Survival of the First Year: Part 1

Written by Kierra Sondereker

As it is officially my last month as a first-year in college, I suppose you could say that I have survived. The dreaded “freshman 15” has been successfully evaded (at least I like to think so), I have not failed or dropped out and despite the beliefs of some of my family members who shall remain nameless (yeah Keadron, I’m talking to you), I have managed to successfully obtain one or two friends. Unfortunately, my ultimate survival still hangs precariously in the balance as my final exams have yet to take place.

Throughout this beautiful, messy, stress-inducing, life-changing experience, I am glad to report that I have learned a thing or two that I believe is worth sharing. With that, I shall endeavor to make my story as interesting as possible.

I hopped of the plane at L.A.X. with a dream and my cardigan… Oh wait. Wrong story.

The College Decision

In reality, my decision to come to Miami University was made rather late in the college-selecting process, as I had clung to the dream of going to The Ohio State University for years. Lucky for me, things such as money have a delightful way of making dreams crash and burn.

Despite my unachievable Ohio State dream, I soon became excited about attending Miami. The campus was beautiful, the academics looked challenging, and it was farther away from home (sorry Mom and Dad).

The Roommate

My only hang-up was that I chose to do the “random roommate” option, and we’ve all heard the stories about the roommates from hell. Needless to say, I was apprehensive.

Freshman Year Survival Guide
My roommate, Sumedha, and I after our first day as Miami students.

Fortunately for me, the devil must have been taking a vacation at the time, because my roommate turned out to be awesome and wonderful and she swiftly became one of the one or two friends I mentioned earlier.

Getting Involved

After dodging that potential disaster, I began to settle more into my role as a Miami first-year. I attended Mega Fair, found a club or two that interested me and got involved. I would highly recommend checking Mega Fair out, if not for the clubs, then for all the free things you get, including water bottles, T-shirts, and (saving the best for last) free food. If you can’t drag yourself outside for free food, then I don’t know what to tell you except maybe get that checked out.

Warning: Mega Fair is basically like one of those informational desks in hotels with all the fliers and pamphlets on everything you could possibly do, except on crack. It is, quite literally, insane, but don’t let that deter you. Just push your way through the crowds, politely of course, and inspect as many booths as possible.

The Dreaded Major (and the Inevitable Change)

Now comes the part about choosing a major, a subject known to cause high levels of stress in first-years everywhere. I came into Miami as a declared psychology major, but like a good college freshman, I dutifully changed my major. And then I changed it again. And then again. So three major changes, and all in the first semester. What can I say? I like stressing myself out.

In hindsight, I’m glad I had to go through the whole changing major fiasco. It taught me a lot about myself and I was forced learn how to navigate the frightening waters of emailing advisors and setting up appointments. And after three major changes, I think I can successfully claim the title of Captain over those waters.

Finding My Place

At the end of my first semester, I came to terms with the fact that I loved to write (which is what resulted in the final major change). Unfortunately, my creativity department is not quite developed enough to write my own stories or poems. So I finally decided on journalism and began writing for The Miami Student and subsequently, The Miami Student Magazine, which you all have the pleasure of reading at this moment.

So now here I am, still muddling my way through college life, writing the occasional article and relying heavily on coffee and bagels to stay alive.

The Ultimate Sustenance

That’s another important piece of information for anyone entering college: bagels. Bagels are where it’s at. They’re like the nectar of the college student. Lucky for us here at Miami, bagels are easy to find. They come in many forms at places like Boulangerie, Starbucks, MacCracken and Bagel & Deli. They are good for any type of emotional binge eating and could probably solve the world’s problems if we gave them the chance.

The Mayans Were Wrong

All in all, I would say that my first year at Miami has not only been successful, but rather enjoyable as well. I hope that my story has been, if not educational in some way, at least entertaining. Look for the second and final part of “Survival of the First-Year” in the Fall 2016 issue of The Miami Student Magazine, in which I will be presenting bits of advice from my fellow first-years-soon-to-be-sophomores in order to make life easier for the new incoming Miami first-years.

I’ll leave you with this last piece of advice: Everything works out. Even when it seems like the stars are aligned against you and the situation is so catastrophic that the Mayans probably predicted it was going to happen thousands of years ago. Don’t worry. You’ve got this. Since when have the Mayans ever been right about anything?

And remember. Bagels.

Photo by Prevali Kothakota
Photo by Prevali Kothakota

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