Beginning your freshman year of college is the final symbolic cutting of the umbilical cord between you and your parents. Moving into a dorm, the first taste of freedom, separation from the rules and routine established and enforced in your own home; the world lies before you for the taking. For some, college is the first time you’ll have the freedom to choose what you want to eat every day or whether or not you want to actually fold your laundry.
Seemingly simple decisions such as these elicit excitement when you realize the undeniable creative reign you now have over your life. In making those decisions, it’s hard not to imagine the ripple effect of the choices you will make in the next four years. As daunting as that sounds, those decisions are incredibly vital to who you are to become. Everything from the friends you keep to how you align yourself politically is up for grabs. Rather than be intimidated by this, be encouraged by the limitless possibilities and freedom you have before you.
Spending 18 years in the same home, around the same people, it’s easy to find yourself attached or subscribing to certain beliefs, routines and habits. The political expectations and assertions of your parents may have been assumed your whole life, and in the political climate we are in now, it can be comforting to cling to those same familiar ideas. However, college is the perfect opportunity to branch out and consider new things. Making a conscious effort to educate yourself on the unfamiliar can greatly impact your understanding of our country’s political environment. For much of the freshman class, recently having turned 18, this will be the first time you’re able to vote and partake in the election process. For this reason alone, exploring and developing your individual political beliefs is more important than ever. If you’ve ever found yourself biting your tongue listening to your parents discuss politics, or just have never even considered that there are more opinions those that of your family, now is the perfect time to explore what you may know little about. You can do this simply by researching political topics and staying more up to date on the news. Berry offers great on-campus resources for learning more about politics and even getting involved through various political and social awareness student organizations such as College Republicans and Young Democrats.
Outside of political education, college also provides a great environment for exploring and creating your own spiritual identity. Some may come from homes where religion is strictly enforced, no questions asked. Others may come from homes where a spiritual aspect was never something that was discussed. Regardless of your background, if religion is something you’re interested in, Berry’s student organizations act as great resources for education and exposure to multiple religious groups across various religions. These student organizations act both as ways to learn more about beliefs you may not fully understand or be familiar with, and outlets to get involved and find community.
While religion and politics seem to be serious inquiries to undertake your freshman year, there are plenty of other decisions and actions you can make which would aid in further developing your own sense of self and identity. Everything from intramural sports to getting involved in service groups on campus are greats means of self-discovery. Even from the smallest hobbies or interest, you learn things about yourself which are constructive in your journey to adulthood.
Developing and growing into your own identity and creating a feeling of individuality can only come from a willingness to experience and take in what’s new around you. While it may be comfortable and easy to continue in the beliefs and routine you’ve known your whole life, in that you’ll miss out on the possibilities of independence which college offers. This isn’t just a call to action for incoming freshmen either. It’s never too late to learn something new or take up a new hobby or interest. Don’t let a desire for comfort keep you from taking advantage of the liberty college provides.
The Carrier’s editorial opinion represents the views of the senior leadership of the Campus Carrier and Viking Fusion news staff.