13 Things I Learned My First Semester in College

13 Things I Learned My First Semester in College

I made it, and I never thought I would.
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I am not quite sure what I expected college to be like, nor do I even know if I had expectations, but so far it has exceeded anything I could've imagined. I have found that being away from home has amounted to me learning more than how to budget my time, wash my clothes, or join organizations, but rather a whole new set of lessons that will take me far in life.

1. Being yourself is so important

There are so many people here that have so many different interests, why not be yourself? Someone will like you.

2. No one cares.

Eat the Steak and shake, order a venti Frappuccino, hit the gym twice in one day, try kickboxing, wear mismatched socks, add a little skip in your step across campus. No one cares.

3. But then again, people do care.

You will find your people and they will care. Your friends will start to feel like family and you will spend so much time with them that they will begin to understand you and who you are as a person. They will be there for you when finals week feels like its out to get you, when your high school boyfriend breaks your heart, or when you just really need a good back rub. Some of these people will be lifelong friends, and you will quickly learn who they are. Don't let them go.

4. I need to learn how to cook.

Fresh fruit and veggies are a delicacy here on campus, well really, food that isn’t potatoes, bread, or mystery meat is hard to find. I have learned to ration the food my mom sends back to me after a long weekend. Thus, I have come to the conclusion that it I must learn to cook, or if nothing else, become a pro at warming up food. I have also learned that if any event on campus advertises free food, you go. No questions.

5. It is OK to be confused.

Everyone is. No one knows exactly what they are doing with their lives. It is normal to be unsure about your major, the classes you are taking, or the way you’re spending your time. I have found that most people are, to some degree. Sometimes it requires talking things out with your advisor, and sometimes it requires taking a step back in order to understand how to take a step forward. Be content with things that are out of your control.

6. Home isn't that far away.

Home will be as close or as far away as you make it. You could be forty minutes from home, but make it feel like four hours, likewise, you could be four hours away, but only feel forty minutes from home. It all amounts to how much effort and emphasis you put on your relationships back home. It’s easy to get caught up in college life and forget about life back yonder, but it’s always good to have that familiarity with your hometown.

7. Nothing is holding me back.

I would bet that if you looked up “college” in the thesaurus, a synonym would be “opportunities.” There are endless open doors just waiting for you to walk through on campus, and your success amounts to how many of them you take advantage of.

Sure, you can easily go through the motions, pass your classes, drink a lot, earn your degree, and call yourself a BGSU alum, but you can also develop relationships with your professors, join organizations, find your passions and pursue them, learn from the extra-curricular activities, study hard, and graduate from BGSU, leaving your legacy imprinted on the school. There are people here who dedicate their lives to helping college students succeed, they want to help. Let them!

8. Don't forget your faith.

So maybe your parents forced you to go to church in high school or maybe you loved your youth group like your second family, either way, college changes the way your schedule works and I found that my Jesus time didn’t take a priority.

I have since learned that taking time for Him in my schedule allows me to take a break from my stresses and focus on peace. It’s so important not to lose your faith in the hard times, He will give you peace.

9. If it's meant to be, it will be.

Looking back on this semester, this should really be number one. Some things are out of your control. Somethings you cannot stop from happening. It isn’t always easy to accept or understand, but time will show that it happened for a reason. This could be true for a past relationship, your major, or a job. If it’s meant to happen it will, and maybe it just isn’t the time, maybe I still have something to learn.

10. It's not what you're doing, it's who you're doing it with.

I have learned that doing something generally regarded as fun with some people that you don’t like all that much can be just mediocre, but just hanging out with your best friends will be so much better. Driving around with no destination and ending up at Lake Erie with your best friend and taco bell is going to make for a better evening than going out with some kids from your Econ 2020 class.

11. Learn to say no.

This one has been the hardest for me to learn, I like to help people and I don’t like to let people down. Whether it's saying no to attending another event because I need to study, or letting someone else take care of someone because I really just need to sleep, I have learned to say no. They will find another tutor, another ride, or someone else to attend their event. There’s nothing wrong with saying no.

12. It's OK to be alone.

So, this is what they meant by college is constantly social. You’re thrown into a world of community and constant social interaction. You have to share a room, share a bathroom, and share space… at all times. Now it’s not horrible, at times I quite like it. But the constant nonstop go, go, going starts to wear on you.

That’s the cool thing about college. It’s also OK to be alone. You can treat yourself to a coffee date, or sit alone in the library and it's not weird. Enjoy the alone time that you get, it's precious.

13. Pet the dogs and wave at the kids.

There is a total lack of cuteness in my life right now. Take pictures of your cousins at Thanksgiving to get you through, but always, ALWAYS stop to pet the dogs. It will make your day infinitely better.

Cover Image Credit: Erika glover

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When You Make A Girl An Aunt, You Change Her World In All The Best Ways

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest girl in the world.

