By Emily Culberson, For The Miami Student
This is the first of four stories following a group of students through their first year of college.
College is a time for growth and new beginnings; closing old doors and opening new ones. Four first-year students entered Miami all from the same Cincinnati high school, Oak Hills, but have already begun to take very different paths in Oxford.
For first-year Becca Miller, college has been a lot more welcoming than she initially expected.
"People are a lot more understanding and mature and a lot nicer [at Miami than at my high school]," Miller said.
Miller is a forensic science major who has already found herself growing and changing through her Miami experience.
"I was really shy [in high school]," Miller said. "It was obvious in the way that I held myself and it was obvious in the way that if someone tried to talk to me in class I just kind of shrugged them off."
But Miller admitted she already senses a change in herself.
"I'm good at socializing now," Miller said. "I don't know what happened between high school and college, I just blossomed. I started talking a lot more and I've made a lot of friends because I don't care what other people think anymore."
Meanwhile, first-year Samantha Bosse said she is worried she will not have enough time in the day to participate in all that Miami has to offer. Bosse and Miller are roommates, but only by chance. They both went random and wound up with each other.
"[In high school] I was very focused on my schoolwork," Bosse said. "Grades came first. I was in lots of clubs and things, so pretty involved I'd say. I didn't go to parties a whole lot."
Bosse is majoring in marketing and said she has already fallen into a routine at Miami.
"I feel like I'm already set in a routine and I hate that because I want to figure out what all there is on campus to do and be a part of and it's been only a month and I [already] do the same thing every day," Bosse said.
Along with the lack of variation in her routine, Bosse is finding it hard to fit in all activities of interest into her very busy schedule.
"I'd like to get in a business organization because I'm at [the Farmer School of Business] and they say you should join an organization in Farmer and out of Farmer," Bosse said. "I tried to but it didn't really fit in my schedule."
But Bosse admits she still appreciates the freedoms that college offers through its overall design.
"High school is a lot more structured [than college] because you go to class and there are bells between all your classes and you have no decisions to make," Bosse said. "You are just going to school."
For first-year Joe Anderson, Miami has been a great experience so far due to the support group of friends he came with from Oak Hills.
"I came in [Miami] with a really good group of friends right away and we're always together so it's like a comfort zone at this point which is nice," Anderson said.
But Anderson, a software engineering major, still sees change coming his way through his college experiences.
"I think I'll do a pretty good job at not changing [who I am] in the negative way," Anderson said. "Hopefully I'll make positive changes, I [just] don't know what those are yet."
But completing the transition from high school to college already proved to be fairly simple, according to Anderson.
"It's been a pretty easy transition," Anderson said. "I've always had a pretty good amount of independence so it wasn't a huge shift. I just was transitioning from being independent at home to being independent away from home. It felt natural."
Anderson's friend from Oak Hills, first-year Rylan Hixson, said his transition to college still proved to be a bit of a shock in some aspects, despite having supportive friends.
"I didn't anticipate this feeling of 'holy crap, I'm on my own,'" Hixson said. "There's no one there to wake you up in the morning except your alarm, there's no one telling you to get your [work] done except for you."
Hixson is a university studies major and said he is still absorbing all that Miami has to offer.
"I didn't expect college [scheduling] to be this different," Hixson said. "You're not in a routine like you are in high school, which I appreciate so much more because it keeps things fresh, it keeps life interesting."
Along with all the nuances that college brings, Hixson is struggling with the distance from his girlfriend in Cincinnati.
"I miss my girlfriend. She's in Cincinnati and it's really hard not seeing her every day," Hixson said. "If she was here I would feel complete here. She's the missing puzzle piece."
Despite that missing piece, Hixson said Miami is where he belongs.
"You see that sunset through the trees and you're just like 'Oh, my gosh, this place is beautiful,'" Hixson said. "There is no where else I'd rather be."