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Opinion: My First Semester of College is More than I Could Have Expected


Imran (Photoo: Danish Imran)

Freshmen orientation set a really strong precedent for what was to come.

It was the beginning of a new journey. Welcoming. Full of energy. And I was beyond excited for new people, new adventures, and new memories.

And now, three weeks into the semester, I find myself asking important questions. Is college what I expected it to be like? What have my first few weeks of college really been like? I’d say there’s a lot to unpack.

My name is Danish, and I’m an international student here at LIU.

I’ve come from Dubai in pursuit of the genuine respect and interest America has for education. Being in New York is also a first for me, which adds another layer of adjustment to my college experience.

As aforementioned, my college experience began with orientation. An event that goes differently for everyone. I was thankful that they planned activities that pushed new people together, forcefully bringing all of us out of our shells.

Even now I remember a quote from the keynote speaker, “You’ve got five seconds to turn to your right and give any compliment to the person sitting there.”

(Photo: LIU)

With no time to even think about being socially anxious, I could see almost everyone participate. And that’s how the rest of the day progressed. Excitedly meeting new people, building new experiences, and creating new memories.

I will forever appreciate the diversity that both LIU and New York have to offer. Yes, Dubai is also a melting pot of all cultures, nationalities, and religions; but I like to see that continued here with even more acceptance and inclusion than I imagined. However, there are some weak spots, like I noted a lack of Muslim-inclusive food options during orientation, but with weaknesses there is also an opportunity to induce change (and that’s precisely why I’m running for Freshman Governor).

During orientation, the selection of clubs and organizations wasn’t as overwhelming as I imagined it to be, but with more of the university fairs, I have found myself overcommitted to more organizations than I can physically be part of. Yes, clubs are a fantastic way to meet new people, learn new skills, and experience new things; but there’s a healthy limit.

I can see myself choosing the clubs that offer the most to me in the coming weeks, and I feel like it’s an important rule for anyone looking to engage in extracurriculars.

Maintaining a safe balance of academia, extracurriculars, and ‘me-time’ is something we should all prepare for beforehand. Nonetheless, to see how active and engaged the LIU community is has been a constant inspiration, as well as a motivator, for me. It pushes you to bring out the best in yourself.

In regards to the academic side of my college experience, I’ve heard mixed opinions on classes and professors. It does come down to what you expect from a class and whether you have any interest in it.

I’ve been fortunate enough to appreciate every course I’m enrolled in (minus one math class, but I was quick to swap out of that).

However nerdy it may sound, I have found that Political Rhetoric is such an interesting subject to learn about. I had no idea what rhetoric meant going into the class, but a course on ‘learning to persuade like politic

ians’ very quickly resonated with me.

The university education has an evident amount of opportunities to offer. Embarrassingly enough, in high school I always avoided books and reading. Something about them would make me zone out in a matter of minutes.Much to my surprise, I now find myself speed-reading through these required texts and it still catches me off guard every time.

I’m still trying to grasp the idea of me and books together. It seems so surreal. Before this, I hadn’t even made it past page 8 in the one and only book I’d ever purchased with my own money. To an even greater surprise, I’m somehow deeply engaged in the 2500-year-old plays we analyze for literature class. It’s ironic because literature was the first subject I’d ever dropped in high school.

Reflecting on my freshman year thus far, I’m seeing the importance of keeping an open mind and maintaining a good level of excitement as I continue through the semester. Having an open mind has already been powerful enough to get me reading and even appreciating my literature class.

As interesting as classes may be, the workload is something I’m still getting adjusted to. It helps to know it’s a universal experience, and acknowledging that we are all adjusting to the vast difference between high school and college also brings some comfort.

Have I had late nights? Yes. Will there be more? Yes. Possibly even all-nighters? Yes. I’ve accepted this as the college experience. Besides, for me, all the more preparation for law school (and it surprises me how just a few months ago, my ambition to be a lawyer was coupled with my distaste for reading).

With a conscious effort to make the most out of the new people I meet, classes I take, and extracurriculars I partake in, I know new experiences and adventures have already begun assuming their place in the boundless blank-canvas that the college experience is.

I can also safely expect so much more to come. It really is only the beginning.

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