The Parthenon

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Smirl Meets World: A Column Series by Rileigh Smirl


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I’m Rileigh Smirl. I’m a journalism major pursuing minors in English, Spanish and political science, I listen to musicals more than any person probably should, I have a podcast, and, most importantly, I’m a freshman. Now, at this point you’re probably wondering, “What is a freshman doing in the Parthenon? Isn’t this supposed to be written by trained students who have taken classes to do this?” Well, yes, you’re most definitely right. I have only been in classes for a week, and I’m nowhere near an expertI haven’t even turned 18 yet. 

But, it seems as though I have a perspective that all of us have at one point, yet many seem to forget the value of. Being a freshman is difficult, new, weirdand for most of usthe first time in our lives we’re expected to be responsible entirely for ourselves and act like “adults.” Though most, if not all,  freshmen can’t wait until the day they can stroll back on to campus next fall as sophomores, avoiding Week of Welcome and the struggles of finding your way around campus for the first time, I think we should value this year as much as all of the others. Sure, we’re no longer the big dogs like we were in our senior years of high school, but isn’t that an advantage in some ways? We’re expected to make mistakes and forget how to get from our dorms to the library and do all the stereotypical things freshman do, so why not take advantage of that? Make mistakes, go out of your way to ask for help, and don’t worry how stupid you think you might look to everyone else on campus. Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my first 10 days at Marshall, it’s that college is nothing like high school. Everyone who’s here is here because they want to learn or perfect their craft or become a professional sports star, not because they have to be. 

So, this year I want you to join me in looking through a freshman’s eyes at life at Marshall, from the very beginning. Even if you’re a senior, a professor, or a graduate student, looking back at how college seemed in your freshman year, however long ago that may have been, is nostalgic and sappy and maybe even makes you thankful for how much older you are now. Either way, I plan on sharing my unedited and honest struggles, successes, and triumphs with any of you who choose to join me every week (or as often as they’ll let me.) Because your freshman year is an experience you only have once, so why not savor every great moment and every not so good one and publish them all in the school paper?

Rileigh Smirl can be contacted at [email protected]

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2 Responses to “Smirl Meets World: A Column Series by Rileigh Smirl”

  1. Rich on August 29th, 2018 10:56 am

    This is one to keep your eyes in. She is going places…
    Keep up the good work Rileigh!

  2. Tony Crutchfield on August 29th, 2018 3:50 pm

    It was so wonderful reading your column and I, like you, was once a Freshman at Marshall University. It was MANY years ago and I forgot about the experience until I read your piece. I majored in Broadcast/Journalism, graduated in 1982, and spent 35 years in the Army. My wife (and high school sweetheart) experienced college life together and still remember it fondly. I now work at the Boeing Company in Washington DC. I LOVED learning and being at Marshall University. Today, I am a Yeager Scholar Board Member and I look forward to meeting you and the other students one day. In fact, I am setting up a visit to Washington for your class. I am looking forward to it. Thank you for making me stop, think, and smile while thinking about one of the greatest times at Marshall University…Freshman Year!!

    Tony Crutchfield

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