If you would have seen me in high school, you would have seen the girl who was involved in everything. Pep Club, Orchestra, National Honor Society, FCA--you name it and I was probably in it. I was the "A/B" student who saw a "C" as a failing grade. I was constantly busy with games, hanging out with friends, and spending time with my family. I was in a great place spiritually and I was so excited for my move to college. Now, I am almost done with my Freshman year and I am a girl who is the complete opposite. If you could see me you would see a girl who does not enjoy sporting events as much as she used to. You would see a girl who has struggled to find friends--much less a community. You would see a girl who has tried to find her place on a campus with over 5,000 people, but can't seem to find her niche. You would see a girl who has applied for countless jobs, clubs, music groups, but has yet to receive an acceptance letter. While my life has had many struggles within this year, many of these problems were of my own doing and could have been avoided if I had the right advice. So, take it from the girl who wishes she could re-do her freshman year...
1. Get Rid Of Your Expectations
It is so easy to put college life on a pedestal, but don't. Yes, you "finally" have freedom, but with freedom comes responsibility that can be difficult to juggle. College is not like the movies. I had so many expectations that I became discouraged when I realized that college wasn't exactly like I had imagined. Realize that "college life" is still life and life is unpredictable. So, roll with the punches and take life a day at a time.
2. Your First Group Of Friends Are Not Forever Friends
My first few weeks of college were so exciting. I had a group of friends that hung out every night and life was great. Fast forward two months down the road and I barely saw any of them except a select few. Don't completely count on your group of friends to stick around (as much as you think they are your life long friends.). Be intentional about making other friendships because most friend groups are like a ticking time bomb.
3. Do Not Let The Fear Of Being Awkward Stop You
Believe it or not, everyone is awkward (especially the first few weeks of college.). Everyone is new to this thing and most people don't have many friends. So, get out of your comfort zone and initiate conversations. I turned down so many opportunities because I was simply afraid of coming across as awkward. So, don't make the same mistake as me because you will regret it.-- be awkward. be fun. be YOU.
4. Do Not Neglect Old Friendships From Home
When you first get to college it is easy to forget about the people back at home, but don't. While you probably should not try to maintain all of your high school friendships, pick one or two people and keep them close. Remember: Not all of your life long friends are from college.
5. Do Not Be Scared To Go To Events Alone
I missed so many events because I was scared to attend them alone. I know being alone might seem awkward, but sometimes going to an event by yourself will allow you to meet people you would have never met otherwise. In the words of Jason Derulo, "I'm jumping in my ride, I'm heading out tonight, I'm solo, I'm riding solo." But really, ride solo.
6. The Freshman 15 Is Real
There is so much talk about the freshman 15 but know--IT IS REAL. College is already hard on so many levels that it is so easy to become even more insecure because of this rapid weight gain. As much as you think everyone can see it, others probably don't notice. So, don't let this be a reason to shy away from social events. Love yourself because weight does not equate beauty.
7. Do Not Let Being Rejected Ruin Your Self Esteem
At some point in college you will probably be rejected for something you really wanted.I have applied/auditioned for literally everything on campus that you can imagine. I have been denied to every single one of them which made me quickly begin to question my value. Just because you don't make the cut doesn't mean you are not qualified. Many positions are super competitive, so don't give up and try again.
8. Do Not Make Permanent Decisions Based On Temporary Emotions
There were countless times I was ready to pack my bags and leave. While I can honestly say that things never did become peachy, I could have missed out on the few friendships I did make if I would have made rash decisions. So, wait it out and if it isn't better after a semester, make necessary changes.
9. Do Not Be Intimidated By Change
It is so easy to go into college thinking that you have your life together. But, don't be afraid of changing your mind once you get settled. It's okay to not know all of the answers. Change can seem scary, but change is good and can help you figure out who you are.
10. Realize YOU ARE NOT ALONE
Through out this past year I have felt so alone. I thought that I was the only person struggling to find friends and to find my place. The more I put myself out there and opened up to people the more I realized that I was not alone. These are all normal emotions that many freshman face. So, learn from your experiences and push on through.
While college can easily be the best years of your life, it can just as easily become the worst. So, take it from me, COLLEGE IS WHAT YOU MAKE IT. Take risks and make memories because you can never get these days back.