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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15 Things Only Lake People Will Understand

There's no other place you'd rather be in the summer.
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The people that spend their summers at the lake are a unique group of people. Whether you grew up going to the lake, have only recently started going, or have only been once or twice, you know it takes a certain kind of person to be a lake person. To the long-time lake people, the lake holds a special place in your heart, no matter how dirty the water may look. Every year when summer rolls back around, you can't wait to fire up the boat and get back out there. Here is a list of things you can probably identify with as a fellow lake-goer.

1. A bad day at the lake is still better than a good day not at the lake.

It's your place of escape, where you can leave everything else behind and just enjoy the beautiful summer day. No matter what kind of week you had, being able to come and relax without having to worry about anything else is the best therapy there is. After all, there's nothing better than a day of hanging out in the hot sun, telling old funny stories and listening to your favorite music.

2. You know the best beaches and coves to go to.

Whether you want to just hang out and float or go walk around on a beach, you know the best spots. These often have to be based on the people you're with, given that some "party coves" can get a little too crazy for little kids on board. I still have vivid memories from when I was six that scared me when I saw the things drunk girls would do for beads.

3. You have no patience for the guy who can’t back his trailer into the water right.

When there's a long line of trucks waiting to dump their boats in the water, there's always that one clueless guy who can't get it right, and takes 5 attempts and holds up the line. No one likes that guy. One time my dad got so fed up with a guy who was taking too long that he actually got out of the car and asked this guy if he could just do it for him. So he got into the guy's car, threw it in reverse, and got it backed in on the first try. True story.

4. Doing the friendly wave to every boat you pass.

Similar to the "jeep wave," almost everyone waves to other boats passing by. It's just what you do, and is seen as a normal thing by everyone.

5. The cooler is always packed, mostly with beer.

Alcohol seems to be a big part of the lake experience, but other drinks are squeezed into the room remaining in the cooler for the kids, not to mention the wide assortment of chips and other foods in the snack bag.

6. Giving the idiot who goes 30 in a "No Wake

Zone" a piece of your mind.

There's nothing worse than floating in the water, all settled in and minding your business, when some idiot barrels through. Now your anchor is loose, and you're left jostled by the waves when it was nice and perfectly still before. This annoyance is typically answered by someone yelling some choice words to them that are probably accompanied by a middle finger in the air.

7. You have no problem with peeing in the water.

It's the lake, and some social expectations are a little different here, if not lowered quite a bit. When you have to go, you just go, and it's no big deal to anyone because they do it too.

8. You know the frustration of getting your anchor stuck.

The number of anchors you go through as a boat owner is likely a number that can be counted on two hands. Every once in a while, it gets stuck on something on the bottom of the lake, and the only way to fix the problem is to cut the rope, and you have to replace it.

9. Watching in awe at the bigger, better boats that pass by.

If you're the typical lake-goer, you likely might have an average sized boat that you're perfectly happy with. However, that doesn't mean you don't stop and stare at the fast boats that loudly speed by, or at the obnoxiously huge yachts that pass.

10. Knowing any swimsuit that you own with white in it is best left for the pool or the ocean.

You've learned this the hard way, coming back from a day in the water and seeing the flowers on your bathing suit that were once white, are now a nice brownish hue.

11. The momentary fear for your life as you get launched from the tube.

If the driver knows how to give you a good ride, or just wants to specifically throw you off, you know you're done when you're speeding up and heading straight for a big wave. Suddenly you're airborne, knowing you're about to completely wipe out, and you eat pure wake. Then you get back on and do it all again.

12. You're able to go to the restaurants by the water wearing minimal clothing.

One of the many nice things about the life at the lake is that everybody cares about everything a little less. Rolling up to the place wearing only your swimsuit, a cover-up and flip flops, you fit right in. After a long day when you're sunburned, a little buzzed, and hungry, you're served without any hesitation.

13. Having unexpected problems with your boat.

Every once in a while you're hit with technical difficulties, no matter what type of watercraft you have. This is one of the most annoying setbacks when you're looking forward to just having a carefree day on the water, but it's bound to happen. This is just one of the joys that come along with being a boat owner.

14. Having a name for your boat unique to you and your life.

One of the many interesting things that make up the lake culture is the fact that many people name their boats. They can range from basic to funny, but they are unique to each and every owner, and often have interesting and clever meanings behind them.

15. There's no better place you'd rather be in the summer.

Summer is your all-time favorite season, mostly because it's spent at the lake. Whether you're floating in the cool water under the sun, or taking a boat ride as the sun sets, you don't have a care in the world at that moment. The people that don't understand have probably never experienced it, but it's what keeps you coming back every year.


Cover Image Credit: Haley Harvey

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Don't Let Anybody Shame You For Being A Community College Student

Community college is not a bad thing. In the end, you will save money and will probably be much happier.
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It's your senior year of high school and all around you, your classmates are buzzing with excitement. What is the excitement about? College acceptances! Your friends, athletes, and classmates all around you are announcing the big name universities they have applied and been accepted to. In all the commotion you can't help but feel excited for them as well. But what happens when you go home and family and friends start asking you where you are going? What happens when you have known since the beginning of junior year that you are going to a community college or the "13th grade" as others call it?

I'll tell you what happens, people around you smile and change the subject. Or they ask "why?" and say that it is a terrible idea. They tell you that you are making a mistake and that if you don't go straight off to a university, you will never have a degree or a good job as other people that went straight to a university. I'm here to tell you that they are wrong.

There is no shame in going to community college for two years. In fact, if you are not quite sure what you want to major in or do when you graduate then it is the perfect time to find out. Community college gives you 2 extra years to find out what you like to learn about, what you like to do, and what you see yourself doing in the future.

Not to mention, community college gives you the chance to save up money for two years. That way when you graduate, you can go off to a big name university and not have to take as many loans out had you went straight there. The best part of going to a community college is that after your two years there you complete all your prerequisite classes, you also graduate with an associates degree.

After you can find a "big university" that accepts your college credits that you have already completed and transfer right over. You complete your junior and senior year there and graduate with a bachelors degree. The best part is no one ever has to know you went to a community college if you don't want them to.

Community college is not a bad thing. In the end, you will save money and will probably be much happier. Let's throw away the stigma. Let's start giving kids that are confused about where they should go and what they should do, the option of going to community college.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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