So I finished my first semester at DePauw and I definitely learned more than just the material covered in class. Being on my own for the first time was a true learning curve but I think I got the hang of it. I made some pretty great friends, did pretty well in my classes and I would like to think I learned some good life lessons along the way.
1. Apps like Venmo and Groupme are essential.
There are so many other apps that people use but these two are the ones that I've found myself using all of the time. Venmo makes it easy to pay someone back for the food they got you and easy to get paid if you do three loads of laundry for someone. Groupme is just easy to use for group chats and communicating with people.
2. Doing a radio show at 2 a.m. isn't the best idea with someone you meet the first day of school.
This might work for some people, but, boy, was this a disaster for me this semester. I didn't really mind the terrible time slot at first because I still hung out with the person I did the show with, but once we stopped hanging out, the show just became a chore. Staying up until 4 a.m. every other Tuesday became harder and harder throughout the semester and doing the show by yourself just isn't fun.
3. Your roommate is the perfect person to have midnight talks with.
Whether you're feeling down or just want to confide in your roommate, they're the perfect person to listen to. While I recognize that not everyone will be best friends with their roommate, I got really lucky with mine and I couldn't have imagined getting through the first semester without her around.
4. Sometimes the best nights are the ones you spend watching movies with your friends.
You don't have to go out every Friday and Saturday night to a party to have fun. Some of my favorite nights involved staying in to watch movies or to play Disney Sing Along. Not only have I been able to see some really good movies but I was also glad I didn't have to go through the process of getting ready to go out. If you don't want to go out, someone will be down to stay in and watch movies.
5. People who don't give you time are not worth it.
I'm still trying to grasp this concept but I'm getting better at it. Not everyone you meet in college will be your friend and not everyone will like you, but the beauty of college is that you don't have to talk to them. College is a big place, and if you don't want to talk to someone you don't have to. If someone you're trying to be friends with doesn't care about talking to you or they just don't give you effort, don't hang out with them. There are so many other people around that it's easy to find someone that you will get along with.
6. Don't sweat the small stuff; you need the brain power for more important things.
Honestly, freaking out over little things is just so not worth it. So what if a guy showers in the girls' bathroom when no one else is in there? You could probably be using that energy for studying or doing something more productive.
7. Call your parents or risk a meltdown in mentor meetings.
Speaking from personal experience, you should definitely talk to your parents at least once a week. It's easy to get caught up in your routine and forget to call but there is nothing like hearing a familiar voice on the phone. I personally like calling home, but that's because I like my parents and I like telling them what I'm doing; but hey, that's just me.
8. Put time in for studying during the semester and it won't be so bad during finals.
I saw so many people trying to cram for their finals during the couple days before taking the test. While it's easy to not do homework that isn't collected, it helps so much in preparing you for the test. When it comes time to start studying, it's easier to focus on things that you don't really know rather than trying to learn everything. Also, you won't have to pull an all-nighter, which is not something I would recommend doing.
9. The people you hang out with will change.
From the first day of school to even one month in, the people you go to lunch with will change. They will probably change some more as you get closer to other people and talk to others less and less. It just depends on what relationships you want to put effort into. Friendships will continue to change throughout the rest of the year and this is where I learned that real friendships, whether at college or back home, will take an honest effort to work out in the end.
10. Don't be afraid to give yourself some alone time; you'll need it to stay sane.
The first month of college is a lot of meetings and get-togethers and it's easy to get caught up in all of the socializing that you forget to unwind and give time to yourself. By the end of the semester, you'll start getting sick of seeing the same people around all of the time and being by yourself is just really rejuvenating,
11. Be yourself.
This is one of the biggest things that I think I learned. If you aren't true to who you are, then the friends you make won't really be your friends. They'll like you for all of the wrong reasons and college is a time to set yourself up for the rest of your life. The people you want to surround yourself with are the ones that like you for your weird ticks and personality traits.
12. Don't be afraid to go out of your comfort zone.
Whether it's going out to a party for the first time or just trying to introduce yourself to someone new, going out of your comfort zone is really rewarding in the end. Join a new club or go to hot yoga like you've wanted to all semester, because you'll meet people with similar interests and it could lead to a new friendship in the end. College is the time to try new things because you can without having all of the adult responsibilities.