Stephanie Tran, Staff Writer

If you take a moment to pause during your daily rush to class, you’ll notice more than a few tours of potential students with green George Mason University tour bags on their backs, with anxious and inquiring parents following closely behind them.

With only a semester and barely a month of college living under my belt, I find that it’s still rather easy to spot these high school hopefuls as they plod around the campus.

I wondered about the reason for this and, after mulling it over for some time, I finally found the answer in several of my high school friends and high school teachers who I popped in on during winter break.

The word “mature” and “college girl” were tossed around so frequently during these visits that I eventually concluded that I exuded what I like to call “the college glow.”

From what I gathered from the reactions of these friends and teachers, this glow includes a maturity that is gained from college. I seem to have acquired a weathered and experienced visage and the quiet dignity of one who has survived her first semester of college.

The interesting thing to note is that only a year ago, I was still one of those anxious high school seniors, pinning my happiness on every trip to the mailbox in the hopes that one of the colleges I applied to would come to their senses and accept me into their school.

Can a year really change a person that much? What happens during that time to earn a student “the glow?”
My conclusion: the trials and tribulations of college.

There’s the obvious departure from the home if you’re an out-of-state or residing student and not a commuter. There’s the tough expectations of professors who have published more books than you’ve read in your life.

There’s the mountain of homework that hovers over your head constantly. Then there’s the inevitable drama of new friends and relationships, even the task of getting yourself up and taking frigid dorm showers.

All these seemingly bad things have helped me, and you, to become the mature college student who high school students look up to.

Whether or not you still live at home, the fact remains that you’re now legally and mentally free from your parents. You are an adult, and are expected to behave as such.

Do all college students live up to the expectations?
Of course not, but still, most of the students still walking around the campus obviously try to earn their college-student “glow.”

All the angst and drama we weather makes us just that much more experienced and mature, and it shows in our faces.

It’s not as apparent as a high school diploma and graduation gown, but that college-student glow indicates that we’re able to cope with college and that soon, scarily enough, we’ll be ready to face the real world.

I don’t know about you, but for now, I might just be starting to appreciate those cold dorm showers.