A typical day in the life of a freshman at MU

Thursday, July 30, 2009 | 12:00 p.m. CDT; updated 12:39 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 30, 2009

Although high school and college both have schedules, classrooms and textbooks, they are also quite different. To give you some idea of what to expect on a typical day at MU, three upperclassmen have relived a typical day in their freshman lives.

Ivan Ruiz

Ivan Ruiz, 19, grimaced when he remembered what time he had to wake up as a freshman.

“My alarm would ring at 7 a.m.,” he said, sighing. “I had to get up.”

Despite the early mornings, Ruiz said his year as a freshman was one of the best in his life.

His day started with an 8 a.m. class in a general education subject, such as math or English. After 50 minutes, he would be back in his dorm room.

“I lived in Cramer,” he said, “so it was easy to walk back there during a break between classes.”

Cramer is a residence hall on the south side of campus. Built in 1947, it has delicate window frames and a grand entrance. Trees tower in front of it. 

“I’d hang around there,” Ruiz said. “My next class was at 11, and I could just walk back.”

Plaza 900, a dining center on campus, was his next stop.

“I would always go there for lunch,” Ruiz said. “I liked it.”

After a few afternoon classes, he would make his way back to Plaza 900 for dinner.

“We always went around 6:30,” he said. “After that we would hang out in the dorm rooms and chill in the courtyard outside the buildings,” he laughed. “Or we played Wii.”  

What about homework and assignments?

Ruiz said he did them at some point “between dinner and sleep.” But that left him plenty of time, he added with a grin. He didn’t go to bed until “sometime past midnight.”

Sazen Rahmanli

When asked what she would normally be doing at 7 a.m. during her freshman year, Sazen Rahmanli, 20, replied with confidence.

“At 7, I’d be in the shower and by 7:17, I’d be on the bus.”

Dressed in a white dining hall uniform, curly brown hair poking out from underneath her cap, Rahmanli described how her day would play out when she was a freshman.

“I am an early-morning person,” Rahmanli said, shrugging her shoulders. “So my classes started at 8 every day.”

At 8 a.m., her schedule became hectic.

“My timetable was packed – I had classes until noon or 1 p.m.,” she said. “The general education classes were fun, though. They are easier than what I have to do now.”

Afterward, Rahmanli could have lunch. “Depending on how much time I had, sometimes I would walk downtown and grab something to eat,” she said. “But if I had a lot of homework, I might go home or to the library to get it done.”

Often, she would also have to work a shift at Plaza 900. “It’s a good job,” she said. “You get free food, good money and it is easy."

“But,” she added, “I would not get home from work till about 9:40 p.m.”

Rahmanli also had to fit other commitments into her day. She is a member of AIESEC, the world’s largest student-run organization, which arranges international events and exchanges in more than 100 countries.

“If we were organizing events, we could have up to three meetings a week,” Rahmanli said. “They would all go for two hours, so how long I spent [on campus] really depended on when they started.”   

Some meetings would last until 10 p.m., but rather than falling into bed when she got home, Rahmanli said she would get out her books and do some work.

“If I didn’t finish it then,” she continued, “I would wake up earlier, around 6 a.m., to do it.”

Emily Burchwell

Sitting in the sun, a notebook full of blue writing on the bench beside her, Emily Burchwell, 21, tried to recall her year as a freshman. She pulled her hair away from her face, as if to concentrate, and said, “I’ll try and think back.” 

Seconds later, she recollected the classes, meetings and dance practices that made up her typical day as a freshman at MU. 

“Usually I would get up around 10 a.m.,” she said with a grin. “My first class wasn’t till 11.”

After a quick intermission for lunch, Burchwell would be back in class by 1 p.m. “I had class most of the afternoon,” she said, “until maybe 3  or 4 p.m.”

It was after these classes that Burchwell’s schedule became almost frantic. Eating dinner, attending practice and helping her sorority had to be slotted in beside one another.

“In sororities, freshmen have a lot to do,” Burchwell said, “because everything is based on your level of seniority.”

During homecoming, which she described as an amazing event at MU, pomping is one of their responsibilities. Raising her hands, she twirls her fingers to demonstrate how tissue paper was twisted around a pencil and then stuck onto wire to create a float. Each float requires millions of these minute curls.

“Girls might be rostered on maybe eight hours of pomping a week,” Burchwell said. “But because I also had dance practice almost every night, I was only rostered on about four.”  

Burchwell’s dance group was also part of her sorority. For an annual competition, the team spent a month and a half creating a dance.  

How did she fit it all in?

“I stayed up pretty late,” Burchwell said. She laughed. “But now things have changed. I go to bed at 11:30."


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