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  Freshman Year, Here I Come
By Darra Clark
Article provided by iHigh.com

Okay, so it's the end of July. I'm working, hanging out with my friends, and slowly having a month-long panic attack. As the mail piles up in my room about housing and accepting my financial aid and not bringing halogen lamps, I'm beginning to believe I've stepped into an alternate dimension. That's right, I'm preparing for my freshman year of college, and trust me, it's a scary thing.

I think one of the best quotes I've ever heard regarding the transition from high school to college came from Jared Hall, a rising sophomore at Transylvania University: "It's like taking you're whole life, throwing it up in the air, and hoping it lands alright." As far as I can tell, the graduates I know who are going off to places like Kenyon, Cornell, Stanford, Rice, Eckerd, and Arizona State, are all stuck in the air, flapping and trying not to break anything. Sarah Troyer, a graduate from Lexington, Ky., who's off to the University of Cincinnati, sums it up pretty well: "It's really exciting, but it's the scariest thing ever. I still don't think of it as real. I keep thinking that the first day of school will come and I'll go back to (my high school)." That surreal feeling seems to be ever-present as far as the entire high school-college transition goes. Packing her suitcase, Laura, also of Kentucky, said, "You see, I'm packing away all my clothes and books, but I'm not ACTUALLY going anywhere. College is just imaginary, and I will not actually move across the country from everyone I know."

Perhaps it's just that which makes the entire transition seem so foreign. For many graduates, going off to college means leaving everything and everyone which is familiar to live in a new place, take hard classes, fill out forms to try and get the money they need for books and food and hope to survive

Of course, leaving everything and everyone is not the ONLY thing which helps mess with one's mind. There are, of course, the maddening amounts of shopping to be done. Alison, soon to study at the College of Charleston, lamented, "I think I've spent $800, shopped myself into delirium, and I still don't have everything." You create list upon list upon list of things you need, realize that if you buy them all before you leave, you'll have no way to take them out with you, and go into a panic at four in the morning when you realize "I can't take the study lamp I bought! It's a halogen lamp! It'll catch fire and it's banned in the dorm and oh my god I must go buy a brand new lamp right now!" It's definitely a maddening thing, like stepping onto a wildly fast carousel with no idea that the music was specially designed to mess you up even further.

At the moment, my friends and I are still somewhat calm and together: we've still got another week or two before any of us leave!

Article provided by iHigh.com

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