10 Things I Learned My First Year Of College
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Student Life

10 Things I Learned My First Year Of College

Learning from textbooks can only go so far, but learning from experience can take you places you would never imagine.

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10 Things I Learned My First Year Of College

No matter how many lists, blogs, or videos on YouTube you watch, you still won’t be prepared for the real-life experience on college. Only so much content on what the first year of college will be like will be covered, but quite frankly, it’s up to you to have the greatest college year of your life. Each individual person’s experience is different! My advice is to make the most of everyday and embrace the moments you have, it’s over before you know it. With that, here are a few pointers that I have learned from my first year of school. . .


1. Introduce yourself

In my previous years of schooling I always knew who was going to be in my class and who was going to sit by whom. Talk about a shock coming from a small private school, so a class with 75 students in it! For my first day of class in college, I sat right in the very front (just as I was taught), and met a guy who I would soon later find out to be the main reason I passed that class. Him and I would study together a few days before any quizzes or tests (this saved me AND my grade)! Moral of the story is, introduce yourself to anyone remotely close to you, they may become one of your greatest friends, and also may be each-other’s saving grace when it comes to grades in that class! You two will be walking out of class on the last day after the final high-fiving each other. It’s going to be great.

2. Partying is NOT the ONLY thing to do on campus

Yes, as cliche as it sounds, it’s very true! Even though it may feel like the majority of the people you meet this first week-month of school are all partying, it will phase out. For the exception of the few, most get sick of partying. Like me, I did party, but not four days out of the week! As tempting it may be, there are much more fulfilling and life-giving opportunities to hang out with friends and do activities that you love. For example, I go to school at a place that has many trees, lakes, hiking trails, and cute stores that are prime for adventuring and going on walks. Even a nice Netflix binge-watch with your friends is really fun too! I enjoy going on hikes, hanging out in my hammock, and going to discover new places in my little college town! If these are done with a best friend, new friend, or friend group, they end up being the times you will talk about in the far future that you will remember, rather than the nights that you might forget. There are a lot more people who don’t party than you think, so don’t worry about missing out on nights you won’t remember!

3. Get Involved

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s what they all say. I’m just going to sit in my room and play video games” Was I close to reading your mind? If not, whether this be in the Greek system, in your church group, groups that focus on what you’re interested in (fencing, Frisbee, boxing, being outdoors, etc. . .). Yes, if you are a fan of riding animals, they also have a Rodeo Club! Trust me, I couldn’t believe it either! The point is, the more you are involved, the more people you meet, and the better your communication skills can build. Know your limit on your schedule, because obviously you are at school to learn, not to be in as many clubs and groups as you can. Which falls into my next thing I’ve learned.

4. Own a planner

I repeat, HAVE A PLANNER. There’s nothing worse than getting back to the dorm, feeling all relaxed, not having anything to do, then a half an hour later you realized you missed an important meeting with an adviser, group, or teacher. In the beginning of the school year I had a planner that had about 10 lines per day. I was able to write down what classes I had, and what homework I had as well. I found out about a fourth of the way through my winter quarter that I was forgetting more and more things. I purchased a planner that had day by day, with times that were in 15 minute intervals, and it saved my life (the At-A-Glance planners are amazing for this). Take time, sit down, plan out the week to the best of your knowledge, and always write down what you can instantly to stay on top of assignments, tests, quizzes, labs, meetings, or anything else that you need to plan. You will feel so much more organized, and the stress relief is great!

5. Be yourself

Of course I had to enter this in here! What's so fun about being or acting like someone else? IT'S NOT! Even though there is a lot of stress of knowing who you are as a freshmen in college, some people are blessed with that and some people are not. Honestly, I still didn't know myself 100% the first day I moved in. Having the knowledge that I didn't know myself was enough for me. Through me going through many experiences, I grew closer and closer to who I am. My faith has played a huge role in that discovery of myself. Through discovering who I am today, I have found the greatest friends that I relate with, and who accepts me for who I am. This also ties in with being honest to those who are around you. Finding yourself may be a roller-coaster, but when all the loops, highs, and lows are done, you can be confident in knowing that you haven't lost or missed out on anything because you've stayed true to who you are/. Conforming to other's ideals and morals can just add more confusion to your life. It's a major plus when your friends are just as weird as you are.

6. Have the family on speed dial

When I was a Senior in high-school, I couldn't wait for the next phase in my life (college), and all that went with it. I was looking forward to the late nights, no curfew, having my own schedule that didn't conform to my mom's daily routine, and of course meeting all the new people. As soon as my parents left me after helping me unpack, it felt weird knowing that I wasn't going to be waking up to my parents doing housework, or sitting at the table with them for meals. I missed my family! Whenever a problem arose, or I became stressed out, or just wanted to tell someone about my day, I would instantly call my mom. Even though I knew she wouldn't always have the answer, it was always just what I needed, and truly has gotten me through the ups and downs of college life. I am not ashamed to say that I have talked to my mom every day since the day they helped me move in to my dorm, and i'm oh-so-grateful to have a supportive and loving family...

7. Don’t procrastinate

I had more homework (studying) than I thought my first year of college. If I could go back to my first day of school, I would have more of a mindset of getting things done right when they are assigned, and ask as many questions as I could. Granted I did take many opportunities to ask my professors a few questions each class, but I definitely could’ve asked many more questions. Making sure that I was on top of my reading was definitely something I could’ve improved on, but I learned from my mistakes, which in return has made me a better student in my current classes I am taking.


8. Know what your school offers you!

My spring (present) quarter I just discovered that I was given $100 as a part of my first year, that I would have been able to put towards anything that they offer! I was really upset, but hopefully I will be able to use it by the end of the year. Nobody told me about the free money, but now I know to ask about more things next year. I also found out half way through the year that my library offers many things to rent out, such as, Go-Pros, Nikon cameras, movies, laptops, and more. The nice thing about that is that they set you up for success, especially if you are living straight off what you pay for tuition and don’t have any technology (ex: laptop). There is nothing that the school does not offer, so it’s nice to have what you need especially on a tight college budget. When I found out about all the activities my school offered, I was about as excited as Janice every time she ran into the crew.


(I’m a huge Friends fan, so I had to include some Friends reference)

9. Invest your time in those you love

When I say the word love, I don’t mean just a boyfriend or girlfriend, but family and friends as well. My best friends from high-school both ended up going to schools far away from me. One of them is as far as a fourteen hour plane ride, and a four our drive across the state, so it takes effort to check in on them and see how they are doing, but it is definitely worth it. I learned from one of them how amazing it is to get a letter, and how much it really means in something that seems so simple! I learned from my other best friend how important it is to surround yourself with those who help you become a better person. These two beautiful souls have truly helped me become the person that I am today.


10. Be honest, and communicate

If there is no communication then everything will go downhill. My roommate and I are always talking about what happened in our day, and asking each-other for advice whether it be about boys, clothes, or every day decisions such as what and where to eat! The most common is definitely asking about what to wear, which ends up just being a bonding experience for both of us. When problems arise, we talk to each other and solve them. If there was no communication between friends or roommates, then there would be no flourishing friendships! Honesty is one of the greatest things to keeping friends, and keeping that open communication. Staying honest, is one major key to amazing friendships and successful living situations.


These are not the only lessons that I have learned from my first year at college, but they are some of the greater parts that have helped me become a better person and a better student. These apply to my college experience, and hopefully you can relate or recommend it to a friend that may be starting college this upcoming fall.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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