First-year students enjoyed their first college semester

Jens Krogstad

Looking back on her first semester of college, K.C. Burke said she had fun, though it did not always seem things would turn out that way.

When she first got to college, Burke said, she was ready to pack up and go home. She was so unhappy she even considered transferring schools.

But today, Burke said, she has adjusted to life at the University – so much that it felt strange to think about going home over Thanksgiving.

“I’d finally gotten adjusted, but once I got there I was really excited,” she said. “I can’t wait to go home over break.”

Meeting new people and becoming close friends with her roommate Kim helped her make the transition, she said.

“I made a lot of new friends,” she said. “Everyone gave me a hard time because they’re mostly guys – but I’m in (the Institute of Technology), where there’s like three girls in a class.”

She also said she is happy about the new cultural experiences she’s had, which she never would have experienced in rural Wisconsin.

She said she has gone to a few theater shows, including a “Mamma Mia!” performance, and recently sang at a karaoke bar with her friends.

“I’m getting out and experiencing a whole slew of different things,” she said.

Burke said the one thing she would have liked to change this semester is to not stress as much about school. She said college is harder than she expected, but she thinks her grades will turn out all right.

“Those types of things tend to fall into place,” she said.

Of course, she said, the stress might have had to do with the classes she is taking: physics, calculus, philosophy of law and a cultural studies class.

Burke said although classes were difficult, the real problem was that she found she does not like some of the classes she needs for a civil engineering degree.

“I’m sitting there, and I’m not doing what I love,” she said.

She said she is not yet sure what major she will choose, but one option is kinesiology.

Though the semester has been stressful at times, Burke found a way to deal positively with negative feelings.

She and her roommate created a “hot guy wall” about a month ago during an especially trying evening studying. About a dozen magazine pictures are now taped to the wall.

“We figure, if guys do it, we can, too,” she said. “It’s kind of our motivation to work out, and we can look at them when we’re stressed.”

Burke said the main difference she notices in herself since arriving at college is that she is more open to talking to people she has never met. She said her roommate, who is more extroverted than she, and the University’s open atmosphere helped her accomplish this.

“Everyone’s more open here, more accepting of any type of person,” she said.

Chris Dudzinski

Coming into college, Chris Dudzinski said, he wanted to make sure that if he worked hard, he would still have time to play hard.

His assessment: mission accomplished.

“I have had a great time,” he said. “I love being here.”

He said the semester has flown by, which he attributes to the weekly routine his classes created.

Weekends are equally structured.

“We do the same thing here every weekend. It’s like clockwork: Thursday through Sunday, we party,” he said.

While he had no trouble having fun in college, he said classes were difficult and required more work than he initially thought they would.

He said the low point of his semester was probably when he got his first round of grades. But things in school are improving, and he said he is confident he will get the grades he wants.

“I’m still having fun, but I’m just getting my work done now,” he said.

Despite his love of the University, Dudzinski said going home over Thanksgiving was probably the most fun he had all semester, when he saw high school friends he had not talked to for a few months.

“It was great,” he said. “Everybody was home. It was like a big reunion.”

Over Thanksgiving, he also noticed that his relationship with his parents is changing because he is away at college.

He said that for the first time, he sat on the couch with his parents and hung out.

“I can actually sit around and chill with them,” he said. “It’s like we have a real parent-son relationship.”

Dudzinski said he has not had time yet to get stressed about finals, but that he cannot wait to get home for break.