5 (Non-Cliche) Things That Have Changed During my First Semester of College

5 (Non-Cliche) Things That Have Changed During my First Semester of College

Change is good. Change is good. Change is good.
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I'm on the home stretch, headed toward finals week of my freshman year of college. I know you see these articles all the time: 10 things I learned about college my freshman year, 15 things I want to tell future college freshman, 10 things I was wrong about as a freshman in college. You get the gist? Things change.

Honestly, I thought I hated change. But when I rolled up Lookout Mountain on August eighteenth, I was giddy, to say the least. I hopped out of the driver's seat, told the move-in-day staff where I was supposed to live for the next two semesters, and they quickly unloaded both of our cars (yes, both. I'm a packrat who doesn't like to feel unprepared). I walked into my room, and about five or six hours later, it was transformed (almost completely) into the dorm I'd dreamed of all summer long.

So far, so good.

I made new friends. My roommate and I grew closer than I've ever been to any friend in my life. I'm thriving. Here are a few things that have changed since I arrived at college, and I'll try not to make it too cliche:

1. I became an extrovert.

My residence hall is the only building on campus with lobbies that are used for more than just an area to walk through, and my hall is on the ground floor, so foot traffic is inevitable, but in this case people sit and stay for a while. I have met more friends in my own dorm building in the past three months than I think I've met in the past year. And these people are true friends, not just those friends to whom you say "hi" in passing. These are people who have my back. When bad things happen, they ask me if I'm ok. When I seem stressed, they talk me through it and tell me it's going to be ok. They're becoming my people.

Now, I have to be around people. When I'm down, I recharge with my friends. I rarely have those introvert moments when I have to retreat to a place where I can be alone. I intentionally approach people and make conversation with them, even if I barely know them.

2. I don't want to be a chemistry major.

I spent a lot of the summer deliberating over which major to choose. Shifting between education, English, Chemistry, and Biblical and Theological studies, I chose Chemistry with a minor in education because it was "safe." I knew I could always change, and it would be a whole lot easier to switch out of a chemistry major than into it.

After my first two weeks in General Chemstry I, I realized I wanted to change. I was not cut out to be a chemistry major, I was not made to mix chemicals, and I was not made to solve equations my whole life--much less teach kids how to do all these things.

However, I did realize something else: if I was not a chemistry major, then I wouldn't be me. I met one of my best friends on my orientation team (made up of chemistry, math, physics, and pre-engineering majors) on the day after move-in day. I learned that anxiety is something you just have to attack head-on when I had a very low-key panic attack before a lab. I learned how to talk to professors about hard things like anxiety (hint: at a small college, it is so refreshing to meet with professors and just be honest with them!), and I learned just how amazing the faculty is at my college. I saw Jesus in my decision to be a chemistry major for my first semester of college.

3. I do want to be an English major.

I never saw it coming. My English teacher in high school was probably my favorite teacher, and she always complimented me on my writing, giving my high scores on most essays. I scored highly on the English section of the ACT. I've always wanted to consistently have a blog (I do now!!). I write for this website, for crying out loud. English is in my blood, it seems. But I never saw English as a viable option for a career. It wasn't until one of my friends talked to me about it that I realized I should be doing what I want (within reason) and what I feel like the Lord is calling me to do, whether or not it opens up high-paying job options.

4. I am vocal.

Now, I take opportunities to meet people. I get out there. I apply for jobs. I go to interviews. I meet with professors. I have deep conversations with people. I don't hesitate as often as I used to. I wore a unicorn onesie and a green clay face mask in public at the end of our first RUF meeting on the day before the first day of classes, and I got other people to put on the mask--people I had only met a week earlier. I talk to people about hard things like race relations.

5. My relationship with the Lord is deeper.

College is a time when people either grow a lot or regress a lot in their relationship with God. I believe that being at a Christian college has helped my growth, but I also believe that the Lord has used my newfound independence to show me that I must trust in Him. There's no way around it. In any situation--boys, grades, tests, my job, my friends--I have to trust in Him, or else I'll fail and be miserable. I've learned to trust the Lord to bring me "that perfect guy" when He sees fit, and I've learned to be content (most of the time) in not settling for someone who isn't right for me just because I want a boyfriend (it's cuffing season, am I right?). I've learned that the Lord is revealing to me who I really am, and He's accomplishing His righteous work in me as we speak. I'm learning to be content in where He has me, and it is beautiful.

