What I Learned My First Year of College

Starting something new is always a bit difficult. The first year of college can feel even more so. Friends surprising me to say goodbye. Driving four days across the country. Roommate adventures. Adjusting to living on my own. 8am classes. Sharing a bathroom. Eating cafeteria food every day for every meal. Flights back and forth from home. Snow.

These are just some of the things that I encountered the past nine months. Everything about college was a huge change for me, but it was also a big adventure. A crazy one at that. The past nine months I have grown and challenged myself in ways I never thought possible. As my freshman year of college ends, here are a few things I’ve learned.

Find at least one good friend.

By going out of state for school I started my college career knowing absolutely no one. Which was really scary, but I found that when you find at least one other person to hang out with college can be a little less daunting. For me that person was my roommate. Without her I really don’t think I could have survived the whole year away from home. We would go out and do things together like eating dinner, going to the museum, and just studying outside. She was also there to help me stay on top of my homework and remembering to eat. Although, she was also the person who liked to force me to go to the gym and work out. (Yes I complained every time but I am in the best shape I have been in since I quit soccer.)

 

Pay attention to what you eat.

This can be really hard when your parent is not there to say you can’t have dessert or have to eat vegetables. It can also become frustrating when there is a limited variety of what you can actual choose from every day. I know for me the cafeteria liked to alternate between pasta, pizza, quesadillas, burgers, and to spice it up ‘gourmet mac n cheese,’ on an every other day basis with a couple other specialty dishes every day. So to at least try and make myself eat healthier I would (try to) add vegetables or a salad to any dish I was eating and would only let myself drink water most days to try and balance out the effects of excessive amounts of carbs and fried food.

 

Go to class.

I know I know. It is REALLY easy to tell yourself you can skip just this once… or fourth time. But when you don’t go to class it is a lot easier to miss something important that might be on the test and affect your grade. As 8 a.m.’s are the bane of my existence, I always found myself trying to justify just sleeping in… and then I remembered that I am going to be in debt because of these classes and pulled myself out of bed because if I’m paying I might as well go.

 

Make relationships with your professors.

While this may be a lot harder for people who go to a big school where the class sizes are never 1:14 ratios, I think it really is important to try and make relationships with your professors. Especially ones in your major. You never know when you will need to ask for an extension on that assignment you just forgot about, or need a recommendation for a job or scholarship. Professors you have relationships with will more than likely be more willing to allow that extension or write a great recommendation when they see you trying hard in their class.

 

Do things out of your comfort zone.

College is the time to take chances and do things you never would have thought of doing before. Maybe it is talking to someone in your classes, or taking a class or joining a club that interests you but you aren’t sure if you will really like it. I ended up joining the archery club my first semester on a whim, just because I remember really enjoy it during the unit in middle school, and I had a lot of fun with it and was actually pretty good.

 

Call your parents.

Leaving home might be a bit intimidating for you, but it is also a new step for your parents. You don’t realize how much you miss them until you have been gone a few weeks and don’t see them anymore. Not only can it help ease any homesickness you may have but they will really appreciate hearing from you also.

 

Don’t leave studying to the last minute.

Just don’t do it. That next episode button on Netflix or that party may be very tempting and way more enjoyable, but it is not worth the stress and panic later when you realize you have a test at 8am the next day and haven’t even opened your textbook. Studying a little bit everyday will help you avoid the panic, and may be the difference between passing and having to retake a class later on. College is expensive. Don’t be stuck paying extra to retake a class that you could have done well in if only you had actually took the time to do the work.

 

Lastly, Enjoy it.

College goes by so fast. You blink and it’s over. I can’t believe I am finished with my first year of college, let alone not in high school anymore. You only have so much time before you are trying to find a house and a job, etc. So try not to waste it.

 

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