I don't want you to blink and miss it.
College is a funny thing: it tends to sneak up on you. At first, four years can seem like an eternity of time. Likely (you would think) enough time to participate in many clubs and activities, field a demanding social life, and even become a stellar student on the side.
With proper planning, you can definitely manage to fit most of that in. If that's your goal, though, be prepared for some chaos. Time in college seems to flow in blurs instead of minutes. One day you'll turn around, and suddenly be a senior.
I have come to realize that college happens when we aren't looking. We tend to fixate on major goals for our "college experience," but it really is the smallest moments you take with you.
Right now, those of you on campus for the first time are in a rush to unpack, finalize schedules, and figure out where you need to be and when. I shared these concerns as a freshman, but the specifics have grown fuzzy. What I do remember clearly is standing outside of the UC, after spending an hour looking for the bookstore. There was a huge crowd of students around the money wall and travelling up and down the street. I hadn't slept at all the night before, tossing and turning in my new dorm room, and I can still feel the overwhelming sensation of nervous queasiness.
Two guys saw me holding a map, and asked if they could help me find something. I must have looked a little terrified. When I told them I was looking for the UC, they pointed to the doors about ten feet away from me. Instead of laughing at my obliviousness, they wished me luck as I scurried away blushing. I was so grateful for their kindness.
I hope you will take time to look beyond the chaos this week, and to properly soak up your first few days on campus. College is not a trite timeline of hallmark occasions, but an infinite string of small experiences that shape you into an entirely new person.
Freshmen year is a rollercoaster ride. You will have the highest highs and lowest lows you've yet experienced in life. Your life is going to get even more complicated than it was in high school. That's where we come in.
Keeping track of the swarm of activities, meetings, and events that take place at UT on a daily basis can be daunting. Even so, there is a great deal of information you will want and need to maximize your time on campus. At The Daily Beacon, we've got your back.
My dedicated staff and our team of writers are on the ground everyday keeping track of the students, events, clubs, organizations, and activities that keep this campus abuzz. Daily, we spend hours previewing, recapping, and compiling all of this information for you to have at your fingertips. We also throw in student commentary, campus history, and perspectives on UT's culture that you can't find anywhere else.
If you're smart, you will use our experience and admittedly tedious hours of legwork to your advantage. I can promise you, The Daily Beacon staff will be handing it to you straight. It helps that we're an immensely entertaining group as well (sometimes unintentionally).
As you settle in, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to The Daily Beacon, the EDITORALLY INDEPENDENT newspaper of the University of Tennessee. By editorially independent, we don't only mean that the content in the Daily Beacon is planned, written, and presented completely autonomously. Our staff also produces this paper as students for students.
We have experienced Neyland on game days, passed (or failed) organic chemistry, seen campus lit up at night from the top of Ayers, taken a bowling elective just to graduate, and worn a disproportionate amount of orange. The Daily Beacon, since 1906, has been dedicated to shedding light on the triumphs and trials of student life at UT. I hope you will trust it to do the same for you.
— Blair Kuykendall is a senior in the College Scholars Program. She can be reached at email@example.com.