THIS. IS. SPART…Uh I Mean, COLLEGE!

If you’ve never seen the movie 300, you should. Yes, it’s violent, but it is also something you should definitely watch so you will understand some of the memes on the internet. If you still don’t want to, here’s a 15 second rundown: A Greek city-state called Sparta is basically a warrior nation that trains its citizens to be soldiers their whole lives. Big, bad, Persia tries to invade Greece. Sparta sends 300 soldiers to hold off the army 100,000+ Persians at a pass. Then the Persians manage to get through, but only after seven days of battle. Okay, what does this have to do with college? Bear with me.

If you go to a large, public institution, you will probably feel like a Spartan, not in the sense where you’re buff and strong, or that everyone around you is bad like a Persian, but you are the lone warrior trying to push through what seems like thousands of people to get to your class. It is awfully inconvenient that literally the whole school is flowing to one direction. Even more inconvenient is that there only seems to be one, long road leading to the halls of our classes, so everyone is rushing about trying not to awkwardly bump into each other and making room for the boarders and the bikers. This is how my first week of classes went.

img_6253Last year my first class started at 10, so I got used to sleeping in a little later, so this whole 8 am class thing was completely foreign to me. I wish I was as lucky as my roommate who doesn’t have to start class until 1 in the afternoon. Honestly, it wasn’t as bad as I thought. I feel more productive being an early bird and being the only person in the classroom was honestly quite relaxing. I took a quick selfie and captioned something very generic like “First one in class” and immediately sent it to as many friends as possible on Snapchat. A few minutes later, other students started shuffling in one by one, each one a bit more awkward but excited than the previous. I made small conversation with the people sitting next to me but slowly quieted when the professor walked in. I always thought college professors were old people with white hair, but she was pretty young and looked like a grad student. She donned a Team Instinct T-shirt with a blazer and jeans so it gave off a very casual feel, which made me enjoy this class before it had even started. She asked us if any of us played Pokemon Go. Of course, my hand shot up, I had trekked multiple kilometers to hatch a Caterpie and had lost more than my count of Pokeballs to catch a Pidgey. Weirdly enough, I was the only one that raised my hand, and no one else really caught on the banter my teacher and I had about our mutual distaste for Team Valor. Things were definitely going well.

img_6292My next class was more of what I had expected of a college class, a large lecture hall for about 300 confused looking college students trying to sit as far away from the front as possible and awkwardly bumping into everyone they possibly can. I headed straight to the front. The professor was just off the walls. He wore a white button up with a messy tie and jeans with some Supra high tops. He looked like a college kid stuck in a mid-life crisis, but he was absolutely entertaining and captivating as hell. His approach to history was very different from those in high school which emphasized on exact dates. Instead, he wanted us have full comprehension of the concepts and ideas, which is how I liked learning. I always thought lectures would be boring, but it was honestly the best lecture I have ever been to, I could not wait to come back Wednesday and learn why calories were the start of civilization in East Asia.

A six hour break separated me from my East Asia class to the last class of the day, Business Presentations. It is one of my favorite classes that I have ever attended. I always had a soft spot for classes that would teach valuable skills geared towards my interests, not so much those that would test me on how many watermelons I can fit in a wheelbarrow. The professor was so enthusiastic about his teaching too. The way he moved across the room and got the whole class to participate put all of us at ease. Our class isn’t large (24 people) and that is how I’ve always liked them. You learn to get close with your classmates and the professors have better opportunities to connect with the students one on one. As the class ends with him telling us about the course expectations, he told us by the next class to have a presentation ready. Man, college moves fast. I head back to my dorm to start brainstorming.

This is what a typical week for me looks like, although on Tuesdays and Thursdays I have a large lecture hall math class and a business computer class. I’m choosing not to write about them because they are not nearly as exciting as these other ones. It may seem odd that I am 2 months in and writing about my first week of school, but honestly not much has changed besides my analogy of a Spartan I had at the beginning of this article. You see, this is more of a reflection. Going into college, it may seem like everyone is against you. You’re the lone warrior trying to get through and by unscathed and no one is there to help you. But that isn’t true. The reasons the Spartans were so powerful wasn’t because each individual was extremely strong, but because they worked as a unit and were responsible for the man on either side of them.

img_6343Here’s a good example. I live in the Kelley Living Learning Center (I recommend all of you to check those out at your school) and it is indeed a community. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. Not all of us are good at math, English, presenting, computers, etc., but all of us have something to contribute and have a single goal: to become successful. I cannot recall a night where less than three of my friends are just lumped up in our room trying to figure out one finite problem we are stuck on, helping each other proofread essays, or studying microeconomics terms. In the background we would have The Office playing, the occasional yelp of frustration when the web homework would tell us we got our problem wrong after 5 different people have tried solving it and 3 hours on the same problem or sometimes we would just give up for a bit and play Heads Up! THIS is the essence of college life. Struggling and learning how to overcome obstacles together. So you’re not alone, Spartan. Not everyone is a Persian and against you. No one wants you to fail no matter what your midterm grade might say. You’re all in this together. Look out for the people besides you and help give them a hand when they need it and they’ll do the same for you. Stay strong.

Best of luck fellow Spartan,

Steven

 

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Steven Lin

Founder - CEO at Vicero Designs LLC
IU Kelley School of Business 2020. Entrepreneur.

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