had in my mind before starting and I think that really helped me not be disappointed with mine.

There were simple things I knew would happen:

1. I would make friends

2. I would learn things

3. College would be like nothing I’d ever experienced.

But there were also a lot of complicated things I never could have predicted:

1. School would be the easiest part of my life

2. I would sustain an injury that challenged me more than anything previously had, but which would also inspire me to change my life

3. My father would die

That’s not to say that classes were easy. First semester Logic kicked my butt (though I ended up getting a B).  Even the classes I liked were a lot of work.  College is nice because you’re in the classroom for less cumulative hours than in high school, but you get more homework, which is fine, just time consuming.  You’ve gotta know how to budget your time.  So what I’m trying to say is that classes weren’t easy, but everything else was harder. My dad died 3 days before I was supposed to have surgery, 9 days before Christmas.  I’m not trying to illicit sympathy, I’m just trying to say that it was a lot all at once.

But I made it through.  And I am better for it and stronger for it.  This year I learned that upside down A’s exist in math(so do backward E’s), that abstractions are a no-no in fiction writing, and that Martin Luther talked a lot of trash. but I also learned that I can do anything.

I was on the Dean’s list both semesters. I got a poem and a short story published in my University’s literary magazine.  I won 3rd place in a short story writing contest. I ran a 5k.  And those are only my quantifiable accomplishments.  Did freshman year go as smoothly as I hoped?  Not even close.  But it set me up to handle any bumps I’ll face in the future and, somehow, it has given me a more positive outlook.  This year was a blessing in disguise (a really good disguise).

Look Back At It

One word – parties. UW-Madison truly is the party school of America. I most definitely had a “life in the fast lane” phase throughout my freshman year; nonetheless, I managed to stay on the Dean’s List for each semester (so no need to worry about my priorities).

What sucked? Classes of course. I think that is a given, however. Freshmen aren’t at liberty to take as many interesting classes as they may want to – those pesky general college requirements are no joke. What I will say bombed the most is living so far away from my friends. Madison is a HUGE campus both physically and in terms of enrollment. While living on the Lakeshore side of campus was astoundingly serene and peaceful, I hated that seemingly long bus ride back to my dorm after a night out. Don’t get me wrong, the walks along Lakeshore Path (AKA “Rapeshore” Path after 8:00pm) were great. But walking gets boring – really fast.

There is hardly ever a dull moment on campus, which is why I loved it so much. The support and energy that my fellow Badgers had on game days was something that you have to see to believe. Even after we lost against Duke in the Final Four, we still managed to throw a huge block party on State Street where there was nothing but drunk college kids turning up because that’s what we do best.

Overall, I can say that college went as I thought it would. Classes got really hard, really fast. But aside from that, I made some lasting connections with people who are truly unforgettable. One of my small, but memorable accomplishments of the year would definitely be getting an A on a paper. Ya’ll, that has not happened since like 8th grade. DSHA’s English department was NO JOKE. The cherry on top was that not only did I get an A on a paper, I got an A on a SPANISH PAPER! One hiccup that I had along the way was deciding whether or not to change my major. I went through such a rough time of my life where nothing seemed like it would work out. Not only was I stressed about my classes, but I was also stressed about supporting myself financially (I’m sure many college kids know what this feels like). In the end, I worked it out like I always do. I ended up changing my majors from engineering and Spanish to nursing and Spanish, but now of course (because I’m Mia, the girl who loves to make things complicated) I’m changing my major back to engineering and Spanish. Hopefully this is the last of my confusion.

Needless to say, I absolutely cannot wait for what sophomore year brings. I’ll have another story to be told shortly . . .