Students often try to make friends during the start of freshman year. - Editor-in-Chief / Miguel Martinez

Boxes, SUVs and attentive security guards: driving onto campus on move-in day was a combination of confusion and chaos, yet I couldn’t help but feel liberated. Hundreds of my new neighbors shuffled to their dormitories pushing carts full of their belongings. I could feel the apprehension bouncing between all of us.

There seems to be two types of college freshmen: those who are eager to make new friends, and those who are terrified to talk to anyone. It is quite unbelievable how quickly these two varieties of people merge into one.

Some may be attending college because their family wanted them to, for others it has been their dream for as long as they can remember. Everyone has their differences, though everyone is here to further their education.

There is a unique story within each of us and we are now able to write our stories for the fresh new chapter of our lives. 

Campus is crawling with possibilities. Diversity and individuality appears to be valued, which is extremely important for a brand new college student. It lets us know how many options we have at this crucial moment in our lives.

Some of us picked majors we were unsure about, and some are studying as undecided. No matter what we choose or how we feel about it, things will happen that will shape our lives forever through the people we talk to, the risks we take, the stories we hear and many more experiences that will come about just in the first week of college. 

Most freshmen tend to hug each other when they meet, and it seems to me to be a comforting technique. They spot a friend they met in a Rowan Facebook group and practically hurl themselves across the room to embrace and chitchat excitedly.

College forces us to interact in person with others because the idea of being completely alone is frightening. Everyone has just said their last goodbyes to their families, and now they are searching for a new family unit in a way that is almost identical to speed dating. We greet each other with a smile and a hug, and follow it up by proudly exclaiming our names and later talking about where we live and where we came from.

This all happens in under two minutes, then it is onto the next possible friend. 

Tension rushed through our bodies as the professors entered the room. I cannot speak for every member of the class of 2023, but I will say that everyone braced themselves for different reasons. Whether it be out of fear, excitement, stress or confusion: the tension was there.

The first day of classes revealed our true abilities socially, physically, mentally and academically. We sat attentively through various ice breakers and conversed with our professors about their syllabuses. Our expectations were set directly in front of us, and we could do with them what we please.

It all became very clear how the rest of our semester would look. We saw those who were overly prepared and those who forgot to buy a pencil. We saw the frantic students who have 15 minutes between two classes and a precise 14-minute walk across campus.

We were never able to control our education as much as we do now. It is up to us whether we show up to class or do our assignments. Punishments are not something a high school principal decides anymore. Every academic decision we make affects our level of success.

After beginning classes, I feel as though in order to survive the tribulations of college, we must learn to know ourselves more than anything else. We now have full control of our future, which means for the first time we need full control of ourselves.

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