Change: the beauty of college


When I started at South Dakota State University three years ago as a freshman, I had no idea what I was getting into.

I was lucky enough to be recruited onto the SDSU Swim & Dive team and to start out with a group where I belonged and felt welcome, but I know that many students had a different experience. Now that I’m a senior, this year has started out very differently.

The first week of class was pretty much the same, basic syllabus week but going to class didn’t seem as scary anymore. Looking back at my very first week as a university student, no longer in high school and in a different country (I was born and raised in Winnipeg, Canada), my first week was a whirlwind. Trying to find out where all of my classes were, adjusting to the new schedule; it was definitely a process. One that I’m trying to figure out, even now. As an English major, my classes were located all over campus, so sometimes finding classes included getting lost at least once.

Another thing that has changed since my freshman year of university is that the professors don’t seem as scary anymore. I can’t speak for other departments, but once you have the same professors for two, three or more classes, it becomes much easier to expect what they want you to do, what they like and what they don’t. Many of them are not the scary, mean people that you expect when you first start out. It gets easier.

When I first started out, I expected hundreds of students in all of my classes because that’s what I had heard about university. I know I can’t personally speak for all the variety of science courses, but in the Arts Department, the class sizes are usually smaller than any of my high school classes had been. Everything was just a little bit more personal. I didn’t even know how much I appreciated that until I’d heard all my friends in pre-med, chemistry, pharmacy and many others talking about their class sizes. I’ve learned so much from my classes that I’ve taken now, from the professors as well as my fellow classmates who come from so many different backgrounds, and yet, here we all are in the same class, with the same assignments and same readings. 

Some of the closest friends I’ve made here at university were fellow classmates, bonding over a particularly difficult reading or a tough paper assignment. As a senior, I now walk into my classes and I know or at least recognize a portion of my classmates, which is way more than I could say of my freshman year, when every class I started was filled with strangers.

The past few years have not been easy or a walk in the park. But I can say that I wouldn’t trade the experiences that I’ve had or the people I’ve met for anything in the world.

Kendra Hinton is an English major at SDSU and can be reached at [email protected].