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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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
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Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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The Importance Of Creating In Consumer Culture

While being bombarded with information and media, it’s important to reconnect with yourself through the act of creating.

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A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon the article "Create more, consume less; A surefire way to feel more excited about life" by Lori Deschene and I have been pondering it ever since. It resonated with me — it discusses how our culture today revolves around consumption — consumption of news and posts on social media, TV shows, music, and other media. While this is good in moderation, it can take precedence to the point of ruling our lives. We wake up and scroll through social media, check it throughout the day, and scroll through before we sleep too. My dad comes home from work at 7 PM and the news is on the TV from then till he falls asleep around 12 AM. I read books and watch movies.

I kept being reminded of the article even more when I came home from spring break. My room is long overdue for a good cleaning, and as I pulled old notebooks from the closet I found countless drawings and scraps of stories, child's play but also — creation. I am a creative writing major for a reason — I love to write. But my couple of stories from last semester's fiction writing class are tiny in comparison to the collection of stories I used to pump prior to social media and the rigors of high school and college. While highly amused as I skimmed through the stories and sketches, I was also sad that I had stopped creating so much, with words and with color.

The article lists some of the benefits of and reasons to create for "memories." Obviously going through many notebooks and sketchbooks caused many memories to resurface, and the memory of actively creating something will stick longer than that meme that was popular for a week last month.

Over this break, I tried to be mindful and work towards creating something. As I was digging through my closet and sorting old clothes into piles, I set aside a pair of jeans I haven't worn in years. With the (somewhat dubious) guidance of Youtube DIY-ers, I cut slits in the jeans and meticulously pulled out the threads to create holes, and after washing and drying and cuffing (and this took about five hours total), I have a new pair of cute jeans! (Well I think they're cute at least, and I guess that's all that matters...) The whole process, besides a couple of hand cramps after tweezing for an hour, was satisfying and rewarding.

I think it's important to set aside time for projects such as these, whether tampering some jeans or plunking a couple of tunes on the piano. It's easy to lose yourself in the constant stream of information from our screens, and it's important to reground yourself in creating something that you will love, or at least love the process.

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