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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Philosophy is Phun Blog # 58 – Evolution of a College Student

As I get closer to the end of my first semester as a freshman here at the University of Maryland, I have realized a lot about my life has changed to an extreme degree, that being an understatement. I no longer have my mom as my alarm clock and instead of my mom and dad I have Andrew and Kyle, my two roommates. I don’t have home cooked meals but now I have dining halls. In high school there was a recognizable small niche community while now I am one in a crowd of 38,000 people. With these changes, I have had to transition into a completely new way of life. For those of you reading right now that have yet become a student of a university, nothing that I can say can truly prepare you for the change of pace associated with being a college kid. It is truly one of the biggest examples of things you must experience first-hand in order to truly understand. While after reading this, you may think that college is a scary time and I won’t lie to you and pretend that it isn’t. It all depends on how you transition into your new lifestyle and that will determine how much you are able to enjoy it and how much success you will have as well. By the end of this semester I can proudly say that I have established this university as my new home and have made many new friends and adjusted my habits to hopefully ensure that I will have success in my remaining years of college.

In order to have these changes in my life, I must also go through the transition period where I adapt from the old to the new. Adapting is a necessary and vital skill to have in order to be a successful person in life. You don’t need such a blatant example like going to college to know that every day we are faced with situations that require us to adapt and change. It could be anything from adjusting your plan to your entire philosophy and perspective on life. Sometimes these changes are voluntary and others are forced but regardless, making a transition will almost always yield positive results in the long term. It is necessary to assimilate into whatever culture or society you associate with in order to fit in and be afforded opportunities. If you are completely too stubborn to change at all, time will pass you by and you will be stuck with old ways of thinking that may no longer be applicable to the current situation at hand. With this being said, it is still important to retain some of your original ideals and values. These are what make you who you are as an individual and if you lose focus on them then you can really harm your own well being and cause confusion and identity problems. Keeping reminders and memories of where you have come from is a great way to exhibit everything you have accomplished so far in life and will allow you to look forward and focus on achieving so much more.

As I mentioned, fitting in and getting comfortable are the main reasons why you want to make a transition as smooth as possible and why you ultimately modify your actions or thinking. It is natural to not enjoy the feeling of anxiety and restlessness accompanied by being outside your comfort zone so we attempt to make a place feel like home. This is why many dorm rooms are decorated with posters from home or interests that you have in order to increase this home feeling. It is vital that we in some shape or form get this homey feeling because without it, our productivity and efficiency will most likely be hindered. Most people can’t get work done let alone function without feeling comfortable in their current environment. While there are those people who are exceptions to the rule and feed off the adrenaline that uncomfortable situations give them, for the most part I believe people would rather live in an environment that makes them feel safe and secure rather than scared and vulnerable.

This transitionary period can vary in duration depending on who you are. Everybody has different comfort zones and their ability to adjust these boundaries of comfortability will directly correlate to how quickly a person will be done transitioning. Going back to the college example, the quicker you can make new friends, get used to your classes, and deal with being completely responsible for yourself, the quicker you will be able to feel at home. I have made this university my home and if you keep yourself open-minded, transitions present an opportunity to try new things and are necessary for growth and advancement.


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