College: a testing ground of independence for millions of young adults. It’s also the time in our lives when we mold our abilities into worthwhile careers, when true love erupts between similar-minded individuals and when celebrations seem to occur at a moment’s notice.
While I’m not as young as some of the other students beginning their dormitory lives on campus, living in a residence hall — as opposed to going home to my parents — is a completely new experience, and one that could determine whether or not I’m ready to leave the nest. For some, it’s a riveting experience to test the boundaries of one’s maturity. For others, it’s a frightening precursor to the “real world,” where there’s no guarantee of a safety net if you fall. For me, it is a bit of both.
There’s no denying that once my parents left me in that tight space I call my temporary home, a sense of relief washed over me. I was finally living on my own — no need to worry about nagging from my mother to clean my room, dealing with siblings and their intrusions on my privacy or yelling that usually occurred in the house. I was finally free to do whatever I felt like doing, and for the most part, it’s been a great experience.
Yes, I went to a community college before I came to Rider, but that’s also the reason why I jumped at anything I could when I came to this university; I really had no interest in becoming involved at my last school. I partly blame my own laziness, but it’s also because there seemed to be a lack of enthusiasm on that campus. That’s par for the course at any community college: you go to school, do your work and then come home. It’s pretty much an extension of high school. At Rider, I’m able to find activities that specifically cater to my interests.
As great as my time on campus has been, it’s not without faults. Since the first day of school, I’ve noticed this sense of isolation among the inhabitants of the college. I felt as though sometime during the opening day proceedings, I missed the point where friendships were established. Seriously, the first few weeks were perhaps some of the loneliest I’ve ever had. Now, I don’t want to generalize that all Rider students are guilty of this, or that it is being done with malicious intent. I will even concede that my rocky start may have much to do with my initial awkwardness at dealing with total strangers. I forgot just how hard it was to make a lasting impression with people who I was meeting for the first time, which added to my earliest problems.
With only a couple weeks of school left until break, life on campus has certainly improved: I’ve made a couple of good friends and the work, both in class and extracurricular, has kept me from completely going insane. Although it is still difficult adjusting to college life, isn’t that how life can be in general? This is just an indicator that the road to adulthood can be a rocky one, but with the right kind of attitude and the right college fit that Rider provides, I think I’ll make it.
– Christopher Exantus
Junior English Major