This is not the "me" that left my little hometown three months ago, and I'm so happy about it. College has done me so well, and I am so thankful to the Lord above for every opportunity He has given me, for the relationship that has so beautifully formed between my roommate and me, and for change. I never thought I'd say it, but I am so thankful for this drastic change that I could never have imagined.

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The Truth About Young Marriage

Different doesn't mean wrong.
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When I was a kid, I had an exact picture in my mind of what my life was going to look like. I was definitely not the kind of girl who would get married young, before the age of 25, at least.

And let me tell you, I was just as judgmental as that sentence sounds.

I could not wrap my head around people making life-long commitments before they even had an established life. It’s not my fault that I thought this way, because the majority opinion about young marriage in today’s society is not a supportive one. Over the years, it has become the norm to put off marriage until you have an education and an established career. Basically, this means you put off marriage until you learn how to be an adult, instead of using marriage as a foundation to launch into adulthood.

When young couples get married, people will assume that you are having a baby, and they will say that you’re throwing your life away — it’s inevitable.

It’s safe to say that my perspective changed once I signed my marriage certificate at the age of 18. Although marriage is not always easy and getting married at such a young age definitely sets you up for some extra challenges, there is something to be said about entering into marriage and adulthood at the same time.

SEE ALSO: Finding A Husband In College

Getting married young does not mean giving up your dreams. It means having someone dream your dreams with you. When you get lost along the way, and your dreams and goals seem out of reach, it’s having someone there to point you in the right direction and show you the way back. Despite what people are going to tell you, it definitely doesn’t mean that you are going to miss out on all the experiences life has to offer. It simply means that you get to share all of these great adventures with the person you love most in the world.

And trust me, there is nothing better than that. It doesn’t mean that you are already grown up, it means that you have someone to grow with.

You have someone to stick with you through anything from college classes and changing bodies to negative bank account balances.

You have someone to sit on your used furniture with and talk about what you want to do and who you want to be someday.

Then, when someday comes, you get to look back on all of that and realize what a blessing it is to watch someone grow. Even after just one year of marriage, I look back and I am incredibly proud of my husband. I’m proud of the person he has become, and I’m proud of what we have accomplished together. I can’t wait to see what the rest of our lives have in store for us.

“You can drive at 16, go to war at 18, drink at 21, and retire at 65. So who can say what age you have to be to find your one true love?" — One Tree Hill
Cover Image Credit: Sara Donnelli Photography

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To The High School Senior Wishing She Could Fast-Forward To Graduation, Careful What You Wish For

Don't wish this time away.

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As the last stretch of my freshman year of college stands before me, I've been thinking a lot about where I was a year ago today. I've thought about how fast the time has gone, but also how much has happened in that year.

A year ago, I decided what college I was going to and was getting ready to graduate, and honestly counting down the days until graduation. Senior year was almost over, and I couldn't wait to walk across that stage, get my diploma, and FINALLY get to start my real life. However, now that it's a year later I honestly barely remember all those little moments and it feels like literally a world ago when I was in my high school and making my Senior Board full of pictures of my childhood. And part of me wishes that I hadn't wished all that time away.

So, to my high school seniors out there — I encourage you to cherish all the memories you are making. I encourage you to spend time with your parents and savor the meals you have with them and enjoy the conversations where your mom asks all the mom questions about your day, and your dad tells a story from his childhood that you've heard a million times before. I encourage you to appreciate the friends you have, and whether or not you plan to stay friends with them after graduation, be grateful for the time with them in this season and the role that they played in your life.

I ask you to look around your high school, stop and stare at the walls that you've probably been praying to get out of for a few months now and appreciate the memories and times you've had in those buildings. Whether or not high school was a great time for you or a bad time, it was a time of growth and the place where you matured and made mistakes and succeeded.

Seniors, enjoy these last few months because before you know it you'll blink and it will be a year later and you'll be miss those days that you complained about, those teachers you rolled your eyes at, and those friends that you shared that time with.

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