A Freshman Perspective: A fresh start with a huge step

A Freshman Perspective: A fresh start with a huge step


Krisztina Balla

Meet ... Krisztina Balla

Major: Nursing
Hometown: Quakertown
Graduate: Quakertown Community Senior High School

What else? I’m nervous about whether I will be able to manage my time with all of the activities I want to do (Judo, Equestrian, Honors, Scholarship Community Service … and that doesn’t even account for studying!)

Hi everyone! My name is Krisztina Balla, and I am starting out as a nursing major at BloomU. I come from the small-ish town of Quakertown. It is … interesting … to say the least.

Put it this way: Anything that has ever happened in this town was always (and will always be) met with a shrug and the ever-popular phrase, “well it is Quakertown.”

We used to hold the record for most fast food restaurants in the shortest distance … sad, right? The biggest landmark here is probably the Q-Mart, home to some small businesses, an alligator, and a giant turtle.

So, why BU?

I walked on to campus and immediately fell in love with this place! Despite the fact that it has rained every single time I have visited, BU is absolutely beautiful. I really enjoyed meeting the students on the multiple tours I attended. They were so insightful and really honest.

I joined the nursing program because I always knew I wanted to help people. My mother is a nurse, and even when I was little, I loved going to work with her and meeting all of the interesting people in the hospital. The patients were always so grateful for random visits from people who are willing to keep them company.

I have so many mixed feelings about the honors program. On one hand, I am really excited to see what kinds of opportunities will present themselves through this program, but on the other hand, I am a bit nervous that I will not live up to the standards of the Honors program.

Krisztina Balla I’m also nervous about whether I will be able to manage my time with all of the activities I want to do (Judo, Equestrian, Honors, Scholarship Community Service … and that doesn’t even account for studying!). I have always enjoyed smaller classes, and I cannot wait to see how a college honors class operates!

As a whole, I’m really looking forward to meeting new people! Everyone says that college is a fresh start, and I sincerely hope they’re right. I’m a bit nervous about all of the new responsibilities. I mean, I’ve always been an independent girl, but this is a huuuge step!

I’ve been preparing for move-in day bit by bit since the beginning of summer. It has been a slow-going and sort of stressful process; I’m not sure how much to bring, what exactly I’m going to need, etc. Hopefully, future move-in preparations will be easier than this. I suppose I got lucky in one respect, as my roommate is one of my best friends. This made it easier to coordinate who was bringing what, but being best friends with someone is different than living with them! I’ll be sure to keep you all updated in case you are considering rooming with a friend.

For the first two days, I have the room to myself, as my roommate will not be moving in until the 23rd. I’m hoping to get better situated with the campus over those couple of days. And I’ve been told that writing down your goals helps get them accomplished, so here goes! Within the first few weeks or so, I am going to join at least one club or activity … so that I can save myself from becoming a Freshman hermit!

A fast-paced approach to a fast-paced semester

Hey guys! So the first month of school just flew by, and suddenly it’s October … holy crow … people really weren’t kidding when they said that the semester just flies by and before you know it, you have exams left and right.

Within the first couple days of being here, I was able to get in contact with my fellow blogger, Karli! She’s completely amazing, just saying! We take the most random trips into town … and buy stick horses … and pose for pictures in stores …etc. etc. etc.

Last time, I told you all that I was going to be rooming with one of my best friends, and I have to say that it is going marvelously! In the beginning, I will admit, it was a bit … strained … it’s a really different experience to go from seeing your friend every day for a few hours at best to living with them and seeing them all the time. We get on each other’s nerves from time to time, but it’s nothing a little girl time can’t fix.

Now that we’ve finally settled in, I feel as though we lucked out not only in the roommate department but also in the floor as a whole. Most of the people on our floor are very friendly, and just as a fair warning: if you leave your door open, people will come in to talk … they might even skip the whole knocking part.

