Anna-Catherine Kueng- Assistant Editor~
There is a date that will always stand out to me and it is August 14, 2018: the day I began my freshman year at the University of Lynchburg.
As I have realized within the first month of college, nothing ever goes as expected and there is no turning back once a student arrives on campus that first day.
In all of my wildest dreams about the first week of college, ziplining in the woods was never a thought that crossed my mind. For those who are not familiar with the Westover Honors College, freshmen members go on a retreat to New Castle, VA, the day after move-in as a bonding experience.
To say my fellow classmates and I bonded would be an understatement; in fact, I made one of my closest friends on the retreat because we were both terrified to zipline. Also, nothing compared to having no roommate my first night at UL to being in a cabin with eight girls the next night.
During the retreat, I realized two things: college is a social endeavor, and I have a country accent.
Between ice-breaker games, Hornet Days, and simply living in a dorm with 200+ freshmen, I have concluded that ‘alone time’ is a luxury that one does not have in college. Things like going to the bathroom or taking a shower quickly turn into lively gatherings because there are at least four other friends who are also going to the bathroom or taking a shower. A few nights ago, I tried to make a fast trip to the kitchen, hoping to avoid any hallmates since I was in my slippers and retainer. Much to my surprise, there were ten people right outside my room coloring and putting up Halloween decorations.
The latter realization about my Southern accent is one that I was not expecting. Although my high school was next to a cow pasture and I do have a collection of Simply Southern t-shirts, I was not aware that Danville, VA, is more country than Lynchburg.
During the first week at U of L, I would simply say hello to people only to receive these responses: omg where are you from?, your accent is so cute, and can you say that again? I also had to give mini lessons that “y’all” is just a contraction for “you all” and that in my town, which is only an hour away, people really do use that word. At first, I was embarrassed about all of this, but I have come to accept and be proud of where I was raised. Another thing college has taught me is that I may be away from home, but my roots are with me wherever I go.
In short, my first month of college has been a whirlwind, but I would not change anything because it has made me grow intellectually, emotionally, and socially in new ways. While this may be the first time I have ever been on my own, it is hard to feel alone since I am part of the Hornet community. My professors, classmates, and El Si’s fully loaded nachos never cease to amaze me, and the University of Lynchburg has become my dream school.
Of course, as with all good things, there are difficult days (lots of them), but there are also magical days that make all the struggles worthwhile. While some upperclassmen may pity me because I still have seven semesters of college left, I am grateful for this season of life. I know there are wonderful opportunities ahead and I cannot wait to experience them.