My First College Experience


Photo by Erin Conner

The RIT Bengal tiger mascot, "Ritchie" braves the winter months in upstate NY - note the icicles forming on his already massive teeth.

As a junior in high school college is right around the corner, thus this is the perfect time to compile a list and begin college visits. Although I did not come to Rochester Institute of Technology interested in their studies but, rather to visit someone, I left questioning what my future holds.

Experiencing the entire college culture was a bit of a shock and also surprising to see how things are run differently compared to high school. Sharing a room with a stranger along with a bathroom, walking from building to building to get to different classes and activities, eating the same food over and over again and also just the immense amount of people present here at all times. All of which are in stark contrast to the same eight period day routine that we all are subject to in high school.

As an outsider walking around and staying on campus here it feels extremely foreign and wrong – in a sense. There’s almost a state of panic on your first day, and although I was lucky enough to be accompanied by an attending student at all times, I still felt as though I stuck out like a sore thumb. Everyone has their routine and way of life here at RIT, of which I am most definitely not accustomed to and had to learn quickly so I would not disrupt everyone else.

A tough feeling that I may have not felt so deeply due to the fact that I only visited for a few days would be loneliness. After speaking to multiple students I learned that one of the toughest battles is being away from your family, friends, and hometown for long periods at a time. Most said that for their first weeks they felt immense loneliness and some even report still feeling that frequently today in the second semester.

So this raised a question in my mind, do I want to go away to further receive my education?

There’s definitely a lot to consider and more time to experience new places but after visiting RIT my plans for my future may shift a bit. I gladly accept this as a learning experience and would highly recommend all juniors in high school to do the same. It’s an entirely new lifestyle that may change your ‘set in place’ plans.