My first days in FYP are now only a distant memory. It seems so surreal to think about driving up to campus by myself, checking in, and moving in all alone. Sewanee was so unfamiliar. Hearing directions and looking at maps was like trying to find my way around Middle Earth. Also, meeting new people was terrifying. I have always hated making new friends. Getting to know people always seemed like a hassle. I always feel like I have nothing to say, and the fear of judgement when I do say something is overwhelming. I’m afraid I won’t fit in, or that this person or that person won’t like me, so it seems easier to just be by myself. FYP forced me to make friends with the people in my section, and others, through field trips and plenary sessions, and class time. I made more real friends in those first 10 days of college than I did in all of high school. Outside of friendships, FYP was my first college class, and the idea of having someone with a Ph.D critique my writing and monitor discussion made me break out in a cold sweat. Although, the food was not that scary, that is probably the one thing I had already come to terms with going into FYP. Almost everything about FYP from the point of view of my first day was just absolutely terrifying.
Now, FYP, this university, my friends, sports, classes, and other extracurriculars aren’t scary. I’ve more than settled in here. I have routines, which is nice because I am a creature of habit. I’m getting to know all of my professor and then some. We are four weeks into school and I’m confident that I can make it through this semester at least. My first tests have come and gone, I’m keeping up with all my work, and I am not much less afraid to meet new people. Lacrosse has really helped me get out there and meet some awesome guys. Rush events and other greek life experiences have also led to me meeting new people. FYP deserves the credit for my new-found willingness to go out. It forced me to face my fear and make new friends. In a more literal sense, FYP has moved more from feeling like I was still in high school, as I felt during the immersion period, to being what I expected college to be like. As opposed to class all day every day, FYP meets once a week for 3 hours. We lead our own discussions, with little prompting from Professor Summers, and we are sent out into the world expected to have our work done by the time we end up in class the next week. I enjoy the freedom and flexibility that exist in our current FYP state. FYP, and college in general has taught me to be more responsible. It is the student’s job to keep up with assignments and study and be prepared. Professors rarely nudge students unless they come asking for help. I had never realized how normal it would feel to be out on my own at this age before FYP. It seems natural for me to be living on my own at this point. I feel mature enough to be in this microcosm without parental supervision. Finally, as FYP comes to a close, I feel comfortable, and brave, and tired. It has worn down on me through these past 5 and a half weeks.