15 Lessons I Learned During My Freshman Year

15 Lessons I Learned During My Freshman Year

You will learn more than just calculus and how to pull all-nighters during your freshman year of college.
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The school year is drawing to a close, and for freshmen like me, it's unbelievable how quickly the year went by. Freshman year is a whirlwind filled with friendships, exams, parties and memories, and it's hard to believe that's it's almost over. To reflect, I've compiled a list of 15 lessons that your freshman year of college will teach you—it's more than just academics!


1. College is way more difficult than high school.
Unlike high school, you actually need to do the assigned readings and spend hours studying for tests. There is so much more learning that you need to do outside of class, and it's easy to fall behind. Your grade could potentially be determined by how well you do on the midterm and the final—and that's it. Get to know your professors, go to class and use office hours. It will all pay off later.

2. The "Freshman 15" is a real thing.
You'll always have a friend who is hungry, and more often than not, you'll tag along with them and end up getting french fries. Not to worry: try to make healthy food choices (but Taco Bell at 3 a.m. once in a while won't kill you, either) and go to the rec center to workout a few times a week, and you'll feel a whole lot better.

3. So is FOMO.
There will be an opportunity for you to go out every night of the week. Your friends will always want to hang out. Something will always be happening around campus. Sometimes, you just need to take some time for yourself and skip out on whatever it is you want to do. It'll be hard at the moment, but it pays off later.

4. Sorority recruitment really does work out.
During recruitment, you probably heard to "trust the process" a thousand times. It's actually true though - take a deep breath and give your sorority a chance. So many people do not end up with their first choice sorority and it turns out to be the biggest blessing. Everything happens for a reason.

5. You don't need to bring your entire closet with you.
You not only have your closet, but also your roommate's closet, every girl on your floor's closet and your sorority sister's closets. You do not to bring need every piece of clothing you own. Not only is it unnecessary, but it takes up precious space in your tiny dorm room.

6. You will get homesick.
Even if you're the most independent person on this earth, you'll have those moments where you really miss home—sitting on your couch watching football with your family on Sunday, your mom's home cooked meals, fighting with your siblings, birthday celebrations and your best friends from high school. Getting homesick is natural, but it's nothing that Skypeing with your friends from home can't fix.

7. Going out friends are different than real friends.
You meet so many people so quickly, but not all of them will be your best friends. You'll have a friend who you can go out with and have a ton of fun, but you would never hang out with them on a regular basis. It's important to find friends who you can depend on for anything. They're the ones who will be there for you when you're on top of the world and when you feel like you want to curl up and cry.

8. Carrying a phone charger around with you is a smart move.
Your phone battery will be dead by noon most days, so throwing a phone charger in your bag is the way to go. Also, invest in a portable phone charger that you can bring with you when you go out; there is nothing worse than having a dead phone and not being able to find any of your friends.

9. Doing laundry is literally house arrest.
Carve out a solid two-to-three hours that you can stay in your dorm when doing laundry. Due to a Lululemon thief in my dorm, you can't leave your laundry unattended, which makes finding time to do laundry really tough. Grab a book and force yourself to study, or watch some Netflix, and laundry day becomes a little more bearable.

10. Calling your family will cure all of your problems.
When you fail a test, get in a fight with your roommate or when a boy breaks your heart, nothing is more reassuring than the sound of your mom's voice telling you that you are the best person in the world. As I said earlier, you will get homesick. Call your little brother and ask him to fill you in on what's happening at home. Even when nothing is wrong, call your family—they miss you more than you miss them.

11. You're tired all time time.
Sleep is hard to come by in college. You'll stay up late working on papers, watching movies, and eating pizza at 3 a.m. with friends. Don't skip out on the memories that staying up till dawn will bring you, but on the days when you have the opportunity to get to bed at a reasonable hour, don't stay up late watching Netflix.

12. Getting involved is important.
Pick a club (or 12) involved with something that interests you and join it! Write for your school newspaper. Go on a service trip. Look for internships. Whatever you want to do—do it! Getting involved not only keeps you busy and stops you from wasting hours on Netflix, but it makes campus a lot smaller and helps you meet even more friends.

13. You'll lose touch with some of your friends from home.
Staying in touch with all of your friends from high school is hard. There will be a lot of people who you considered your best friends in high school that you barely ever speak to. For the ones that matter, though, you'll make time. There are so many ways to keep in touch—phone calls, Skype, texting, Facebook and other social media—that you can use to make your time apart more bearable.

14. You'll start to call your dorm/school "home".
And it'll freak you out. When your friends leave school for the weekend, you'll tell them you can't wait for them to come "home." You call your dorm "home." It's a really weird feeling having a place to call home other than your actual home with your parents and siblings, but it's a good thing. Being able to feel so comfortable at school shows that you made a great choice.

