There is no stranger experience than adjusting to the college lifestyle after finally getting used to high school. Walking into a classroom full of 30 unfamiliar faces that you will be with for the next few months is a real uneasy feeling. The class is so full, yet so awkwardly quiet. Everybody’s head turns when the door opens with a new pair of squeaky shoes waiting to put the name to a face of their professor.
The college is a large commuter school made up of roughly 24,000 students. Everyone is here for different reasons whether it’s financial, “just getting the crappy classes out of the way first,” or trying to get their grades up after slacking in high school for four years. Whatever the reason, don’t listen to the “high school grade thirteen” rumors, Suffolk is a great place to start if you take advantage of the opportunity! Sure you can spend longer than two years here if you don’t meet the requirements to graduate but the choice is entirely up to you.
This is the time where everyone seems to be setting out to find themselves. What better place to do it than here at on campus? There are many different kinds of people here. We have the nerds, the jocks, the hacky sack group, the shirtless Frisbee players, the kids studying in the library, the kids sleeping in the library , the speed walkers, the turtle-pace walkers, the impossible-to-get-around-large umbrella holders, the underdressed girls and the boys who seriously need to invest in some belts. My personal favorites are the weather-confused girls; Uggs, a miniskirt, a tank top and a scarf… come on now, you don’t look cute and you’re making me wonder if you are hot or cold.
You will also run into those kids who never gave you the time of day in high school, but now that all 200 of their best friends have gone away to college, you are their best friend. You can either A. pretend to ignore them, or B. give in. My best answer for you? Stand up for yourself, pretend like you have no idea who they are like they did to you for four years. It will feel real good later.
The age of students here varies anywhere between 17 to… old. This has shown me that intelligence and the will to learn more is not marked by a certain age and that it is always possible to further your education. I saw a man walking through the hallways of the Southampton building wearing an “I’m retired shirt.” I also met a 42-year-old mother of two in my math class. She is the sweetest woman, looking to further her education towards her goal of becoming a nurse. Although she complains a lot about how math has changed since she was back in high school, it is a real eye opener to see someone so focused .This has really shown me that anything can be achieved if you put your mind to it. It’s never too late to forget your past and start fresh to get a good education; it’s never too late to reach your dreams.
Do you ever feel surrounded by others who will do anything, even run you down, to get out of here? Well, picture this. You are a mouse in a field of starving cats. The second you step foot into the parking lot to leave after class you hear engines start, blinkers clicking, and you see reverse lights from behind and in front of you. It usually results in a one or two-minute screaming match over who had whose blinker on first, but you just continue along your merry way happy to get out of here. The worst part of college life is definitely the parking lots. There are no where near the correct amount of spots for the amount of students who attend here. You basically have to arrive 45 minutes early for your class just to drive around looking for a parking spot for a half hour. Day two for me, lesson learned… if you arrive late, you will probably find a spot in one of the overflows so it’s your best bet to just start there and hike a mile to class. Just remember what lot you parked in, otherwise you’ll spend an hour walking through every lot trying to remember where you parked. Guilty as charged. Here at Suffolk it is safe to say the worst drivers in all of New York State have come together on one campus. Stop is the new go, 15mph is the new 55, and pedestrians rarely exist unless you beat them to the crosswalk and literally throw yourself onto it forcing them to stop. There is at least one car accident reported or unreported a week. I’ve witnessed three since my start here, just months ago.
However you want to look at it, Suffolk is a smoking campus. Hip hip hooray for those of you who are smokers, boo for me. I can’t stand the smell of smoke, and know first hand what it can do to you. I watched emphysema and lung cancer take the life of my grandfather in 2009. Oh the things I wish I could tell people to get them to stop, but they wouldn’t care to listen anyway. The point that I am getting to is whether or not you want to be around it, you are most definitely going to be. No matter what door you take in or out of the building, there is no way to avoid it. It seems like most of the student body here are in fact smokers. I personally think it is absolutely disgusting. A smoke-free campus would benefit everyone, but unfortunately that is not the case here.
As I sat at the cafeteria table people-watching specifically for this essay, I came to the conclusion that there are many unique individuals who come here. You see people wearing shark hats, outfits that come close to resembling Halloween costumes and people who speak loudly enough to represent the entire student body as a whole. I guess everyone is unique in their own special ways, but then what makes us different because we are all essentially the same…right? All I know is that the individuality calls for some interesting conversations in the classrooms and that makes the learning experience fun. Suffolk is a great place to get a good education and either earn just your associates degree, or look to transfer to continue your education. Whatever your reason for coming here was, you have made a great choice as long as you take advantage of what the college has to offer. You will meet a variety of different people, and find your place fast. Plus, you won’t be buried in student loans like most of your friends who went away to school.