College life: the foreign struggles and solutions

Thousands of students and fans gather to watch the Western Carolina Catamounts football team. Football games at Western are used as a location for students to meet and assemble in support of their team. (Photo courtesy of Olivia Fontaine.)

The jump from high school to college is a big leap– arguably one of the biggest events a young adult will endure in their new lives. After graduating from Leesville with the class of 2018, my older sister, Claire Fontaine, got to experience these drastic changes first hand. After Claire had struggled through her 30 first days of college, I drove 296 miles to catch up with her.

Following a few hours of laughing and gossiping, Claire began to complain of everything she took for granted before college. She has always shared her struggles and hardships with me. I’ve always been grateful to have an older sibling, simply because I’ve never had to encounter life milestones without a role model before me. Claire has always been there to share her personal experiences, and lend important knowledge, so I can succeed when I am faced with the same challenges.  

In the midst of our deep talk, Claire shared some of her favorite parts of her new life in college. “The football games are awesome. The tailgates are probably the best part… It’s a great way to meet new people and branch out to new groups,” said Fontaine. Hearing about the football games through someone else is one thing, but personally experiencing the games is another. The experience is unexplainable. The loud music blasting through speakers, large masses of dancing students and open truck beds filled with tailgate food all created the chaotically fun atmosphere of the football games. I have begun branching out to those in my graduating class, in hopes of making new friends, who I can enjoy the wild football games with.

After sharing stories of her college favorites, Claire moved on to the harder parts of college, the parts I would need to start preparing for soon. Effective management of homework, sleep schedules and money were all topics she complained about for hours. “Money is one of the hardest things to control. I want to go buy my five dollar Starbucks drink, but instead I’m spending that money on ramen noodles. Having a strict budget is really difficult to maintain, but it is extremely important.”

Heeding these words, I have practiced saving my money, only splurging on truly necessary items. Driving back to my house for lunch, instead of a restaurant, has been my recent attempt to save money. This prevents me from dropping six dollars on sandwiches, drinks and fries daily.

With college life just around the corner, I am aware that my normal way of living is going to come to an end. Claire’s helpful information regarding college struggles has pushed me to prepare myself for the changes, sooner than later. The switch from high school to college is an unavoidable turn that I will experience in my life, but practicing these new ways of living will prepare me for the road that lies before me.

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