15 Lessons My Freshman Year Roommates Taught Me

15 Lessons My Freshman Year Roommates Taught Me

Little nuggets of wisdom they never knew they gave me.
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Freshman year could arguably be one of the most intimidating years of college, hands down. For starters, you are (for the most part) completely on your own especially if you went hours from home or out of state. You don’t have a routine, a niche, and hell, you don’t even know who you are.

All you know is that you want to be the best you can be and have the “college experience” that everyone talks about. You know the “college is the best four years” and the “if I could go back I so would” ideas that people put into your head. One thing that makes or breaks your college experience is finding your group of friends.

I was fortunate enough to find my squad within the walls of my residence hall suite, 305 to be exact. I was supposed to live with seven other girls but with life being as unpredictable as it is I only ended up living with six by second semester. We were all under the impression that you don’t have to be best friends with your roommates, you don’t even have to like them, but we all got along really well.

We lived in a never-ending honeymoon phase right up until Christmas break and once we got back we still fared pretty well with each other. Don’t get me wrong we had our fights and not everyone was each other’s best friends, though it seemed that way on the outside. We each within the group had our people and to me, that’s just how it goes. You get closer and relate better with some more than others.

Regardless of that, we still lucked out better than any other suite we knew because most of them had had someone move out to another dorm. I heard horror stories from others and looking back now I know that I had it better than most. That being said when you live amongst six girls with different styles and personalities you learn a lot about yourself and life. Here are a few things I learned:

  1. There’s no time like the present to be who you want to be. You can continue to mold yourself you’re not stuck being one person your whole life.
  2. A bad day does not have to result in a bad week or a bad life.
  3. Not everyone is going to like, some people might hate you, and either way that’s none of your business.
  4. Even if someone does hate you, you should still be kind to them because you don’t know what they’re actually feeling inside.
  5. We’ve all made our fair share of mistakes, you don’t have to call them regrets.
  6. Having alone time is necessary and good for the soul. The earlier you learn this the fewer arguments you will get in.
  7. If you don’t want to go do something, then don’t. If this means you don’t go to parties and everyone else does, who cares? Be happy.
  8. Movie nights in the common room are always a fun idea.
  9. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone, there’s a whole world of people being themselves so go join them!
  10. Homework is important but you can always find time to do it, don’t forget to make the unforgettable memories along the way because you don’t get these four years back.
  11. To get respect, you have to give it.
  12. Don’t listen just to answer someone. Listen to understand someone.
  13. Not everyone thinks/believes/feels the same as you. That is life and it’s okay.
  14. Just because you think/believe/feel differently than your friends doesn’t make either of you wrong.
  15. Give a little grace to your friends and yourself.
Cover Image Credit: Becca Steele

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1. Dispute ALL tickets... even if you were going 35mph over the speed limit.

ticket

How can it hurt? If anything you can save yourself some money.

2. If you're not 10 minutes early, you're late.

Your boss, your teachers, your co-workers... They all notice. Be the early one.

3. If you find yourself waking up feeling miserable, start the day by making your bed and washing your face.

Coming back to a made bed after a sh*tty day can change the world.

4. It's okay to fall off track once in a while. You'll only be wiser for next time. (Don't push it, though!)

When I say fall off track I don't mean COMPLETELY off... Just make sure you hold onto something that reminds you to keep going. You'll figure it out... Sometimes it takes years and that's okay.

5. Don't fight your family. They ARE always going to love you.

family

I used to fight my family and try to push them away... It was probably the dumbest thing I've ever done looking back. So, even if you say, "I'm never going to like them!" Trust me you will. Unless they're actually toxic a**holes...

6. Mom actually, seriously, literally, insanely knows everything.

It's crazy, I swear my mom is psychic. Or she can see the future. I used to do the opposite of what she said and my life was messier... Now that I found out about her powers I listen and things run smoother. Weird. Love you, Ma.

7. If an elder in your family tries giving you money as a gift or to cover lunch... Reject it first.

They won't stop insisting and they will force you to take the money even if you say no 3,000 times. So why not earn some brownie points and act like you seriously didn't need it. Meanwhile, you know how badly you need it.

8. An e-mail and/or a phone call goes a long way.

Don't pester... But if you're the one who calls to "follow up on a resume," a week or two after you applied, you're the standout!

Also, as a college student, I find e-mailing and staying in touch with professors builds a relationship and engraves your name into their brains. As long as you're good at writing e-mails and a good student, they'll usually instinctively like you more; seeing how much effort you spent on communicating.

9. If you hate school, just suffer through the attendance, and make sure the teacher knows your name.

Even if you actually have no idea what Descartes sixth meditation is about... Just show up, do the work consistently, and build a relationship with the teacher. They won't fail you if they see effort. (Just don't give them a reason to!)

10. It seems like the end of the world sometimes... it's not.

"And this too shall pass."

11. If you hate yourself one day (or even all the time), just pretend you don't.

Did you know our facial expressions can influence our emotions?

12. Line up another miserable part-time job before quitting your current one.

work

Waitressing, customer service, reception... We've all been there and it usually sucks (Unless your parents spoil you too much). So, if you need to get the hell out of there, make sure you have somewhere else to go before you quit. And give 'em a notice in advance, don't be a d*ck.

13. Traveling is the best thing in the world.

travel

I don't need to explain much more. I think we can all agree we want to witness the beautiful parts of this world we've never seen before.