Krisztina Balla Dorm life is a lot different than I was expecting. I mean, I don’t really remember what I was expecting, but it certainly wasn’t what I got! There’s so much to say about it, and not much space to do it in … so I’ll try to make it quick.

First off, just as a warning … the showers are a bit awkward at first, but don’t worry! You’re not the only person feeling that way. If the showers don’t end your eternal shyness, having friendly neighbors most definitely will!

Ceara and I leave our (room) door open virtually all the time, and people stop in frequently! But at the moment, our room smells like apple pie and has amazing Christmas lights hanging in it … so that could be it too. Just be friendly, be yourself, and try to have fun.

Helpful hint, while I’m on the topic of Christmas lights! I spent about a week staring at bland walls, because in my hasty packing, I didn’t think to pack any decorations. So, don’t pull a Krisztina … make sure you bring or buy decorations! Honestly … best decision ever.

Laundry is an interesting experience too. Try to find a time when people are in classes and you aren’t, or sometime over the weekend when most people are hanging out elsewhere. Otherwise, you end up waiting for washers and dryers to open up … not fun.

Then there’s the food … that’s an adventure in and of itself. Seriously. There are so many options for where to eat and what to eat, but you quickly find what out what you like (and what agrees with you).

Classes here are not really like high school … well, not like my high school anyway. We had this lovely (and I say that with the most affectionate sarcasm possible) system of standards-based grading, which included something called remediation. With remediation, you can redo assignments, so you don’t really have to do amazingly the first time. This includes tests, projects, and the like. Oh! And in our school, homework rarely counted. But I digress.

My point is that college classes are definitely different from my experience with high school classes. Also, I’m used to being able to form connections with my teachers through interactions in small classes. This is quite difficult to do in a lecture class setting, and I have two of those. Other than that, it’s really nice to have set times to talk to teachers. I’ve found the office hours to be a great resource!

Honestly, I don’t think I have a favorite class … but … Dr. (Cynthia) Surmacz is amazing! A&P is honestly a billion times more fun with her as your professor! I was really scared to take this class, as I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. But, especially from the front row, her energy is kind of infectious (and this is honestly not meant to kiss up or brown nose or anything … I truly enjoy this class!). Krisztina Balla

And that is not to mention my lab instructor, Dr. (Zareen) Amin, who is also fantastic! Oh! My chemistry professor, Dr. (Michael) Pugh is pretty funny as well! My Honors Public Speaking professor is also an awesome teacher. I mean, I’m not one for public speaking unless it’s teaching my students back home … but that class is just a lot of fun!

And shout out to Dr. Joan Miller, my University Seminar professor and academic advisor! If anybody gets her as an advisor when they come here, she’s an amazing person! I honestly do not think I could have gotten a better group of teachers for my first semester here.

Other than that … a lot of other stuff has happened this past month. My roommate and I joined Judo, which is a ton of fun! It certainly takes some getting used to, but we’ve been doing pretty well this far! If you want to get involved, all you need to do is join a club or two … at least, that’s what we did.

In the first couple of weeks, I joined Judo, Student Nurses Association (SNA), and Anime Club (BUMAC). Then I also have to do a gazillion hours of community service, which should also help get involved in the community! Five hours for Honors, fifteen for my scholarship, and two service projects in SNA … It seems like a lot at first, but it’s a lot of fun to do these activities and make a positive impact in people’s lives.

At the risk of a continued ramble, I think I’m just about done! In all honesty, BU is an awesome place filled with awesome people, and I absolutely love it here!

So it’s November…December already!

Time to crack open the books and (for some people) pull all-nighters like it’s their job! So much has happened since I last sat down and wrote one of these, so let’s see…

My high school did not have midterms or finals for the most part, so I was ready to face midterms as just another test. I was going to chunk out my studying and review parts that I was having trouble with … until I realized that I did not have a single midterm … in any of my classes. Granted, I did have some exams during midterm time, but they were unit exams, so I suppose I may have lucked out at that point.

