An EPPS Freshman Reflects on Adjusting to College Life

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By Maddie Keith

Everyone knows that there are two types of college kids. First, there are the long distance runners. These are the ones whose feet cross the threshold of home only when a turkey is roasting in the oven, a lit-up tree can be seen through the window, or the blooming of Texas Bluebonnets indicates to one and all that a week-long spring reprieve is just around the corner. Then there are the Natives. Those whose parents barely register that they’re in college because every weekend is spent at home trying to steal one or two home-made meals before they return to the glories of Ramen Noodle Soup. I, and many others however, do not belong in either of these categories but rather lie somewhere in between.

In many ways, most of us consider ourselves to be natives- no doubt about it. Though we may not be able to name every restaurant, coffee house, and hang-out in Richardson (yet), we’re still Dallas-ites. We can get you around the metroplex with minimal use of Google Maps. We’ve gone on more field trips to the Dallas Museum of Natural History than we’d care to remember. We’ve spent our childhood covered with remnants of fried food from the Texas State Fair. And most of us have a pretty good handle on the new hotspots like The Perot Museum and Klyde Warren Park. But, unlike some of the previously mentioned Dallas Natives, home isn’t quite so accessible. Dallas is a big city and our infamous highways are just crazy enough that, for some of us, going home means an hour drive or longer and seeing our family becomes less of a ‘every weekend’ situation and closer to ‘whenever we’re free enough to make the drive’. This is even harder for people (like yours truly) who lack cars. Now, keep in mind, this dilemma isn’t one of such gravity that it’s necessarily worth complaining about. But I think I speak for many of us when I say it feels a bit unusual to be living in the city that you grew up in, one that seems so familiar, but at the same time be contained in a place with which you have very little experience. In a way, we too our long distance runners who are finding a new home: In Richardson, in our dorms, and at UT Dallas.

In addition to this somewhat unique change, I myself am going through a rather interesting adjustment. I am a triplet and for the first time I’m not attending the same school as my siblings. Heck, I’m not even in the same city as them. My sister, Melody, chose to become a proud attendant of The University of Texas’s main campus in Austin, and (because we always have to have a little competition amongst the three of us) my brother, Matt, is now a student at A&M in College Station. Now, in my life-time, I’ve probably got the “Wow! You’re a Triplet?! What’s that like??” question more times than I’d like to think about. But recently the question that is rapidly shooting up the ranks is “What’s it like to not to be with your siblings?” In truth, I’m still working on an answer. My siblings and I have (obviously) always lived in the same house. We’ve always gone to the same school, shared the same teachers, and even had the sat in the same class together on occasion. But we are not the same people. We’re fraternal, we don’t like the same type of music, we all have different interests academically-speaking, and we all three have different personalities. And it’s not like we spend every waking moment with each other. In short, we are not the kind of triplets who conform to cliché. We aren’t clones who complete each other’s sentences and can’t stand to be apart. But that doesn’t mean that being separated from my brother and sister hasn’t brought changes into my life. In terms of school, I no longer have two people who I can automatically go to if I need help with homework or if I want a study-buddy. We can no longer rant about the more annoying qualities of a teacher we share or catch up on recent gossip. But things have changed on a more personal level as well. Throughout my life I have always been 1 of 3. That there were 2 other people who shared my birthday was common knowledge to everyone who knew us and, because we shared many of the same teachers, my actions, my grades, my personality, everything was almost constantly considered alongside those of my siblings, for better or for worse. Now, for the first time in my life, I’m not 1 of 3. There’s no Maddie, Melody, and Matt. There’s only Maddie. I’m simply me.

There are so many things in college that require adaptation. Whether you’re moving here from another country, another state, a house five minutes down the road, or somewhere in-between, you’re still entering a whole new world. The campus is unfamiliar territory, our teachers haven’t known us since we were obnoxious pre-teens, and our social lives are getting a definite reboot. But college is a place for adventures. Here, you make friends who you’ll have for the rest of your life, take classes that’ll determine your career. College is a clean slate, a new beginning. I think that being separate from my siblings, being my own self without them by my side will provide exactly that. A new home. A fresh start. An adventure.

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