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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


“Jitters pass, college begins”

So much of the contemporary conception defining today’s youth consists of binge drinking and sexual escapades. Young people no longer think of college as late library stays and the academic achievements.

Here at the UA, current freshmen are beginning to acclimate to college life. It is about now when these freshmen and other new students to campus are settling in. The jitters of newness have subsided and life as a college student at the UA is sinking in.

As someone in the twilight of my academic endeavors at the university, I feel it appropriate to impart some wisdom. College is all about experimentation and finding yourself, or so we are told. I still see folks misunderstanding this concept each and every year. It takes time to settle in and find your niche within this large university community.

However, drinking until you can’t stand on more than one occasion isn’t the same as exploring the university community and finding your place. Neither is sitting in a library every day. There is a healthy medium that you, as young adults, must find — and quickly.

This is a vastly different world from high school. Regardless of whether you went to high school in Tucson or elsewhere, the university environment is a new place with opportunity at every corner. The sort of opportunity I refer to is free from any predisposition, preformed molds or preconceived notions. You are who you want to be. Though it sounds very paternal to say, it is true. You are, moreover, who you choose to be.

As I grow older and watch each new class go through the same acclimation process, I feel new students predominantly have misinformed ideals about what their college years will be like, which they project onto their university experience. They feel that there will be liquor just waiting for them at every street corner or every dorm on their hall. They feel that extremely tantalizing people of the opposite sex will be in ample supply, waiting for them to make their move. They think that they do not need to go to class. They were told homework assignments don’t count toward their grades. They were under the impression that if they had a headache, their professor would let them retake an exam. The list of misconceptions goes on.

These projections have developed at no fault of our own, but have been irresponsibly formed by the media and what it has conditioned the youth of today to understand about college. However, these are, for the most part, incorrect characterizations of what the college experience is like.

When I arrived at the university, a wide-eyed and eager freshman, I rushed Greek Life, went to the club fair, partied and redid my entire wardrobe. I was attempting to reinvent myself now that I was stepping into adulthood, away from the people I had gone to school with during my more formative years. I tried to be something that I simply wasn’t at first, though it was important that I attempted and tried it on, for I know now it is not who I am. I had to try things before dismissing them.

I share all of this seemingly overly personal information to display someone who got caught up in a societal construction of what college is “”supposed”” to be.

New students: shed all the notions you have about what this new collegiate world will be like and take it as it comes. Remember why you are here and that there are plenty of people who made it through college without drunkenly blacking out or having promiscuous relations. I urge any and all freshmen to examine who they are and who they want to be, and then make those things become a reality.

It is so easy to lose track and become distracted here. Instead, keep your focus, knowing that nothing will aid you more in the future than hitting those books and earning those letters — grades, that is.

— Tyler Quillin is a senior majoring in philosophy and English. He is also the academic affairs executive director for the Associated Students of the University of Arizona. He can be reached at

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