Entering college is very exciting for everyone, especially in coming Freshman. This excitement is expressed in the article College (1925), written by Anzia Yezierska. Yezierska talks about her expectation about college and her effort which she did not give up regardless of her ruined expectation about college. Like Yezierska, my story is the similar. Being raised in another country, where English is my second language, the journey to attend a college in American could be described as a dream came true. I hoped to see the view of my college in the U.S. I was so excited when getting into college with full expectation, but I was disappointed later on my experiences. However, I told myself not to give up.
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I was so excited about looking at the view of my college in the U.S when I left Vietnam for the U.S in 2007. So, I forgot to eat. According to Yezierska, the author of “College” (1925), she stayed up night after night to preparing her stuff for the next morning when she got ready to leave her homeland, New York. She forgot to eat in the train because she thought so much of the college town. After she realized that she did not eat yet, she ate the bread in the starving hungry without cutting the bread. “It was the only when I got to the train that I realized I had hardly eaten all day. Starving hungry, I tore the paper open. Ach! Crazy-head! In my haste I had forgotten even to cut up the bread “(Yezierska, 1925, p.36). Similarly to Yezierska, I was very excited about college on the long distance flight from Vietnam to America. I was imagining how my college looked, so I forgot to eat too. When hurrying, I ate food that the fight assistant gave me in the unusual way. I ate the American food, but I did not know how to use the fork and the knife to cut and to pick up steak. So, I used my fingers to pick it up. Finally, I had arrived in my school, Framingham State College located at Framingham, Massachusetts. I could not believe that I was standing on my college campus. It was a beautiful view.
However, I was soon disenchanted. The reason why I was soon disenchanted was that my expectation about college was not the same as I had expected before. So, I felt lonely because such thoughts that the college would be so crowded, and I could make friendly friends quickly did not come true. According to Yezierska, the author of “College”, “Before this, New York was all of the America to me. But now I came to a town of quiet streets, shaded with the green trees. No crowds, no tenements” (1925, p.36). Like Yezierska, I had the same as her feeling that made me lonely. The campus was quieter than that I had thought. There was a small town, and not too many people and buildings. In addition, I had hoped to make a lot of friends there very quickly, but to my great disappointment, I was not able to talk to many people with the English skills I had before. Then, I took an ESL course so that I could improve my English skills. Most of my friends that went to that school with me were older. They were so busy at work that they never had a chance after class to talk; that was the reason why I could not talk to them unless I had an important question. But, I felt lonely and out of place like Yezierska when she got to school and thought “once I got into the classes with them, they’d see me and we’d get to know each other” (Yezierska, 1925, p.37). For example, when she asked the guy sitting next to her what the name of the professor was, he replied, “Smith”. He did not even look at her, kept on writing, and went about his business. And later at a studio dance, nobody came and invited her to dance, and she felt bitterly. “The whirling of joy went on and on, and still I sat there watching, cold, lifeless, like a lost ghost. I was nothing and nobody. It was worse than being ignored. Worse than being an outcast. I simply did not belong. I had no existence in their young eyes. I wanted to run and hide myself, but fear and pride nailed me against the wall” (Yezierska, 1925, p.40). Similarly to Yezierska, nobody at the graduation ceremony which is celebrated at the end of each semester came and talked to me. So, I felt lonely at that time too.
Despite my loneliness, I realized that my education was most important regardless of anything else that happened to me. Hence, I told myself not to give up. I tried to concentrate on my study day by day. I did not go anywhere to relax or hangout with any friend. Also, I did not care for what I had expected before such as making intimate friends and studying in a beautiful campus. So, I spent the whole day at school and stayed up late at home to study. I determined to focus on my education more importantly than to do other stuff. As a result, I passed the exam with a high grade that allowed me to apply to many colleges in the U.S. In “College”, Yezierska said that her sorrow at the beginning appeared to grow a little bit and went away while she looked at the sky in darkness. She believed that she had to keep going to make her life at the college worthwhile and determined to never give up. “My bitter hurt seemed to grow small and drop away. If I must go alone, I should still have silence and the high stars to walk with me” (Yezierska, 1925, p.41).
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In conclusion, my first impression was that college in the U.S was different from that I had thought. I had a lot of expectation before I came here, but it did not come true. Despite those disappointed expectation, I did not give up my education. Although I faced a lot of loneliness in my first year at college, I tried my best to overcome it. College is less lonely now, but it is still challenging me. However, I will never give up because my hard work today will pay off in the future.
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