Starting your freshman year of college is a scary thought. There's a whole new world waiting for you to explore and that can be a little intimidating at times. To help ease the nerves of the rising freshman, here is a list of things I've learned from completing my first year that every college student needs to know.
1. It's okay to miss/not miss home.
Having to venture away from home isn't always the easiest thing to come to terms with. Even though I only chose a school an hour away from home, I was still worried that I was going to be extremely homesick. After getting myself adjusted to the college life, I actually didn't want to leave. Yes, there were nights when I wish I could have slept in my own bed, but I didn't let it affect me too much. I knew that since I was so close to home, my parents were only a short drive away if I ever needed anything. Part of the college experience is learning how to become independent. Spend your weekends on campus with your friends even if you think you need to go home. Maybe once a month, go on home just so you can spend time with your family. I promise you, though, you'll cherish every moment of being away from home once you come back for the summer.
2. You'll have a new outlook on cafeteria food.
In high school, I always brown paper bagged it for lunch. I couldn't bring myself to look at, let alone taste, the food our cafeteria served. Going to school, I was honestly scared that I wouldn't be able to eat anything the school had to offer and that I'd waste away into nothing. But boy was I wrong. The cafeteria food is actually really good and provides so many options all the time for all of your food moods. Sometimes, it even felt like I was eating one of my mom's home-cooked meals. Don't be afraid to try new things and find some new favorite dishes. Your taste buds and stomach will thank me later.
3. Your relationship with your roommate is what you make of it
There will always be horror stories of people who had horrific experiences with their freshman year roommate. Fortunately, not all of those stories are true. The key to a successful relationship with your roommate is taking the time to get to know them and find common interests. There has to be something both of you likes. You aren't being forced to be best friends with this person either. I, though, was fortunate enough to end up rooming with a girl who is now one of my best friends and who I can thank for some of my greatest first year memories. Remember: you do have to spend an entire year living with this person so make it worth while. Set your boundaries, share some laughs, and bond over pizza. Everyone loves pizza.
4. You are going to struggle with classes and that's okay.
Even though your high school GPA got you into your college of choice, it unfortunately does nothing else for you after that point. On the first day of your first semester, you have to start from square one. There will be times where you have absolutely no idea what's going on in one of your classes or you might do poorly on a test in a subject you thought you excelled in. But it's okay. College is hard. And it's supposed to be. These classes are designed to challenge you and push you to work harder. Spend all night in the library if you need to and don't be afraid to ask for help. And if you work hard enough, your GPA will fall right where it's supposed to.
5. Communal bathrooms are just as bad you think they are.
I never realized how utterly disgusting girls were until the day I stepped into a shower filled with huge globs of hair. Not only that, but there wasn't a day where the bathroom didn't smell like vomit. I'm sure not all schools are like this, but be prepared for anything and do your best to get in and out as quickly as possible. And flip flops. Don't forget to wear flip flops. You never know what could be on those floors.
6. The opportunities are endless.
In high school, I pretty much involved myself with every single organization and club our school had to offer. There wasn't a single hour of the day where I wasn't busy and I really liked it that way. Going to college, I was concerned. I wasn't really sure where I wanted to put my time and effort being that I had to adjust to a whole new lifestyle. By the end of my first semester, I was a member of the dance team, a member of one of the best sororities on campus, a Love Your Melon Crew Member, and participated with the theatre department. All the while, still having time to get good grades and hang out with friends. Take every opportunity college throws your way and join every organization you possibly can. After all, you do have to start building a resume.
7. Change is a good thing.
One of my biggest fears going to school was that I was going to lose sight of who I was and become a whole new person. I was going to a brand new school where I'd have to make brand new friends and start my life all over. Though I didn't make a complete 360, I have changed a lot. And as much as I feared that possibility before, I love the idea of it now. I have learned to love the person college has changed me into. I've become much stronger and independent and I'm always up for adventure. Don't be scared if one day you wake up and you decide you wanna dye your hair or try something you never thought you would. Embrace the change. College years are meant for exploring and finding yourself.
8. Naps are essential.
Shockingly, I had never really been an avid nap taker until I got to college. Realizing that staying up late every night, waking up at the crack of dawn, and running around all day would eventually take a toll on my body, I turned to napping to help me stay relaxed. I still have yet to figure out why they work so well, but somehow they do. Whether it's 30 minutes or three hours, naps are an essential part to every student's day.
9. You're going to meet some of the greatest people.
It's almost funny to me how I've only known these people for a year, yet it feels like I've known them my whole life. I have found the greatest group of friends a girl could ever ask for. They have been by my side through thick and thin and the memories we've made are ones I'll cherish forever. I spend every waking moment with these people and yet I never get sick of them. College is a time to meet new people. And you've got an entire campus filled with them. Don't be afraid to go up to someone and introduce yourself to someone new; it could potentially lead you to one of the greatest people you've ever met.
10. You're in for the ride of your life.
These years will be the best years of your life. Live in the moment, go to every football game, stay up late and watch Netflix, go to that party even if its on a Thursday, make friends with the Chinese delivery guy, buy four coffees a day even if you don't need them, walk around campus at 3 a.m., take every opportunity that comes your way. Most importantly, buckle up. You're in for the ride of your life.