Three months later and here we are, getting ready for finals as well as the close of another semester here at Rollins. This having been my first ever college semester, it went a lot better than pop culture had made it out to be. I will say that I had to tighten up my juggling act from high school, but I am very pleased with the results and am willing to embrace whatever it is that Rollins throws at me next. I have become infatuated with the instruction, the campus, and the student body. I am genuinely excited to be returning in the Spring.
I think one of the things that worried me most about attending school here is the thing that Rollins raves about most—its small class sizes. I happen to be an introvert, and although I enjoy having more focus on me as a student, I was filled with anxiety over how much I would be expected to engage in class. The professors here made it easier for me to be comfortable, though. I was never pressured to speak, and whenever I had input it would be accepted with a nod and a smile; my opinion mattered, and it was okay to give a wrong answer. I can feel myself becoming more at ease, and I couldn’t be happier about it. Freedom of speech does lead to more creative papers, after all.
Speaking of which, I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed myself so much while doing homework. In each of my classes I was challenged to approach topics unconventionally, and then just go with my idea. I got to write about the impact of no women on literature, Renfield as being Dracula’s more sympathetic double, and even totalitarianism in The X-Men. This probably wouldn’t be as exciting for some, but I am an English major and I adore it. Also, I complain as much as the next person about receiving my F credit, but I really do see the value in it. I mean, knowing a foreign language would make that semester abroad that much easier to survive—and you can’t deny that you’re actually learning the language. You have to be, what with practicing three days out of the week, with a teacher who only slips into English for brief translations.
I have also loved getting to know Rollins physically. It is not often in one’s life where you are exposed to a whole new setting. It was not long after I started here before I started exploring the grounds. My favorite spots around campus have been, by far, the gazebo adjacent to Lake Virginia, and the pathway next to Knowles Memorial Chapel. Both of these hideaways are abundant with piece, quiet, green, and flowers. An ideal place to share lunch or just read a book, really. Also, let’s be honest, the brick roads are adorable, not just a nightmare to drive on. I’m really content just walking around, taking everything in, my head in the clouds.
I know this sounds pretty cliché, but everyone I’ve encountered has been so nice. I can talk to random people at events and that’s perfectly okay. I can go to club events when I’m not a part of that club, and all the members are just as welcoming. I’m aware that people complain about not finding friends, but it’s all about the attitude. If there’s anything that this semester has taught me, it’s to be more open. The world is right at the edge of our finger tips, and before long we won’t be this young to appreciate quality learning, create mini adventures for ourselves, or even innocently strike up conversation with a stranger. I am ecstatic about my following years, and I sincerely hope that I will not end up as one of those who lose their lackluster by the fourth year. Spring 2014, here I come.