It seems like moving into my freshman year dorm room was just yesterday. Yet, in just three short weeks, I will be moving out of my tiny box that I call home and moving onto my sophomore year of college. Freshman year is a roller coaster; not just for me, but for everybody. If you think it was a smooth ride, stop lying to yourself. From learning how to do your own laundry to learning new study habits, and even making new friends, there is so much I have learned my first year of college. To ensure I was not the only one learning new things; I asked around to some of my closest friends and together we compiled a list of 15 things we have all learned our first year of college.
1. Don't eat too much dessert. Freshman fifteen is no joke.
Yes, you. No, having a cookie or slice of cake after your dinner isn't going to kill you; but sticking your head under the soft serve machine just might.
2. Academics are no joke.
No matter how many AP/dual enrollment courses you take throughout high school, nothing prepares you for the college workload. I remember walking into my first test of the semester after looking over my notes one time and thinking I had it in the bag. Boy, was I wrong. Study hard, and when you think you're finally ready for the test, study again.
3. They don't lie when they say your dining dollars go by fast.
Donald Trump may have received a small loan of a million dollars from his daddy. But odds are, the rest of us did not. Don't blow your dining the first month of school or you'll regret it when you really want Chick-fil-A and have to use real money that you honestly cannot afford to spend.
4. Don't be afraid to try new things.
Yes, you're in college to get an education. But since you live here nine months out of the year, y'all might as well find something exciting to do besides study. Join a club you've always been interested in, go hiking, join an intramural team, volunteer for an alternative break program and serve a community in need, or rush a sorority or fraternity. College campuses are known across the nation for the extraordinary clubs and organizations on campus. You (or your parents) are paying so much money to be there, take advantage of everything they have to offer.
5. Not everyone is going to like you, and that's okay.
This doesn't mean there's anything wrong with you, and it also doesn't mean there's anything wrong with the other person. Different people get along in different ways, and you realistically cannot be everyone's friend. Some girls in your sorority may not like you, or you may be a professor's least favorite student. Don't take it personally, it's just life.
6. Don't eat moon-pies and drink beer at the same time.
I haven't personally learned this because I don't eat Moon-pies, but my lovely mother passed down the knowledge so I feel it is my duty to pass it along as well. After all, moms know best, am I right?
7. Don't feel locked into a major.
I remember filling out my college registration and selecting a major just because I didn't want to start undeclared. After trying it out and hating it, I was afraid to switch because I had already committed. Here's the thing: most kids switch their majors at least once, sometimes even five or six times. You don't need to feel committed to something you don't enjoy doing, especially when you're the one paying for it.
8. Sharing is caring.
For children that come from big families like myself, I learned how to share growing up. However, for the only children out there, you have to learn to share when you get to college. My roommate and I share anything, even without asking. I've learned that having a "what's mine is yours and what's yours is mine" mentality makes college so much easier, as long as both parties hold up their ends.
9. Don't forget about your parents.
Parents and students alike usually have a hard time letting one another go for college, it's normal. However, while you're off running around every weekend with your new best friends, your parents are the ones at home living their usual lives with no-one to replace you. Call them every now and then, or at least text them and let them know you're alive.
10. It's okay to go home on the weekend.
I wouldn't recommend going home every weekend, but there's no shame in missing your family and friends. Don't get caught up in having such bad FOMO that you can't peace out for a weekend and give your hometown a visit.
11. You're always exhausted.
Everyone always told me to enjoy going to bed early while I could, and I didn't understand why until I got to college. You never get much sleep here, and even if you do, you're still exhausted. I guess that's just part of college.
12. You won't keep up with all of your hometown friends, and that's okay.
I never believed this one. I was certain each and every friend I had back home was going to remain stuck to me forever. Boy, was I wrong again. Your true friends stay by your side and keep up with your life while you're away, but some friends are only in your life for a season, and that's okay too.
13. If it's free, it's for me.
Free t-shirts on the quad? I'll run as fast as I can to beat you there. Free Chick-fil-A? Oh boy, you best believe I will be first in line. You see, the thing about college is that we magically become broke the minute we step on campus, or so we like to think. If it's free, it's for me.
14. It's okay to cry.
I hope they're happy tears, but sometimes they just aren't. There is no shame in crying through the good and the bad that comes with college.
15. Use the buddy system.
The last thing you want is to be stuck in a frat by yourself because you ran off with someone and lost your friends. Be smart, and take a buddy.
College is one of the most exciting times in our lives. It's a time when we can experience new things, meet new people, and study things we are passionate about; so take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way these next few years.