Student Voice


July 22, 2024


Freshman perspective: Charlie Swanson

December 6, 2017

Growing up in Lino Lakes, Minn., I was fortunate to be a part of a wonderful school district. I had access to all the resources and help that I could have wanted. Education was prioritized over everything else in my family, which lead to a lot of pressure on me to succeed in the classroom. However, video games, sports, friends and sleep all took precedence for me.

Going to college was always my goal, but I didn’t take my education as seriously as a college bound student should. Coming into the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, I knew I would have to finally learn how to become a student in order to be successful.

Originally, I expected a large learning curve and a much more difficult class load compared to high school. I was under the impression that free time would be nonexistent, and that I would spend all my days trapped at a desk poring over my schoolwork. I didn’t believe that my professors would care about me or my grades. Shortly after becoming acclimated to the campus, I realized that all of my expectations were incorrect.

UWRF made my transition from high school to college seamless by surrounding me with like-minded students. I felt like I belonged here right away, and I quickly found myself making friends. My professors helped reignite my passion for learning that had been long absent. Their willingness to help students succeed and their attention to detail in their teachings became apparent to me from the beginning.

My new-found passion in academics has allowed me to handle my class load with ease. UWRF provides students with many quiet, intimate places designated for studying. Concerns about having free time promptly dissipated, as I often found myself sitting in my dorm room with nothing school related to be done.

During this free time, I have been able to utilize the wonderful workout facility that is the Falcon Center. In addition to giving students access to a state-of-the-art work out facility, UWRF offers plenty of clubs, intramurals and activities to students. With all of these opportunities available to me in my first semester, I truly felt like I was a part of the Falcon Nation here at River Falls.

With my first college semester coming to a close, I find myself reflecting on my experiences and growth as a freshman at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. My fear of not being able to adapt to the new standards that come with being a college student was clearly misplaced. I was able to flourish because of the wonderful people, fellow students and professors alike, all of whom helped me learn how to be a student.

Being a college student turned out to be just like anything else - it’s easy if you dedicate yourself and work hard. However, with the impending doom of finals approaching, I believe you should check back with me in a few weeks, assuming I can make it.

Charlie Swanson is a student at UW-River Falls.