Aug 292005
Authors: Megan Schulz

As I return to college, dorm food isn't the only thing I have to get used to again. The college lifestyle, in all its glory, is something that I have been deprived of for three months. For an entire summer I have lived a different life, not surrounded by my peers.

During the summer I lived with my family and worked two jobs. One of those jobs involved working with children. How I talked and acted changed. After spending a week at CSU, I realized that my behavior will have to adjust yet again.

At college, I have come to a place where my No. 1 priority is supposed to be me, myself and I. I am surrounded by young adults whose only worries revolve around themselves. Also, I am being told that my only job is to learn, something that I already love to do. I am baffled at the lack of responsibility and slowly remembering how easy college was for me.

At CSU, I am now at a place where I can put little to no limits on how I act. This is a place where, in my experience, you can be yourself and people aren't too quick to judge. I almost feel overwhelmed at how much freedom and control I have over my own life now. For so many of us, our lives are defined by limits. From the time we are very young, we learn what we can and can not do. Some of us are born with personalities that make us want to test the limits, and others are not. Throughout my life, I haven't really been someone who tries to push the envelope too much.

This is what makes college such a precious novelty, especially for freshmen who have never experienced it before. Without the watchful eyes of parents, students are left to make their own choices. This may be difficult for some people who have never owned that type of freedom before. When I was a freshman last year, I saw myself change drastically within the span of a few months because of this freedom. At times this was for the better; other times it was for the worse.

On the whole, college is a true test of self. In Hamlet, Shakespeare wrote, "To thine own self be true." While our lives probably don't parallel that of Hamlet's, and we are not dealing with the ghost of our dead father, this age-old advice still applies. For most of us, college will probably be one of the only times when we can be completely self-centered and have only a few cares in the world. It's an awesome power that can teach us a lot, and hopefully we will learn to do what is best for us.

At the time, it may seem that what is most important to us involves impressing others, whether they are peers, professors, or even parents. But imagine what our lives would be like if we strove to impress ourselves instead of letting others define who we should be. I have been privileged to know a select few people who live exactly like this, making no bones about who they are. They choose how they want to live and don't change it for anyone.

If the only things that encompass your soul at the moment are partying and having fun, then that's fine. If all you care about is getting laid and watching sports, then stick with this lifestyle if you feel that is best. Just as long as you stand beside your choices and make sure that they are made just for you.

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