Letter from the editor | Don’t rush your college experiences


TPN File Photo

The Cathedral of Learning alongside the Mary Schenley Memorial Fountain.

By Betul Tuncer, Editor-in-Chief

For many college students, their first day on campus is one they’ll never forget. As they walk around campus hauling their stuff in a moving cart, taking in all the buildings and scenery and watching as new and returning students navigate the busy college campus, they wonder what new adventures they’ll experience. 

While I myself have never really lived that exact moment thanks to the pandemic, I still think it’s worth mentioning, since for many students that first moment they walk on campus signifies the start of a new chapter. Sure, this is a cliche way of looking at college, but isn’t that what we’ve been shown our entire lives? American movies and shows always depict move-in day as an iconic experience of college life.

And although the movies are not entirely wrong with this depiction, the first day of college is not necessarily the most important moment in college. For some, their first day may lay the groundwork for how the rest of their college experience is going to play out, but for many others this isn’t always the case. Take it from someone who never got to experience that “first day.” 

In theory, or like the movies have shown us, the first day of college is like the first day of high school — in which you make all your forever friends, decide how you want to be perceived and mentally map out your surroundings. In reality, college life is much more complex. And it seems like almost every day is your “first day.” 

On a college campus like Pitt’s this really is true, since there’s so many people to meet, places to visit and things to do. And with so much to explore, it’s normal to not have everything figured out by your first day on campus, let alone your first week. Even going into my junior year, there are still places on Pitt’s campus I have yet to visit and so many people I have yet to meet. 

The pandemic acted as a reminder to many of us that our time and life is valuable. Throughout the past two years, we watched the world as we knew it change before our eyes, experienced the worst and best parts of humanity and were forced to reckon with many unpleasant realities. And while for many this time was filled with hopeless moments, it was also a learning experience to not take life for granted — which is exactly why we should cherish our years as college students.

Life in college can often seem rushed and limited, but it doesn’t have to be. There’s no need to limit your experiences from day one of college. You don’t have to make all your friends and have the rest of your four or so years planned out all at once. Take your time getting to know people, be a little spontaneous and enjoy even the little things. 

Going into your first year of college you’ll want to experience everything all at once, especially given that the pandemic has shown us that the world changes rapidly, but you won’t be getting the most out of your college experience by doing that. It’s important to appreciate the many experiences of college in the moment, and not just let them pass by. 

College is when you get to take your time learning how to navigate life, so you shouldn’t rush it. You don’t gain much from a class by not taking notes, not studying or procrastinating all your assignments. The same logic applies to life in general. 

If you want to make the most out of your college experience, you have to be willing to learn both through your classes and your everyday experiences. Be open to new things, adapt as you move along and don’t limit yourself based on some preconceived notion you may have of the “perfect” college experience. 

And remember, even if your first day doesn’t go as you might have hoped, there’s always the next day, and the day after that. 

Best of luck!