Depending on who you are, going back to school may either be a joyous occasion that you spend the entire summer anticipating, or the worst reality check one could ever receive. Buying school supplies, spending a fortune on books and attempting to wake up at a time before 3 p.m. are only a few of the many adjustments that must be made before someone is fully prepared to tackle the “back to school” life. And I, Ke’Londa Magee, a new freshman, am here to share my experience on adjusting to life at Hinds Community College.
First and foremost, my sleeping schedule had to change. With classes beginning at eight in the morning every day, neither sleeping through all five of my alarms nor waking up at 12 in the afternoon was going to be in my favor. No matter how terrifyingly cozy my bed is, I needed to get up and get ready. Being late is not an option for me, and shouldn’t be one for you either. Therefore, I managed to get ahold of the loudest alarm clock I have ever heard in my entire life and set it to five in the morning. Now the fear of waking up my entire hall jars me awake before the actual alarm does, and my oversleeping problem is solved!
Once I finally fell out of bed and got ready for the day, I was faced with the crushing realization of what comes next: walking to class. I like to believe I’m average in terms of physical condition. However, when it’s 7:30 in the morning and I need to walk across the entire campus just to solve a few math problems I probably could have done in the comfort of my dorm, I start to wonder why I didn’t sign up for online classes instead.
The next problem I needed to tackle was my eating habits. Living at home with a family of six, my parents always went out of the way to make sure the kitchen was well stocked. Never could we complain about not having something to eat. I would go into the kitchen anytime my stomach let loose the tiniest rumble and could always count on finding whatever my heart desires in there. Now things are a little different. Of course, Hinds provides three meals a day, but snacks? I don’t have $1.25 to give a machine every time I’m feel like eating Oreos. My late-night cravings have officially been cancelled.
Going along with the “too broke for midnight snacks” topic, I’ve been way too conscious about how much money I’m spending. Every time I get a $1.50 Gatorade from the vending machine, it feels like I just took $20 out of my account. I keep expecting the bank to call me and tell me I over drafted my account. It always feels like I’ve lost $15 when, in reality, I only spent 50 cents.
The social scene here is also vastly different from what I am used to, particularly in one very significant way: I do not know these people. The majority of the students I graduated high school with I’ve known since elementary. Here there are so many new faces and unique personalities that it can be a little overwhelming sometimes. I am slowly making new friends, though.
Education became another situation I’ve stumbled upon that I must face. I spent the entire summer relaxing and giving myself a much-needed mental vacation, but I now need to put myself back into the habit of actually using my brain again. I’m doing OK. I’ve (somewhat) remembered how to write and math isn’t as scary as it was before. I’ve also gotten better at keeping up with what day it is because let’s face it: unless it someone’s birthday, the only dates in the summer are June and July.
On the first day of school, an anonymous teacher said something that really stuck with me. This teacher answered the question almost every student asks at least one in this life. “Why do we have to learn all of this?” Certain subjects have nothing to do with what we want to do with our lives, and yet we still need to learn them.
Basically, the teacher’s answer was this: “You have to have basic competence. It’s kind of like if you’re going to be a well-mannered person you need to know how to chew with your mouth shut. In the same way, there are certain histories and other things that, to be a well-educated person, you need to know. These things tell you about the world around you.” Having the question I’ve asked myself for years answered was the perfect way to kick off an incredible first semester of college. All in all, I’d say I’m adjusting very well to Hinds.
Ke’Londa Magee of Vicksburg is a freshman at Hinds Community College.