The Best of Times and Worst of Times as a Freshman at UD

University of Delaware Freshman

By Lindsey Spina

By Lindsey Spina
Unigo Campus Rep at Delaware

College is a time of finding yourself. It’s a time to work hard, meet your lifelong friends, have fun, and squeeze in an hour or two of sleep. College is also the time to make your mistakes; because once you’re out there in the “real world,” you’re on your own.

I, like most college kids, have had my share of both, good and bad decisions.

My best decision so far has been to continue with one of my passions - music. I was extremely involved with music in high school, so when I came to Delaware, I figured it would be easy to keep with it. I soon realized that the competition between my small, 1,200 student high school was nothing compared to a 20,000 student body. I auditioned for a cappella groups, musicals, and didn’t make any of them.

However, I kept auditioning and was cast in a musical my sophomore year. It turned out to be the best decision I’ve made; I made amazing friends and had the best experience I could have hoped for. Sticking with music has made my time at UD so much more fulfilling.

On the flipside, the worst decision I’ve made is choosing a major too soon.

I came in to UD as an English major, thinking it was the right major for me. But as my first semester went on, I realized I wasn’t enjoying any of the classes I was taking. I figured I would enjoy my classes the next semester. Unfortunately, I liked them even less, and soon realized I was in the wrong major.

I switched to the Communications School the summer of my freshman year, and now I couldn’t be happier. I love all the classes and feel like I’m in the right major for my career path. I feel like I wasted a whole year being an English major, but at the same time, those decisions have helped mold my college career.

Junior Elisa Lala has had her share of good and bad decisions as well.

“My best decision so far has been living in Harrington my sophomore year,” Lala said. “I lived in Ray Street freshman year, which was great with the big rooms and bathroom, but it just wasn’t social.”

Although she describes Harrington as “less luxurious,” Lala said the social element was worth it.

“I made so many great friends and had amazing times,” she said. “I realized friendship means more than luxury.”

In terms of worst decisions, Lala admits she should have taken advantage of the school’s opportunities.

“I wish I was more involved in extracurriculars,” she said. “This school has so much to offer, more than I’ll ever know or experience.”

While she does write for the school newspaper, The Review, and tutors once a week, Lala said she’s still missing out.

“I do participate, but not in as many as I should,” Lala said. “I always say ‘that sounds cool’ but never take the next step, whether it’s a club or sport.”

Junior Natalie Johnson’s best decision is related to her chosen career path, education.

“I became a Peer Mentor this year, which means I teach my own class of freshmen,” Johnson said. “As an English Education major, it’s ideal.”

Johnson said being a Peer Mentor will give her great experience for later on.

 “It’s rewarding, because I have to come up with my own lesson plans,” she said. “I can tell they’re really learning from me, and that’s an amazing feeling.”

Like Lala, Johnson’s worst decision refers to extracurriculars.

“I regret not keeping up with sports,” Johnson said. “I was really involved with sports in high school, but when I came to UD, I stopped.”

Johnson went on to say she misses the comradeship that comes along with sports.

“I miss being a part of a team and having teammates who both support and depend on you,” she said. “Delaware offers so many sports, and there’s no reason why I shouldn’t have kept up with it.”

Junior Dustin Engelhardt’s best decision coincides with Lala’s.

“Requesting Harrington my sophomore year is no doubt the best decision I’ve made at UD so far,” Engelhardt said. “The times I’ve had there have been unbeatable.”

Engelhardt lived on East campus his freshman year, and decided to stay there sophomore year.

“I lived in Russell my freshman year, and loved it; my floor became best friends and the location is ideal,” he said. “Class is five minutes away, the dining hall and gym are right there, and the beach is great for outdoor sports.”

The “beach” is a sandpit for students to play sports or relax on; it has recently been replaced by a new turf field.

Greek Life is a part of most colleges; for Engelhardt, becoming a part of it turned out to be his worst decision.

“I joined a frat my freshman year, because my friend said it would be awesome, but to me it definitely wasn’t,” he said. “I didn’t like the pledging process; being told what to do and when to do it was not my thing.”

Engelhardt said the time commitment was too much to handle as well.

“I didn’t think it was worth my time. I was still adjusting to college itself, and didn’t need another thing to worry about.”

Each student has his or her own best and worst decision as they continue through a college career. One thing all three students made clear is whether it was the best or worst decision, they believe they are a better person today because of it.

“Making good and bad decisions is a part of being in college,” Engelhardt said. “All you can do is hope those decisions help impact your life in a better way.”