Reflecting on the Past Year

The reading period at the end of the semester reminds me of all of the time I have spent here at the University of Rochester. I recall move-in day on August 25, 2015 with great clarity. On that day, after over a year of anticipation, my college experience began. Today, nearly two semesters later, my freshman year of college ends. Looking back, I can confidently say that college has been even more enjoyable than I expected it to be. This has been one of the most incredible years of my life.

It is frightening how quickly the school year flew by. In the past year, I have learned a great deal, and accumulated many memories. I’d like to recall just a few of the things that have been memorable to me in that period.

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Altogether, it is the little things that have made my college experience. That is not to say, of course, that there have not been single events that have been particularly memorable. From participating in a seminar with Noam Chomsky to bringing and meeting political commentator Ben Shapiro to speak to a full auditorium, there have been events that I will always remember.

However, it is not just those noteworthy instances I will look back on when I recall my freshman year of college. This summer, I will look back on the frequent 3:00 am walks that I took to Hillside Market with friends (sometimes in the snow, but more recently, in nice weather) and the orders for calzones that we called in to Calio’s at 2:00 in the morning, and await doing those things again in the fall.

On another note, I’d like to turn toward academics. In just two short semesters here at Rochester, I’ve developed meaningful relationships with many professors. On several occasions, professors have emailed me with information relevant to my interests and suggestions for summer plans. Here, I have learned, the faculty regularly makes efforts to help their students grow, not only providing them with accessibility, but actively checking into their academic careers.

That nearly unfettered accessibility and dynamic relationship between students and faculty is one of the most salient features of the University of Rochester, and I am certain that it will help me as I enter the job market.

Having already planned my schedule for fall 2015, I find the opportunity to take upper-level courses. The paucity of course requirements allowed me to dive right into the topics I am passionate about. I hope to double major in political science and history, and double minor in economics and philosophy. While that may seem like a lot, having projected my future semester schedules, it is entirely possible. Such a wide breadth of study is enabled by the open schedule that the University of Rochester affords me. We are unrivaled in that respect. Our academic freedom was one of the biggest reasons I chose to attend this school. Academic freedom has proven more conducive to my intellectual growth than I predicted.

Overall, my freshman year of college has been better than I could have imagined. In the past year, I have learned so much and been exposed to so many new things. Countless factors have contributed to my intellectual growth. I hope to have imparted the importance of just a few of them to prospective students. The most important point I hope to convey is that the University of Rochester has done so much for me in many respects. I hope you will allow it to do the same for you.

About the author

Jose Fernandez

I'm Jose Fernandez, but I go by @JoseTheBae. I spend my days debating politics and economics, eating Blimpies, and stalking groundhogs at the University of Rochester. You can usually find me at Danforth, or in the lounge of Hoeing 3 praising free markets.

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