Currently, I am taking a rhet class, and as a last assignment, we were given a question relating to our first year here at college. (Yes, I am a freshman.) Anyway, I thought it might be an interesting question to ask people, regardless of their year in school. Even if you aren't a "freshman" like me, I hope you can still find a way to answer this question. If not for me, then maybe just for yourself.

You are coming up on the end of your first year of college. At the risk of invoking all kinds of sentimentality, I'm asking you to look back on this year and assess what you've learned. (Please, I'm not asking for such realizations as "I learned that sometimes you have to 'pull the trigger' to be sick before passing out.") Think of yourself at this time last year-- what were your expectations, and your hopes? And those first few weeks of college-- what did you think you knew then? And now that you have a better understanding of what college is like, what do you expect from the rest of your time here?

Since I can't figure out what to type to make a line here, I will just have to put a really big space for now. But this is what I thought on this matter.

Last year, I was on top of the world, with everything ahead of me. I had just graduated from high school, and I thought I was ready to get to college, and do just as well as I did in high school, and life would be great.

My first weeks on campus were pretty much like high school. School work during the week, partying like crazy on the weekends. The two never mixed, never coincided. Eventually, reality hit. My grade report came in at midterms. That was the end of too much partying.

Now, I party, don't get me wrong. I go out, but I go out in moderation. I make sure that I get my work done, or atleast enough of it that I won't be terribly behind. I actually worry about tests, quizzes, and homework. I try my hardest to get it done. And class? The main difference between now and then is that now, I go to class. I am proud to say that I did not miss one single chemistry lecture this entire semester. That is a big deal for someone who didn't go to class for an entire week and a half last semester.

I think most importantly, I learned that being here is a job. Almost one that is 24-7. I gotta get up and be on time for "work." Everyday, five days a week. Once I get my work done, then let the fun begin.

Also, I learned that it is possible to get what you want. Or atleast, earn what you want. I have wanted to go to college and become a doctor for as long as I can remember. For awhile there last semester, that seemed really far off in the distance. And it still might be right now, but I do know that while long-term goals are important, shorter ones are equally important. Bribe yourself, and then work to get it. (In my case, it was my mom doing the bribing, but still.) All I had to do was get all A's and B's this semester and I could get my belly button pierced. Now, I was in full understanding that at any given time, I could very well have gone and gotten it pierced anyway, since I am 19. But, that wasn't the point. (Well, that and my mom would pay for it. See I got pierced for the outcome.) I think bribing yoruself for something like getting a stereo, or taking a weekend off in the summer are all plausible bribes. I think I might use them in the future.

And while I do have a tangible reward that I like, in all honesty, the greatest reward is knowing that I accomplished something I wanted to and set out to do.