*Muttering to self, pacing, jittery movements. Muttering gets louder, hand gestures become increasingly more animated* OK! *Claps hands together* Pep talk time ... .
In the space of a few hours, you'll be removed from your beach chair throne, clothed more fully, equipped with an absurd amount of weight on your back, and sent off to venture into newer parts. This should be exciting as all get-out, and not terrifying or disappointing by any means. Perk up a bit! You're headed toward your first year of Cuesta College! I know, there are collective groans. I was considering a pep rally but that would be too conflicting with your current obstinate mood. Overeager students dancing about to the brassy fanfares of marching bands isn't what you need right now. And who wants to join in for a first rousing chorus of some alma mater you don't know for a school you don't care about yet? (Hmm, I'm not making this any better, am I?)
Luckily for you, there's no alma mater to sing here, but if there were, I know it would most likely be something super jazzy due to a large jazz program, so let's pretend it really does for a moment. Just imagine something classy and suave, and maybe a dim room. Granted, there's nothing that suave about your first few years of college, though they certainly are classy. Don't look at me like that; it was right there. Just focus on that pleasant mental image of trenchcoats and hip cats, the cats in particular being cougars. That's right, Jack/Jackie, you've been taken up to the private lounge as an initiate in the Order of the Mountain Lion. Just don't walk too far in that direction, or you'll miss the destination and end up in a shooting range. Not that a day of education wouldn't be more entertaining if it involved archery, but let's go with one overly elongated train of thought at a time.
Now I realize that you still don't look convinced, but let's sally forth to a new perspective. This is a place where you'll be offered many freedoms—freedoms to study what you want, to a build a schedule that works for your own life. You'll make friends and make memories and make the grade, and that'll be great, and you'll make a fool out of yourself and make mistakes and that'll be great, too—sometimes even better. From here you have so many choices for the course you chart, even if you're forced to take the course from this chart over here to chart your own course. You'll find things to hate, and things to love, and if you're really luckily, the latter things will find you, though if avoided, I can almost guarantee the former things will find you anyway. But that's nothing too new, just a new set of each. You're at a well-staffed school with competent instructors, with a delectable if expensive cafeteria with a whimsical, hyperactive journalist with no sense of personal space chucking typed words at your face, but most importantly, you're at a notably different area in your routine and daily life, which can be much bigger than a one-day thing. This is all very big and seemingly unwieldy, but in the end, it is what you make of it, so don't let it get too far under your skin, alright? Unless of course it does so in the best way possible, and take it from me, that's not an altogether far-fetched possibility. See you on campus!
Intern Chris White-Sanborn takes you on something delightful, nefarious, and school-related every week in this very spot. Send your collegiate news, questions about college, and more if you'd like to firstname.lastname@example.org.