Freshmen: Get a job

ABy Marisa Goedken

As summer drew near, I used to count down the days until freedom. Gazing out the windows of my high school, I visualized the lazy mornings filled with cartoons. Time was a surplus; more could be found each day. The searing summer suns, or at least tepid Minnesota afternoons, were the stuff of dreams, and I spent most of the last weeks of school waiting for that bell to ring.

I lived my first 18 years that way. Sitting in classrooms, sharpening my math for the sole purpose of correctly counting the days left until summer vacation. I could hardly wait for the day I could drive out of the parking lot, having cleaned my locker and returned all of my books, and make a break from school.

That all changed my freshmen year of college. I started dreading summer.

I had made the colossal transition from high school to higher education and had become partial to my new routine. My reliance on my parents had diminished and I was accustomed to college. While living on the University campus, gaining the independence I yearned, I realized that for three months I would be hauled away from my newfound freedom and forced to take a step backwards, to return to the clutch of my parents’ charge for the summer.

This alarming awareness came to me near the conclusion of that first year, about the same time my high school countdown to summer began. I would once again have to leave the comfort of my familiar schedule and revisit the life I had grown away from.

My life at the University had consisted of running from class to class and having the right to come and go as I pleased with no authorization needed from anyone. Now I would have to spend three consecutive months as a dependent, a rapid regression and a rather depressing thought.

Nevertheless, I made the switch from the autonomous academic and moved back home to revisit the life I had left behind. Everything was odd. The room in which I had spent 18 years seemed altered and I did not know what to do with myself. It no longer felt like my home, and I could not relate to my parents.

Knowing I could not escape, I faced reality and realized if I was as independent as I thought, I could deal with this harsh switch.

So, I got a summer job, the best choice to make, I thought, when one is worried they will have nothing to do. I was so used to being completely busy and having a tight schedule, the thought of having such an open calendar was frightening. Working full-time from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. was not a routine I found pleasant, but it helped pass the time, allowed me to meet new people and most important of all, make money. My summer was filled with copy machine adventures, data entry and office chatter, all of which were useful in my search to distinguish from careers I do not want to enter.

Getting a job is the best advice I can give to future freshmen who are likely to encounter the same dilemma I faced while trying to adjust to moving back home after experiencing college’s first taste of freedom. With summer coming up, I want to inform the new freshmen that their first post-high school summer is not as dreadful as it might seem. Make the best of the circumstance by finding outlets to express yourself and get out of the house. Discover how your interests can be funneled into a summer job, know the summer will fly by just as quickly as they used to and feel relief knowing that you will soon return to the liberated life of a college student.

I managed to survive the first tortuous summer after my freshman year of college. That was three years ago, and with two summers already under my belt, I now look to the summer away from college-land as a chance to experience the real world. It is an opportunity to throw oneself into as many projects as can be completed in three months and to see what can be accomplished.

Besides, a 21-year-old is too old for Saturday morning cartoons.

Marisa Goedken is a University journalism student.

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