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.