My Experience As A First-Year College Student In Atlanta

My Experience As A First-Year College Student In Atlanta (Getty Images)

College was always at the forefront of my mind while in high school. I always dreamed about plopping my backpack and myself down smackdown in the middle of the campus green space of my future college to study to my heart’s content. As a college freshman now, I can proudly admit that I have done that with a good view of the production of a film and what traffic may look like for my peers who commute to campus. 

From the description that I have given of my campus’s green space, you may be wondering as to what university I attend. Of course, the answer to that question is none other than Georgia State University. 

GSU is known for being one of the nation’s leading urban research universities with it being located right in the heart of Atlanta. I attend classes on the Atlanta campus which is just one of its seven campuses located throughout metro Atlanta. When I began to wrap my mind around the fact that one of the most populated capital cities in the United States would be my home for the next four years, I have to admit that it felt pretty daunting. 

During the first couple of weeks, it took me a while to get used to the hustle and bustle of the city as I crossed the streets heading to classes or tried dozing off to sleep over the noises produced by the city that never sleeps. But I am now a pro crosswalker and heavy sleeper since those noises are merely a lullaby to me now. 

This may sound like I have never stepped foot into this city before now which is entirely false since I grew up in metro Atlanta and have enjoyed visiting various sites of city throughout my childhood, but I knew that would not equate to me automatically excelling at navigating this city which is what I am continuing to do. With one semester under my belt, studying and adulting in a city that is this grand has made me rethink the phrase “the world is your oyster” since the phrase should really be “the world is your oyster and Atlanta as its pearl.” 

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I wanted the public service announcement that life as a college student has definitely not been all sunshine and rainbows to be made known loud and clear. During the first couple of weeks of attending classes, I caught two bad colds which kicked off my adulting journey since I had to check my temperature, remind myself when to take cough medicine and take myself to the campus bookstore to purchase tissues and cough drops. There have been nights when I have cried myself to sleep over not making friends as quickly as some of my peers in my graduating class and constantly comparing my current college experience to those of others as I scroll through my Instagram feed does not help at all. 

I also chose not to join any on campus organizations this semester because I was honestly still burnt out from all the extracurricular activities that I participated in throughout. 

I wanted this semester to be dedicated to learning about what I wanted to contribute to campus rather than forcing myself to join every other campus organization and putting forth only half hearted efforts. The ways that I have learned how to cope with the challenges and feelings that have resulted from these new experiences are by journaling to release my feelings of feeling of frustration and self-doubt onto the page, taking advantage of my campuses counseling center, communicating my feelings with my family and friends, and knowing that there are 57 colleges and universities in Atlanta with freshmen students who my share the same feelings of frustration and self-doubt as I do. 

Through and through, I would not change a single second of my first semester as a college student after realizing now that the beginning does not always have to be perfect because then the journey would not be worth it.

There are reasons why I am proud to call the city of Atlanta my home for the next four years. For one, it is known for being the Black Mecca of this country for its association with Black achievement in areas such as business, music and media. That title means the world to me as a young African American woman who aspires to become a journalist. 

The vast history that was made in this city just continues to have me in awe. I feel honored to live on a campus that is fairly close to the John Lewis HERO Mural that rises above Auburn Avenue and that was built around Hurt Park which was where Martin Luther King Jr. addressed civil rights activists in 1963. Being surrounded by so much of my history makes me more whole as a person.

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