Meet Melisa - Class of 2017

Hi, I’m Melisa and I am a freshman from Fort Lauderdale studying Political Science and Communications. I’m here to tell you my story of how I picked USF, how I prepared to start this new chapter in my life, and my experience thus far.

When I saw the giant envelope in my mailbox, my initial thought was, “Great… More annoying pamphlets from every college ever.” After I took it out of the mailbox, my frustration with this plain envelope immediately vanished when I revealed the green text that said “USF” at the top.

USF was my top choice within Florida schools. It did confuse some people how I wasn’t applying to other Florida institutes as well. Not many people understood why, but I had a very valid reason in doing so. When I stepped foot on the USF campus for the first time, the first thing I noticed wasn’t the size, the buildings, or even the beautiful greenery... it was the energy.

The feeling of the campus is like none other. The campus energy is lively, energetic, ambitious, and vibrant. I’ve never seen anything like it; I’ve never felt anything like it. Every USF student and faculty member I spoke to wanted to be here. It felt as though each and every person chose to be here. The students around campus, the people running the tents in front of Marshall Student Center, and my tour guide were enthusiastic and informative. The emotion and character of the campus had drawn me in.

I had made up my mind. This was it. USF was the choice for me.

So… I picked the school, what now? Luckily, USF never failed to send me the information in a timely fashion to help me reserve my spot and apply for housing. Applying for housing was the next big step after accepting admission. In the giant USF acceptance packet, there was a small, white pamphlet with “CAMPUS LIFE” written on it in colorful print. When I opened it, I was so excited to see the many different housing options. I was going to live, learn, experience, and grow there for the next four years. It was time to prepare for this new chapter in my life.

Now, I’m not going to sugarcoat this. Getting ready and packing for college is probably one of the most stressful parts of the transition; there’s so much paper work, so many payments, and so many responsibilities. I guess that’s part of becoming a grown-up. The university does stress the importance of checking Oasis (our online student information system). Also, for packing, USF Housing & Residential Education mailed us a list of what to bring and what not to bring. Without that assistance, I could have cried from frustration in my room. We all go through it; we want to bring everything. But that’s not possible now, is it?

I think the time I finally realized what was actually happening was after I packed all my stuff in blue IKEA boxes and saw how empty my room was. I was moving out to live in a different place for a whole year, coming back for a few months, and then doing it all over again. My life was going to be completely different, and it was. Everything changed. Not only was I put in a different city, but I also had to leave my family, pets, and friends behind to go to a new place with different people, and a completely different routine. The biggest change is that I’m now on my own and my decisions are solely mine to make. Of course, I can always ask family members and friends for advice, but at the end of the day, it’s no longer their life and I’m no longer living for them. I’m living for me. The decisions I make ultimately affect me. It’s stressful, but also liberating and beautiful. I feel capable of anything.

My first week of college was definitely hectic, but most other students felt the same way. Luckily, everyone is very welcoming. It was a lot of fun to make tons of new friends and socialize till the wee hours of the morning. I’m surprised how fast I managed to transition! It’s incredible.

I just finished my second week and I never had to look at my schedule, not even once. I got used to it pretty fast and now I’m a lot more comfortable and pleased with my routine. The first week of college, I noticed the difference between high school and college classes. First of all, my professors, almost all of them, are experts in their fields. It’s inspiring to listen to their incredible stories of all the amazing things they’ve done with their lives. All I could think of is how I can’t wait to have that level of experience and knowledge someday. Watching my philosophy and government professors’ lecture is so amazing; the enthusiasm, the passion, the excitement in their eyes, and the drive they have for us to grasp the concepts they discuss is inspiring. It makes me feel like they want me to be there and listen to what they have to say. In return, that makes me more determined to stay focused and take notes. It’s as if my professors are expressing themselves with another form of art, the art of communication. I can’t wait until prospective students have experienced that special energy in a USF classroom.

As I sit in my new bedroom in my residence hall and reflect back on the long, exciting, stressful, and fun journey of gaining acceptance to and preparing for college, I realize how far I’ve come. I’ve already learned so much about life and my studies in just two weeks.

I can only imagine how prepared I will be for the real world after my four years are up. Go Bulls!