In September 1890, Cather moved to Lincoln to continue her education at the University of Nebraska, initially planning to study science and medicine. She had had a childhood dream of becoming a physician and had become something of an apprentice to the local Red Cloud doctor, but within months her essays were published in local papers and her direction was set. The young writer became managing editor of the school newspaper, The Hesperian, the author of short stories, and a theater critic and columnist for the Nebraska State Journal as well as for the Lincoln Courier. Her experience in journalism and criticism would take her places she never dreamed of(Knoll; Woodress; Willa Cather Archive; UN News Service).
Cather's classmates remembered her as one of the most colorful personalities on campus: intelligent, outspoken, talented, even mannish in her opinions and dress. Cather was also a controversial figure in college, as she had been in high school, and her classmates either were fond of her or detested her. There seems to have been little middle ground. She often lacked the kindness, sociability, and wit that earned girls popularity. She often went against many people's ideas of how a woman of her age should act("Cather's Campus Years ...").