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Four Years at the Mount

Freshman year

First Semester Windup

Samantha Strub

(1/10) Well this is it, the closing of the first semester. I can't believe that soon we will be packing up our bags after the dreaded exams for a well-deserved Christmas break. It seems like just yesterday I was driving toward the Mount on move-in day. It's crazy to think that it's been months since that unforgettable experience. So much has occurred. It's been an unreal blur! Many things happened as I expected, like forming lasting friendships, getting involved, and making crazy memories, yet lots of unexpected things happened at the same time. I would have never thought there could be so much activity, homework, or drama-and becoming published! I knew the day that I stepped foot onto this campus that I was supposed to go here. All of the wonderful opportunities that I have had since then have affirmed this simple fact. If, at the beginning of the year, however, you had told me all of these things would happen, I would have said you were crazy.

I feel like an entirely new person since I have been at the Mount. I have grown so much in the past couple of months. I have discovered who I am. While finding yourself, you go through ups and downs and find out who your true friends are. Through it all you are still left with great memories that will last a lifetime! Even the mistakes you have made reflect who you are. All you can do is learn from them, bounce back, and then move on with no regrets.

Some of my best memories from this semester have come from the field hockey team. Friendships were formed on those long car rides to play weekend games that we got up way too early for. I have made some of my best friends, and we all grew closer playing a game we love. I believe that this teamwork has helped shape who I am, as well as gotten me into shape. It created dedication, responsibility, and amazing memories. Because of our friendships, the transition from outside to indoor play wasn't too bad, even though they are quite different. We always seemed to have bad luck during our outdoor season, but that all changed when we switched to indoor. At our outdoor games someone always seemed to get hurt. In addition to acquiring multiple bruises, we had terrible weather. These rough times brought us together rather than bringing us down. We knew that if we persevered we would have success. Without that knowledge, our luck would not have changed when we switched to indoor hockey. Even though we just started our indoor season, we have had instant success, showing that our hard work is paying off.

Field hockey was just one of the ways that I got involved on campus this first semester. I joined the Education Club, Focus, group Bible study, work study, and I became a columnist for the Emmitsburg-News Journal. I also have my horse here, and I ride and take care of her every day. It was interesting to manage all of this, while still having my studies as my first priority and a social life. I knew it wasn't impossible because I did some of these things in high school. It just took a little while to figure out how to balance everything. School work always came first for me and that resulted in many late nights up to 3 a.m. In the short term that concept works, but you get drained. Then you cannot function and no one wants to be around you. You might want to think about putting a sign around your neck saying, "Got no sleep last night = Grumpy. Don't talk to me!" That would have applied to me on many cases. There is a point, though, when you can't run on adrenaline any longer; then you crash!

This "crashing" did happen to me. It was about the third week of school, and I had had a crazy week. My classes pretty much all had tests or papers. At the same time, field hockey practice was underway; my horse came so I was at the barn a lot, and I was socializing until the wee hours of the morning. As you can imagine I was exhausted! That Friday night I went to bed around 4 a.m. and literally slept the day away. I woke up around 8 p.m. on Saturday--16 hours straight! That must be a record. I have no idea if I would have awakened if it wasn't for my phone going crazy with a bunch of friends calling and texting me wondering what had happened. It took me a while to realize that it was 8 at night; my one friend had to keep telling me that it was really p.m. and not a.m. because I didn't believe her for the longest time. This crazy experience taught me that I needed to get my sleep and not be up too late every night. Some nights, yes, you need to be up really late studying and other times for the much-needed socializing. But I changed how I did things day to day, and I was able to get more sleep. It's also a fact that you're in college: there is so much to do and not enough time to do it. You're going to be tired.

Balancing everything is what college is about. You learn during your first semester/year how much time you need to spend on each of your activities. Doing the things that interest you make you unique. Everyone has different talents, whether they are academic, athletic or something else. Doing activities you enjoy alongside the academics makes you produce better work and helps you stay focused. I need to be able to step away from the piles of homework and do something that I'm passionate about. When I'm so stressed out I'm about to scream, I go to the barn and ride my horse until I'm relaxed. I also do this with field hockey and as a columnist for the Emmitsburg-News Journal. Being able to pull my mind away from the books and go out and ride, hit some balls, or write out my feelings does wonders for my academics. True, this doesn't work for everyone, but it's something that I discovered this semester that works for me. My studies would not be as good if I wasn't involved in a lot of things. This helps me focus on schoolwork and every other aspect of my life. Yes, it does seem kind of backwards, but it works for me and that what this first semester is all about-finding yourself!

Being involved in a lot of different activities doesn't mean that you can neglect your studies. Your studies always need to be number one because that's what you're really at college for. Everything else is just an accessory. Someone is paying a lot of money for you to go; they sacrifice so you can take your work seriously. You should also care because what you do now will affect your career later on. Your education will serve you always and will continually give back to you. It takes a lot of hard work, but that perseverance will pay off in the end.

The hardest part is before us. The final push--finishing the last two weeks of the semester. It's the hardest time, not only because of all the papers, tests and dreaded exams, but because you know that freedom is so close! You just have to keep in mind the long, well- deserved month of break as you go through the pain.

Read past editions of Samantha Strub's Four Years at the Mount

Samantha Strub is a Freshman at Mt. St. Mary's majoring in English with a Secondary Education minor. Samantha will be authoring an on-going column sharing her thoughts, achievements, thrills and yes disappointments as she progressed from being a Freshman to Mount graduate.