14. If someone doesn't say thank you when you hold the door for them...

...hit them with the classic under-your-breath-but-you-know-they-heard-you type of "you're welcome!"

15. Respect authority, even if you think you're right.

cops

Just FULLY cooperate and it WILL be easier. It's also great to make friends with authority figures. Talk to everyone! Make connections and maybe you'll learn something new.

16. Spend time outside and in public.

After high school, you aren't forced into a classroom five days a week where you will have to socialize. After high school, you can decide to chill in your room and do nothing. But seriously don't make a habit out of it, you will end up feeling like crap when you realize you have no friends.

17. Don't roll your eyes at people.

So rude. Eye-rolling just makes it look like you're admitting you're wrong and you have no defense to whatever made you roll your eyes.

18. Life's a b*tch and then you die... But guess what? Even B*tches have fun!

mean girls

News flash, we are currently all in the process of dying. Stop worrying so much and try to have fun even in the dullest of moments.

19. If you're speaking about something professional, call don't text.

You do realize we still have a call feature on the iPhone, right? Use it.

20. Decorate the Christmas tree with your family amidst your teen angst.

 christmas

It really seems like a horrible excursion to pile into a mini-van, cut down a tree in the freezing cold, and then hang shiny balls while developing a rash on your hand from the prickles... But down the road, you'll regret not doing it.

21. The D.A.R.E. program makes it seem like drugs are just freely handed out.

drugs

That sh*t's expensive. And you don't want to do it, anyway (Minus weed it's harmless, just wait until you're old enough!) .

22. Smile and say hi to as many people a day as you can.

You never know if you just made someone feel a little better or accepted.

23. Make sure the E-brake is OFF.

brake

It will sound like you're dragging a dead body attached to your car and will ruin your brakes. Just double check.

24. Use all your resources even when it seems pointless.

Even if you learn absolutely nothing, you gain connections.

25. What's most important in life?

Connections.

26. Know how to swim.

swim

It is a basic skill everyone should know. You don't need to be Phelps. Just doggy paddle if you're really that bad.

27. If you don't have a firm handshake, learn how to, a**hole.

handshake

If you are a lady shaking a man's hand, strive to have a firmer grip than him. You'll either scare the sh*t out of him, gain serious respect, or get complimented on how great your handshake is! That's my favorite compliment if I'm being honest.

28. Step back and think before you explode.

Seriously dude, don't press send. You probably used the words, "like" and "literally" too much in your text, anyway. Wait 10 minutes and see if it's worth it.

Also, it's better in person.

29. Question everything.

question

Never assume you're safe or well-informed. There could be a murderer in that restaurant... Question anything that you aren't sure of. Hell, even question what you are sure of.

30. Don't trust a headline or statistic until you know it's credible.

What if you're looking at a bar graph from 1968, not 2018? You might think this is obvious, but there are clearly plenty of people who share false information. We've probably done it ourselves before. We should all work on that.

31. Park far from the store.

parkng

Walk, you lazy youthful soul. Unless you require a handicap spot or weather conditions are poor.

32. Take the stairs.

"I have no time to workout!" *takes elevator*

33. Don't text people when you want to tell them how you feel.

It only makes you feel good for like 20 seconds and then you'll probably read it back saying, "What was I thinking?"

34. Have something to be proud of.

Otherwise, you'll get lost. Life is confusing.

35. Listen to old school music, the classics, and artists who inspired what we hear today.

music

We cannot let the real instruments die people. Do you know how fun a jam band show is?

36. If you're inspired, act fast.

Don't let inspiration slip away. Sometimes it's easy to forget that great feeling.

37. If you start, finish.

Finish what you start and do the best you can at it. We all have off days, that doesn't mean you suck if you mess something up a few times.

38. When vacationing by airplane, try to fit everything into a carry-on.

beer

You don't want your favorite bikini stowed in the wrong plane when you go on vacation. Plus you spent all of your money on Corona's and can't buy a new one.

39. Change your oil.

Love your car and it will try to love you back.

Good Luck!

Cover Image Credit: Emily Fahey

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I Am Using This Summer To Grow

I will also be able to grow in my own faith as I am helping other children.
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I am spending this summer in Tampa, which is my hometown. It is a lot different this summer because I am not in Fort Myers where all my friends are.

I have noticed that I am feeling more lonely, just because I am not surrounded by the people that I am so used to being around. Through the few years of college, I have started to drift away from friends that I had in high school.

There are only a few people that I still talk to, and keep up with.

I am taking 3 classes this summer and will be teaching faith formation to 7th graders, in June. I am so excited for that experience because it is going to help me grow so much in my faith and as a teacher.

I think about this camp, as an opportunity to grow, and pour into students like I will be doing when I become certified in a few years. I will also be able to grow in my own faith as I am helping other children.

This summer I really want to spend time growing in my faith and relationship with God. During college, it is so easy to read my bible every night and spend time praying. I had so much quiet time when I was there and always was involved with ministries every week.

When I am home it becomes more challenging because I am so busy with life at home. It isn't just me anymore, I am back with my family. I love being home with my family but it is definitely different, after getting used to being on my own at school.

I am taking this summer and using it as a time to grow in my life so that when I get back to college in August, it is easy for me to continue to have a relationship with Christ and be a productive teacher in training.

Cover Image Credit: Taylor Markee

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