Studying in general is kind of an art. You have to find what works for you. For instance, my roommate rereads her notes ad nauseum, and it seems to work for her. However, in my case, I have to teach the material to someone.

Guess who gets to learn all about the muscles of the body? My poor roommate, an anthropology major, has the distinct honor of being my “student” as I study like a mad woman.

Back to studying, one of my other friends has to rewrite her notes several times as her way of studying. In terms of studying, it may take a bit if you have not found what works for you yet, and the fact that Mother Dearest is no longer breathing down your neck to study takes some getting used to. Needless to say, if you study for an exam, and you get a shoddy score, it’s probably time to find a different study method.

I’m sure I am not the only one who has noticed the steady, if reluctant, drop in temperature lately. For a few weeks, it seemed that Mother Nature could not make up her mind on whether we were going to stay in summer or move to winter, but the decision has been made and finalized with the snow we received the other day!

My jogs have had to be earlier in the day so that I don’t freeze or get lost in the dark … bummer.

Unfortunately, I am not really the one to go to in terms of what to do across campus. Between my gym time, classes, studying, homework, and community service for the various organizations I am involved in, I hardly ever have time for anything else! On the other hand, opportunities are constantly being offered so one can get involved on campus.

And let’s not forget the swimming pool in the (Nelson) Field House on upper campus! My roommate and I go there on Mondays and Thursdays for some free swim time. With all of the stress you will encounter when you go to school, it’s important to have some sort of outlet, whether it is in the form of swimming, going to the gym, doing something creative, etc.

Krisztina Balla Three months into living on my own, I can say that my homesickness is not nearly as bad as it was in the beginning of the semester. I keep myself busy enough that I nearly forget that Luzerne isn’t my actual home. It’s a lot different when you start living on your own, but I think it would be even more different if we were living off campus or on upper campus.

I don’t have a job (and I highly doubt I would be able to handle one with my major), so I had to get used to not having my own income. My parents set up an “allowance” sort of thing for me so that I don’t have to be a completely broke college student. Not to mention, I had to get used to having a roommate. We have known each other for years, and I am very thankful to have been able to room with her. I think we keep each other sane, especially since we each know how the other operates.

So funny story, while I am talking about living on my own. I went home for Thanksgiving break, and I had the hardest time readjusting to it. There are so many rules about being home by this time and making sure your parents know where you are headed for the time being.

I went to visit the horses at my old job without telling my mother where I was going. It was 8 a.m., and no one in the house was awake. By the time I got to my destination, I had 15 frantic texts and two missed calls from home regarding my disappearance … the look on my mom’s face when I got home was priceless. I felt bad for worrying her, but I had become accustomed to going where I wanted when I wanted and merely forgot to mention where I was going.

We are reaching the homestretch of the first semester! I honestly cannot believe it is almost over already! I am studying every day for finals, and I even had one before Thanksgiving break. My main goal remains the same; I want to get A’s in every class. So far, so good … I hope I didn’t just jinx myself.

Anywho! Now that first semester is almost done, I am 1,000% positive that I chose the right place to go for college. I love the commitment that the professors show to their students. I mean, I had all sorts of professors this semester: One didn’t give any exams at all. Another one had demonstrations with almost all of her lectures, so it never got boring. I love the professors I have had so far, and I cannot wait to meet my professors next semester!

On a side note, I must say the campus is absolutely beautiful when it is covered in snow! It made me feel a bit homesick, as I started to reminisce about previous winters at home. Even still, I couldn’t help but laugh at the snowman with glasses that greeted me on my way back from A&P that day!

I guess it’s time to wrap this up … still have some studying to do for finals. Here goes! Now that I am almost done with my first semester, I can honestly say that I am proud to be a Husky and there is nowhere else I would rather be.

    — Krisztina Balla, freshman nursing major