45 Things I Learned In My First Semester Of College
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45 Things I Learned In My First Semester Of College

Givin' you the 4-1-1 on all the things you need to know or probably learned yourself in your first semester of college.

45 Things I Learned In My First Semester Of College
Shelby Brooks

College is the most difficult, stressful, beautiful, amazing, terrifying experience. I just completed my first semester, and I am about to walk into my second. Over this month long break, I have had time to think about all of the things that I went through and learned over the course of my first semester at the University of Texas.

1. You have to manage stress as it comes.

There's no way to prepare for it, and when it hits you, it hits you like a truck.

2. All nighters are not a good idea. Sleep is important.

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I can just hear some of my student colleagues screaming at me right now to take that statement back.

3. Coffee is a college student's best friend for when all nighters are necessary.

Actually, coffee is a college student's best friend no matter when or where now that I think about it.

4. It is necessary to get off campus once in a while.

5. College is like a bubble that gets claustrophobic after about a month (refer back to number 4).

6. Meet as many people as possible.

Even if you know you will never see them again.

7. With that being said, not everyone is going to be your close friend, and that's okay.

8. Close friends don't come naturally, and it takes a long time for close bonds to form.

9. It's okay to feel lonely.

Everyone feels that emotion at least a million times over the course of the semester.

10. It's fine for you to need alone time away from people, also.

11. A smile and a "thank you" goes along way.

12. Introducing yourself to your teacher is still important.

Even if your classes consist of 500 people and that teacher never ceases to call you "Lauren" even though your name is "Katrina.

13. Call your parents at least once a month.

Let them know you're alive. It's just courteous, and believe me, your parents would greatly appreciate hearing from you.

14. Don't call your parents every 5 minutes.

YOU ARE AN INDEPENDENT YOUNG WOMAN. College means separation, and that is HEALTHY! If your momma is calling you every 5 minutes, let her know that you need to do this college thing your way and you will call her when you can! With that being said, stay true to your word, and look up at number 14.

15. If the dude in front of you has a cool shirt, tell him. If you're brave, tell him he has a cool face, too.

16. Passing notes on a quiet floor in the library is not "middle school," it's absolutely heroic.

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17. Wake up early to do your work so that you have all night to do whatever you want.

18. Netflix binging is okay every once in a while.

But watching Netflix when there's guilt whispering "you have an 8 page paper due tomorrow" just isn't even enjoyable.

19. Do your 8-page paper before the day it's due.

Yes, I am looking at you procrastinators out there staring at the screen and nervously giggling.

20. Form a study group.

Studying with people is effectively a better way to study because you have accountability partners.

21. That being said, form a study group with focused people.

Let's be honest, we've all had a 'study group' that ended up playing hide and seek in the library. Good memories, but not good test grades.

22. If you're in Greek Life, take a friend that you're comfortable with to those fraternity parties.

Oh my gosh, I can't even stress the importance of this one.

23. If you do not want to drink, then you don't have to.

Plain and simple.

24. If a guy asks you if you want a drink and you say "no," and he says "oh" and moves on...

Do not for a second think you look stupid or did something wrong. Oh my gosh the idiocy that some boys have.

25. If a guy asks for your name and holds a steady conversation...

Please please please do not just assume that he's another one of the "frat guys" you're told to worry about. I have seen plenty of frat boys that were awful people, and plenty of others that I completely adored. "Frat guy" should not translate to "bad guy."

26. If you tell someone you're in a sorority and they stick their nose up at you...

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Then you just smile sweetly and tell them your honest experience. Sorority life isn't for everyone, but for most girls, it's not a negative experience.

27. If you're a straight-laced girl in a sorority, and you're worried about being judged...

Please tune out the stereotypes people place on you. I'm in my sorority because I love my sisters. Not because I want to "turn up" every chance I get. It's as simple as that. Sororities get a bad rap at times, but your letters don't define you. You define your letters.

28. It is never too late to turn your life around.

Emphasis on "never."

29. It's important to learn, listen, and respect everyone's opinions and beliefs.

As a student at the University of Texas, I love that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. You should respect everyone, including points of view you don't agree with.

30. It's fine to be a conservative at a liberal school, or the other way around.

There isn't a "wrong" or "right" side to be on. If you love and respect people, then people will love and respect you back.

31. If those people don't love and respect you back...

Smile and don't say a word. Don't give those people what they want, which is a reaction.

32. Do something you enjoy every single day.

Even if it's small, like sketching a quote in your journal, or writing a bible verse/quote on the mirror. Take a second to breathe and remember that everything you are doing is in preparation for something bigger.

33. If you don't enjoy your major, switch.

If you know that you're going to hate the rest of your life working as whatever you're in college for, SWITCH MAJORS! Life is too short to be doing something you despise every single day. Don't sink into the thought that you 'have' to do or be anything.

34. Dream BIG.

Y'all. I get giddy thinking about what I want to do after I get out of college, and what I'm going to do in the coming years to prepare for it. I want to change the world, and you better believe I'm going to go through trials to get there.

35. Trust in The Lord, or whatever you believe in, lean in on that.

I am really bad about letting doubt infiltrating my mind, but God proves to me time and time again that I need him. His plan is always better than mine.

36. Working hard does not mean destroying yourself to get the grade.

Do you're best, and if you feel like you've done all that you can, then step back and try again tomorrow.


Eat healthy foods, sleep when you need it, exercise often. I didn't do any of those things last semester, but I'm working on them for this semester.

38. Laugh at yourself.

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There will be days where you wake up and your hair looks like week old noodles, you spill coffee all over your only clean shirt, or you trip and fall in front of a class of 500. Just learn to handle the ungraceful gracefully.

39. A boyfriend/girlfriend comes with time.

Y'all, I didn't have one single relationship the entire first semester. For some reason, I had it in my head that I would meet someone that I would want to spend most of my time with, and I was quite disappointed. I had to remind myself that I am a busy girl, and God's plan obviously did not have Prince Charming marching into my picture.

40. If you have a boyfriend/girlfriend and y'all are doing the long distance thing, talk to them about what you're feeling.

If you're missing them, tell them. If you're having feelings of doubt, tell them. If you're wondering how the heck you are going to make this work for another day that feels like eternity, TELL THEM! It's hard for all parties, the least you can do is make the communication easy.

41. Volunteering is important.

Even if you aren't applying to anything like grad school after your undergrad, then volunteering is important to feel good. Make a difference in your community. Inspire yourself. Get out of your comfort zone.

42. Try new things.

I went to a new restaurant in Austin every Thursday with one of my sorority sisters last semester, and honestly it was something I looked forward to every week. Exploring my city is priceless.

43. Join a group on campus.

Find your homies. Get involved. This isn't even a question. It's important to find your group.

44. College isn't going to be all ups, there will be a lot of downs.

This just comes with moving to a new place, making new friends, and figuring out a new schedule! It's a lot of 'new' in 5 months!

45. Lastly, journal your feelings.

Take some time out to de-stress. Don't bottle things up; talk to people! Your emotional wellbeing is just as important as your physical, spiritual, and mental stability. The first semester of college is hard. Adjust to the change as it comes, and you will be just fine.

All in all, Michelle Tanner says it best.

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Shelby Claire

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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