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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A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.
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Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

Growing up is scary, but it can also be fun. As we take the last few steps in the hallways of our school, take it all in. Remember, it's okay to be happy; it's okay to be totally excited. But also remember it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be sentimental. It's okay to be scared, too. It's okay to feel all these confusing emotions that we are feeling. The best thing about the bittersweet end to our high school years is that we are finally slowing down our busy lives enough to remember the happy memories.

Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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To Those Who Feel The Need To Tear Down Others, Take A Seat

You have no right to hurt others because you don’t agree with them.

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I recently wrote a super controversial article, which I'm honestly very proud of. In the comment section, there were plenty of people criticizing me because of what I believe in, mainly because they didn't believe in the same thing as I put out there.

I would just like everyone to know that the people that write for this amazing company are just that — people. They are real, they have opinions, and they have feelings. There is nothing different about them than you. Would you like someone commenting hate on your Facebook post or anything like that? No, no you wouldn't. When you comment rude things on something that someone worked long and hard on, you are just being rude and inconsiderate of their feelings.

If you just go to the comments to leave a rude comment, you can write it down on a piece of paper and throw it away. You're being a bully. These writers more than likely will go to the comment section, just like I did, and will be hurt by your arrogant, inappropriate comments.

Ever heard of if you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything at all.

If you don't agree with me that's fine, but that doesn't give you the right to deliberately go and try and tear me or anyone else down. You're just being rude and you have no reason to be, all I did was write an article on something I believe in.

Also, don't let anyone rude enough to do this tear you down or diminish your self-worth. There are people out there who are still kind and caring, don't listen to the negativity this world brings. Just keep doing what makes you happy, because in the end, that's all that really matters.

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