A random Reddit post changed my life

The journey of Freshman College both on and off the bike

“Turn right onto River Road.”

I turn off my GPS and music to concentrate on all of the events going on around me. People are walking on my left and on my right. There is an endless line of cars parked on the right side of the road. My bike’s exhaust has a slight echo between the buildings surrounding me. The buildings are so tall that Spider Man could swing across campus any second. In this midst of all this new information I’m taking in, I have two epiphanies. Firstly, I feel like a badass on my motorcycle rolling through a bunch of teenagers like myself. Secondly, I am now a college student!

My sick wheels.

Since I made my commitment deposit to this summer program, I asked myself, “How can I make the most of my early start?” My best answer was friends and opportunities. Freshman college is a relatively small group of roughly three hundred students, but in a very short time the campus will be filled up once again. In fact, before I even considered the Freshman College Summer Experience, I had to do a quick google search.

Reddit seems to have some people that are knowledgeable of UGA’s FreshCo.

This is the post that convinced me to pay over $2500 from my savings in college expenses.

According to Reddit users, this program has helped establish some really strong relationships between students. They were spot on about finding friends who you can rely on greatly. Personally, I’ve found two amazing friends that I can hold super close. Overall, it must be said FreshCo 2017 is both a group and an experience that will not be forgotten anytime soon. The Reddit users however, failed to mention that FreshCo was only easy for them because they had two class in prior years. Three classes will be an easy walk in the park? Wrong. One can only wish they will get an A on a History paper in Dr. Willis’s class in addition to the workload of the other two university classes.

Aside from making friends, what opportunities can I manage to take advantage of whenever there are no active clubs, organizations, or activities in the summer? Dr. Simrill emailed us the answer: Service Learning! More specifically, we are assigned to work with Habitat for Humanity. My first volunteer day taught me a valuable lesson that I’ll always remember: don’t mix concrete in shoes that you care about. The washing machine can work some miracles but removing hardened concrete is actually impossible.

I found a pair of old shoes to wear. Doesn’t matter if these are smothered in concrete.

Our group met a few kind spirited volunteers whenever we rolled up to 118 Magnolia Terrace. Doug was the head builder and a loud jokester who saw my efforts in working with concrete and teased me about working in construction. There were also two 18-year-old German volunteers who were selfless enough to move to Athens for a year, in order to help construct homes for the Athens community for nothing in return. Our professor, Dr. Simrill, was there in the action to get the extreme camera angles to document this experience. My friend, Ian Allen, was also using various camera equipment which was entertaining to watch. At the time, I thought the four hours that I spent pouring concrete and the two hours that I spent painting boards was insignificant. There are better workers than I am and I haven’t had much experience with Habitat for Humanity to begin with. Although after seeing what the house looked like 3 weeks ago, I began to see the changes that volunteer hours can bring forth. The giant hole that we pour concrete into had disappeared and the six inch ditch had become a sixteen inch ditch. However, I am not in a position to devote all of my extra time to Habitat volunteer work.

Simply said, I need money. I paid for all of my FCSE expenses and will be paying for all of my fall and spring expenses. In order to attend this awesome summer semester, I had to leave my job as a housekeeper at a nursing home. That means I had no income for a month. Even without a large bank account, I was able to move out on my own get to know Athens early. Two weeks in to FCSE, I had $6.65 in my bank account and I knew that I needed to get a job ASAP. After applying to six different jobs, I landed a position at Jittery Joe’s as a barista. Of all of the jobs that I’ve applied to, I believe that this is the superior opportunity for more money, work experience, and free coffee. My first day is at the beginning of fall semester which is approaching quickly.

As all semesters much come to an end, we are in the last week of Freshman College. This is just the start of my journey at the University of Georgia and FreshCo has helped me grow in many ways. One of the challenges that I’ve faced and have gratefully learned from is handling the situation of a friend turned into a shithead. Dealing with this unfortunate circumstance caused me to expand my tolerance and become a more passive individual. UGA is based on respect and I am doing my best to be positive and mature when faced with conflict. In spite of that negative experience, I’ve had some really memorable and positive times. While here I’ve watched Spider Man at a sketchy theater, ate brunch with friends, got introduced to weightlifting, raced with a Lexus on the perimeter (and won), had lit Friday nights, but mostly had late night study sessions/socialization.

It is certain that Fall will bring many more friends and opportunities with the rest of UGA coming back to Athens. As a member of the FCSE of 2017, I’ll be sure to use my early start to my advantage. After getting close with Athens for a month, I’ll be a helping hand to all of my future friends while retaining the special connections that I’ve developed in FreshCo.

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