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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To The Teacher Who Was So Much More

Thank you for everything
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I think it's fair to say that most people remember at least one teacher who had a lasting impact on them. I have been incredibly lucky to have several teachers who I will never forget, but one individual takes the cake. So here's to you: thank you for all you have done.

Thank you for teaching me lessons not just in the textbook.

Although you taught a great lecture, class was never just limited to the contents of the course. Debates and somewhat heated conversations would arise between classmates over politics and course material, and you always encouraged open discussion. You embraced the idea of always having an opinion, and always making it be heard, because why waste your voice? You taught me to fight for things I believed in, and to hold my ground in an argument. You taught me to always think of others before doing and speaking. You showed me the power of kindness. Thank you for all the important lessons that may not have been included in the curriculum.

Thank you for believing in me.

Especially in my senior year, you believed in me when other teachers didn't. You showed me just what I could accomplish with a positive and strong attitude. Your unwavering support kept me going, especially when I melted into a puddle of tears weekly in your office. You listened to my stupid complaints, understood my overwhelming stress-induced breakdowns, and told me it was going to be okay. Thank you for always being there for me.

Thank you for inspiring me.

You are the epitome of a role model. Not only are you intelligent and respected, but you have a heart of gold and emit beautiful light where ever you go. You showed me that service to others should not be looked at as a chore, but something to enjoy and find yourself in. And I have found myself in giving back to people, thanks to your spark. Thank you for showing me, and so many students, just how incredible one person can be.

Thank you for changing my life.

Without you, I truly would not be where I am today. As cliche as it sounds, you had such a remarkable impact on me and my outlook on life. Just about a year has passed since my graduation, and I'm grateful to still keep in touch. I hope you understand the impact you have made on me, and on so many other students. You are amazing, and I thank you for all you have done.

Cover Image Credit: Amy Aroune

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3 Things i learned at pride in NYC

The people, the flags, and the glitter are even more magical in person.

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On Sunday, June 24th, my girlfriend, my best friend and I, all hopped on a train to the World Trade Center in New York City. After a short subway ride, we arrived at 16th Street, where the parade festivities began. Dressed in our decked out rainbow attire, we entered a vibrant crowd of flag wielding, self-loving having, beautiful people. Pride is something the LGBTQIA+ community knows how to celebrate well. Lesbihonest, I think its safe to say that the LGBTQ+ community essentially created loving yourself, along with embracing those around you, whether you know them or not. While at Pride, I learned a few things about myself, about how to love others, and what it means to be apart of a community.

1. Love thy neighbor

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Because pride is such an important event to the LGBTQIA+ community, the number of people that attend each year is increasing by the thousands. There were an expected 48,000 people this year and when you're amerced in such a large crowd keeping your cool is super important. I learned that in most cases, giving love will result in receiving it, especially in 84-degree weather. So when I was making my way through energetic crowds, I used my p's and q's and was met with the same energy from strangers.

2. At pride, the dress code is no dress code

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If you're in the mood to wear your birthday suit, glitter, or witty t-shirt and celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community as a member or as an ally, pride is the place to be! The extravagant outfits and expression of self-pride through clothes and even lack of clothes made me feel extremely comfortable in my own outfit. I think we all have had our share of being uncomfortable in our skin or clothes, but being around thousands of people dressed in whatever made them most comfortable that day was a beautiful experience.

3. Pride is not solely about the LGBTIA+ community

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Heritage of Pride, the nonprofit organization that organizes New York City's LGBT pride events each year, strives to work towards creating a future that consists of equal rights for all under the law. The march is an annual civil rights demonstration that brings awareness to the fight against aids, the Black Lives Matter movement and memorializes those who have lost their lives to illness, violence and neglect. This year over 450 different organizations participated in the march and about 110 floats were shown, each float bringing awareness to different organizations.

As an Afro-Latina, lesbian, I felt very represented and extremely grateful to participate in a civil rights event such as pride. The opportunity to educate myself and even feel more comfortable in my own skin, and enjoy myself with the people I love most, is something I will truly cherish. Hopefully, my experiences and knowledge will expand next year at the 2019 NYC pride!

Cover Image Credit:

Em Goss

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