Going into my freshman year, I wasn't 100% sure of what my college experience would look like, especially since most people in my family haven't had traditional college experience. I was excited to embark on new adventures, yet scared of major life changes that could come my way. And while these changes seemed horrifying at the time, the changes that have been made in my life over the past nine months have made me more excited for the future than I ever was before.
The following are the five major changes that I have experienced (and you may also experience) over the course of freshman year.
1. Interactions with family.
While some students tend to distance themselves from their families during their transition into college, others finally find common ground with their family that could have never been discovered while living together. For me, being away at college has made my immediate family and I much closer. My mom and I talk more often, my dad and I have more to talk about, and my brother and I argue less.
Whichever side of the I-love-my-family-spectrum you end up leaning towards during freshman year, remember that both are valid and no one should shame you for your daily or bi-monthly phone calls with your mom.
2. Relationships with high school BFFs.
Sorry to spoil it for you, but you and your high school BFFs probably won't be getting together every two weeks. Unless you and your BFF are going to the same college in the fall, it tends to be really difficult to see them even once a semester. But trust me, this isn't the end of your friendship if you don't want it to be! My friends and I came up with the "First Monday Law" which states that the first Monday of every month is delegated for Skyping and Chinese takeout.
With today's technology, it's nearly impossible to lose touch with people who live far away. Don't feel like that means you have to stay in touch though! It's natural to lose connections with people over the course of time. So, don't force friendships that have naturally fizzled out.
3. How to spend free time.
Before heading into college, nearly all of my free time was spent watching Netflix. Friends, Parks and Rec, The Office, Disney Movies; the whole ordeal. Since my first day on campus, I honestly haven't watched much of my typical go-to shows. I've found a love for college sports - despite never watching a sport in my life - and go to as many volleyball, soccer, football, and basketball games as possible.
And while that seems like a drastic change, the most incredible change I've experienced has been my involvement with student initiatives. Becoming a member of the governing body in a Living and Learning Village has allowed me to engage peers in events, meet new people, and make tough decisions about the future of our community. Meanwhile, in high school, I was never involved in any kind of student government, nor did I want anything to do with it. Now, it's one of my most treasured weekly activities.
4. Core beliefs and values.
One of the most important aspects of college is engaging in conversation with people who are not of your likemind. This was the hardest thing for me to do as an incoming freshman and I still struggle with it today as I head into sophomore year. But sometimes doing it is necessary to gain an understanding of a topic before formulating a final opinion. Even if you're incredibly passionate about your side of the argument, hearing others' reasoning could often alter your perception on any topic - no matter how passionate you are.
Yes, most people will tell you going into college that it's okay for your major to change. But I'm here to tell you that it truly is. I chose my college because it was one of the only schools to have a genetics major - the major I had been passionate about since the seventh grade when I completed my first Punnet square. But despite my love for genetics, I've discovered it's not the only aspect of biology I enjoy learning. I love development, cellular mechanisms, and even biochemistry. Therefore, I've changed my major to Cellular Biology and I couldn't be happier. No matter how drastic your major change, it's completely normal to feel as though your intended field of study may not be what you want to spend your life doing.