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My brother and his wife recently blessed our family with the sweetest bundle of joy on planet earth. OK, I may be a little bias but I believe it to be completely true. I have never been baby crazy, but this sweet-cheeked angel is the only exception. I am at an age where I do not want children yet, but being able to love on my nephew like he is my own is so satisfying.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a very protective person.

From making sure the car seat is strapped in properly before every trip, to watching baby boy breathe while he sleeps, you'll never meet someone, besides mommy and daddy of course, who is more concerned with the safety of that little person than me.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her a miniature best friend.

There is something about an aunt that is so fun. An aunt is a person you go to when you think you're in trouble or when you want something mom and dad said you couldn't have. An aunt is someone who takes you to get ice cream and play in the park to cool down after having a temper tantrum. I can't wait to be the one he runs to.

When you make a girl an aunt, she gets to skip on the difficulty of disciplining.

Being an aunt means you get to be fun. Not to say I wouldn't correct my nephew if he were behaving poorly, but for the most part, I get to giggle and play and leave the hard stuff for my brother.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her the best listening ears.

As of right now I only listen to the sweet coos and hungry cries but I am fully prepared to listen to all the problems in his life in the future.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the best advice giver.

By the time my nephew needs advice, hopefully, I will have all of my life lessons perfected into relatable stories.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a number-one fan

Anything you do in life sweet boy, I will be cheering you on. I already know you are going to do great things.

When you make a girl an aunt, she learns what true love is.

The love I have for my nephew is so pure. Its the love that is just there. I don't have to choose to show love every day, I don't have to forgive, I don't have to worry if it is reciprocated, it is just there.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest person in the world.

I cannot wait to watch my precious nephew grow into the amazing person that I know he is going to be.

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I Wonder If You'd Be Proud of Me

Or if you even think of me at all.

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I wonder if you'd be proud of me.

My first thought when I wake up in the morning is whether or not you still think of me. I think about if I am wearing the right outfit if I were to see you that day. I think about if I am saying the right thing for you to want to want me again.

Throughout my day, I think about whether or not you're happy. I wonder if the feeling in my heart of missing who I thought you were is making its way to you. Sometimes I think about what I did to make you hate me as much as you do.

Sometimes when things get really hard, I think about picking up the phone to call you. Time keeps passing from the last time I saw you and during that time I've painted a picture of you that would probably only disappoint me in the end. Your phone number still sits in my phone and I go to your contact, wanting to call, but knowing that at the other end is not the person I used to know.

I wonder if you watch me. I wonder if the posts I make, pictures I post, and articles I write are viewed by you and whether or not you care to even search my name. I wonder if you ask people about me or if you care to know the person I am today.

Without you, I have changed. It has been two years and though time will only continue moving on without you, I wonder what would have happened if I didn't make the choices I made to make you react in the way you have.

When the sun shines bright on the flowers blooming around campus, I think of your jokes and sarcastic wit. When the rain pours from the sky and keeps me imprisoned within the walls of a building, I think of ways I felt imprisoned by you. When clouds form shapes in the sky that I can make stories out of, I think of the way life could've been.

Sometimes I write to you. They are the letters I can never send because I have to remind myself that though we knew each other once, you do not know me anymore. The picture in my mind of who you are now is someone who'd love me with open arms, but I know that there's no truth in that. It's only my wishful thinking out to break my heart once more.

I wonder if you hear me when I try talking to you. I wonder if the words I tell God are making their way to you as you go on living the life we always talked about when times get tough. I wonder if you're talking to God about me.

As I watch the sunset, I think about the last moment I was with you. As that chapter ended, I was only wishfully thinking that walking away would save me from further pain. In the end, I don't know about how life would've been different had it not happened.

When my picture of you gets too bright and I share it with others, I am reminded of reality. The screaming, crying, pushing, shoving, and hitting touches my skin once more in the form of flashbacks that push me further down into the depths of a depression. I am reminded of the hundreds of suicidal thoughts and letters that I've written once before.

No matter what, my heart still yearns for a hug. A hug where I can bury myself into your body and feel safe. A hug where I forget every worry in my mind and focus solely on the love.

I wonder if you'd still love me if I changed myself to be the person you've always wanted me to be. I wonder if you'd forgive me for walking away, even if it was for me to change to be a better person. I wonder if you'll ever even read this.

Days like today, I want to go back in time. I sit on the benches around campus and look up at the sky, down at the cars passing by, and listen to life move on all around me as I remain stuck. I hear people talking, see them laughing, and wonder if there's any way I could one day feel as alive as they do.

The truth is that I was never enough for you. No matter how much I changed, kept notes of what you liked so I could be like that, or just kept my head down and moved silently, nothing was ever enough.

No matter what, though, I still yearn to be loved in the way that I picture you should've loved me. Closure does not exist. You were the ones who were supposed to hold me down. But now I am nothing to you...I was always nothing to you.

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