By Shaina Pumputis
College. It is supposed to be the most wonderful time of young adults' lives. A time to be crazy and let loose and have fun.
Although it is the most fun time, it is a time where things change - and not everyone can adapt quickly.
According to http://www.collegeatlas.org/college-dropout.html, only 2/3 of people who attend a four-year college graduate.
Undergraduate students' lives change a lot in the four years they are in college. Students learn about themselves and what is important to them. Moving up throughout collegiate years, students slowly develop a sense of confidence, reflect on just how valuable education is, and discover their passions.
Freshmen. They stand out. Freshman year is a time when kids get to be on their own for the first time. Many are homesick, emotional and stressed with adjusting to a new life. However, they begin to learn the fundamentals of adult life.
Ellie Markarian, a Niagara student, said the biggest change was going from a structured environment to doing everything when you want to - not when you are told. The students are in charge of themselves and their own work. No more mom and dad telling them what to do and forcing you to go to class and to study; it is all on you.
Students see how different college is from high school. Many students realize how much less judgmental their fellow peers are. College is a place to find friends that you can be yourself around and not worry about what other people think.
Sophomores. Returning to college, students come back to school more knowledgeable and begin to figure out what it is they want in their lives. College is a time for students to explore and find ideas and topics that are interesting and important to them. These concepts help you grow as a person and learn more about yourself.
Matt Vizzi, who is also a Niagara student, commented on what he learned from sophomore year. His advice to others would be to make sure you do not to put yourself in a situation that is going to make you feel uncomfortable. Go out of your comfort zone, but do not overdo it. Use this time to figure out likes and dislikes and what appeals to you.
Sophomores in college already have a year under their belts and this makes it easier to start the school year off right. Students know and understand the ropes of college. Because of the experience gained throughout freshman year, homework and other situations become much more manageable.
This year offers the reassurance that students often need in order to ensure that what they are doing is the right thing. Students know that they can get through the school year, because they have already gone through it once. It is the year that students are able to look forward to the future and not feel nervous and scared about the decisions they have made.
Juniors. This time during college is exciting, because students are no longer underclassmen. The incoming students look up to the upperclassman. It is a stressful time, yet enjoyable because of the experience from the first two years of school.
Brianna Pumputis, a recent St. John Fisher College graduate, learned an important lesson junior year. This is a year that you have a solid group of friends; most people turn 21 and are the legal age to go out, which helps take away from unneeded stress. However, it is also a time she personally overdid it. She advises others to make sure you are not completely killing yourself, because it is a difficult year academically.
Seniors. The year of lasts is what many students say. Everything is marked as more of a milestone, because it is the last time students do many things. This can include registering for classes or even just the last Friday of the fall semester with friends. Everything is more memorable and emotional for students.
Rem Heil, a graduate of Niagara, said senior year you have a template and a schedule that you have become used to and have developed the confidence that you will be able to complete this phase of your life. It is a unique, challenging and exciting all at the same time between life as a college student and a young working adult.
Students' opinions and lives change drastically throughout the college years. However, according to several students, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel no matter what year of college you are in. College allows students to realize that learning does not just come from a classroom, but from the experiences and mistakes they make along the way.
College is a challenging four years but, in the end, you will be proud of how far you have come.
Pictured: Brianna Pumputis and Jessica D'Angelo, 2014 St. John Fisher graduates.