Dorothy once said, “Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.” Although this is a fictional situation, it holds some truth to the beginning of your college career.
Like Dorothy getting swept away by the tornado in the Wizard of Oz, you as college freshman are about to get swept away into a whole new world that will throw you many obstacles and shape you into the person you’re supposed to be.
In this scenario, high school graduation is the tornado that thrusts you into college. You have left the comfort of your own home and your parents to embark on a journey - let’s call this journey the yellow brick road - that will lead you to graduation and the beginning of the rest of your life.
When you get to college and start your path down the yellow brick road, you will get your first taste of freedom and adulthood. This newfound freedom is especially liberating, considering you just spent 18 years in a place known for chores, curfews, and other things you thought were detrimental to your high school social life. It is in this moment of liberation that you will start to become the person you are meant to be.
Now, of course, with this freedom comes both consequences and rewards.
It is here in college you will begin to form relationships. You will find people who will become your Lion, your Scarecrow, and your Tin Man and these relationships will last a lifetime, while others will end abruptly like water hitting the wicked witch. Surround yourself with people who actually care about your wellbeing and will help keep you focused. You don’t want people who will deter you from the goal you have set for yourself.
Parties are also inevitable and can be detrimental to your college career. This is where articles usually start to sound motherly, but I’m not going to do that. Instead I will tell you my personal story and let it serve as a warning.
My freshman year I was focused on my studies and even had a scholarship that gave me a full ride. Then sophomore year rolled around and classes got harder, my self-esteem began to suffer, my personal life began to take control, and I became depressed. All of this was too much for me and instead getting help from someone, I turned to alcohol. This lead to me skipping classes and sleeping all day instead. I became more worried about when the next party was than when my next assignments were due.
It wasn’t until the end of my sophomore year when I lost my scholarship, ruined my tuition free summers, and saw my GPA that I realized what I had done. Because I chose parties and getting drunk over talking or getting help, I’m now having to pay for some of my bill out of pocket as well as fight to raise my GPA so I can stay in school. Parties, while seemingly fun, are only fun for a weekend. If you let that scene suck you in and take over you will suffer the same fate as me - or even worse, ruin your college education.
During your time following this so called yellow brick road to the rest of your life, you will find your Lion, your Scarecrow, and your Tin Man. You will come in contact with things such as parties that will try to deter you from your studies. Things will happen to you that will be life-changing and you will have to make life-changing decisions. All this may seem like a lot, and it is a lot, but enduring all the obstacles along the yellow brick road will not only shape you into the person you will be, but it will lead you to your own personal Oz and it will be worth it.