15. It goes by fast.
I can't believe that I'm already reflecting on my freshman year of college. You wait so long to get to this point, and it's over before you know it. My only advice is to sit back and enjoy every moment, because before you know it, it will be over.

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If South Carolina Colleges Were Characters From 'The Office'

Who's Jim and who's Meredith?
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"The Office" is one of the best shows on the face of the planet. Don't believe me, you obviously haven't watched it. It has a character for everything, including all of the South Carolina colleges.

The Citadel

This one is probably the easiest. Creed Bratton. Hands down. Military all day every day. No one knows what really goes on behind closed doors, except the people there. Just like Creed's mind.

Coastal Carolina University

Consistently voted one of the top party schools in the nation. #It'snotcollegeit'sCoastal.

Winthrop University

Winthrop is the place for future teachers. We all know that Meredith is the mother/teacher figure in the office, which is kind of scary in and of itself.

Columbia College

Erin just seems like the type of person who would go to an all-female college.

Bob Jones University

At what other school do you see people wearing things that could be from the American Girl large colonial dolls Spring line?

Wofford College

The pearls, Greek Life, and Southern fashion are so real.

Furman University

Let's be real. Pam is a bit of a nerd. But at the end of the day, she does know how to get down. I mean she WAS on the party planning committee. And who doesn't want that Ring By Spring?

College of Charleston

Nard Dog is definitely in an a capella group in Charleston, taking in the city and the history while dressing like a frat star.

Medical University of South Carolina

Andy isn't alone in Charleston. Dwight is down there becoming a doctor. Yes, someone who can save lives and is able to do surgery. Although, who else would you expect to be a doctor?

University of South Carolina

There would be no South Carolina without the University of South Carolina. There would be no office without Michael Scott. The later seasons prove it. They're large and in charge.

Clemson University

While Michael thinks that he runs the office, it's no secret that Jim is the mastermind behind the operation. The office would fall apart without him. I'll just let that sit.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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Your Brain Is More Than A Bag of Chemicals

In David Anderson's 2013 Ted Talk, the Caltech professor discusses the downfalls of mental healthcare in our society, opening a discussion to wider societal issues.

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David Anderson, in his Ted Talk "Your Brain is Not a Bag of Chemicals" dives into the world of treatment for psychiatric illnesses, of scientific research, and of fruit flies. His goal, to explain the flaws in current treatments of mental illnesses and present how this downfalls could be resolved is clear throughout the talk. Through presenting his research, and speaking of novel contributions such as the actual discovery of emotion in fruit flies, Anderson displays the flaws in mental healthcare and demands more of the scientific world to resolve these downfalls.

As Anderson explains, the traditional view of mental illnesses is that they are a chemical imbalance in the brain. He states, "As if the brain were some kind of bag of chemical soup filled with dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine." He explains the difference for typical treatments of physical ailments versus psychological ailments. As he describes it, physical ailments presented to a physician will lead to blood tests, biological assays, and various other factors to gather information about what is going on in the body so that a treatment plan can be well-suited to that issue. However, for psychological problems, the patient is often handed a questionnaire to assess the issues. These questionnaires, as he suggests, are insufficient in understanding the complexities that surround mental illnesses.

Of medication prescribed for mental illnesses, Anderson states, "These drugs have so many side effects because using them to treat a complex psychiatric disorder is a bit like trying to change your engine oil by opening a can and pouring it all over the engine block. Some of it will dribble into the right place, but a lot of it will do more harm than good." Anderson uses the example of dopamine and the model organism of fruit flies to explain this concept. He explains how in certain illnesses, such as ADHD, there is not a complete understanding of why there are features of learning disabilities and hyperactivity. Without this understanding, the treatment of just increasing the amount of dopamine in one's system is lacking.

Anderson suggests that pharmaceutical companies and scientists should do more research to not only discover the disturbances of neural pathways, which tend to be the real cause of mental illnesses, but to also develop new medications that attempt to resolve these specific pathways and specific receptors, rather than simply increasing the amount of a certain neurochemical. These new medications could and do revolutionize the way that mental illnesses are treated, and the efficacy in their treatment.

As a society, there is a general view of mental illnesses that varies greatly from the view of physical illnesses. Anderson, without directly discussing it, acknowledges this exact problem. He discusses the differences in treatments, but also the lack of resources that are put in to truly understand how to better treat mental illnesses as disturbances in neurophysiological components. Without, as a society, acknowledging and respecting mental illnesses for what they are, we are short-changing the 25% of the world who is directly impacted by these illnesses, and the countless loved ones who stand by those impacted. A shift needs to occur, and the research and ideas that Anderson presents are a wonderful scientific starting point for these shifts. However, if we as a society do not support the principles behind this science, do not support the concept that mental illness is much more than just being a little emotionally reactive, we are doing a disservice to the majority of the population.

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