5 Things that I've Learned in my First Few Months of College

5 Things that I've Learned in my First Few Months of College

Tips and tricks for thriving as a first-semester freshman in college...
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It's officially been three months since I've arrived on campus. In these three months, I have been through so many ups and downs that I consider all part of my college learning experience this first semester. As a freshman, there are five important things that I have learned and want to share with any other college freshman and/or high school seniors who are about to go through a similar journey in just under nine months.

1. It is perfectly OK to be struggling with classes at first.

In high school, I was so used to always challenging myself, working hard, and getting good results out of hard work. It took some time for me to realize that college will not always be that straightforward. This first semester, I made some big mistakes in regard to taking classes that were just a little too overwhelming as a first-semester freshman in college. It took awhile for me to accept the fact that it is what you do after you fail that first exam that really matters, not the fact that you failed an exam. I am grateful that my advisers, parents, friends, and professors were there for me during this transitioning period to talk to me about what the best choice was for me.

Remember that the best choice for you might be different than the best choice for your friend or classmate. College is all about finding the right path for you, and sometimes that means taking risks to truly find out what your strengths and weaknesses are.

2. Reach out to others if you need help or are struggling with anything.

College has a myriad of resources available to help students in many ways. I know that I was hesitant at first to approach these resources, but now that I have used many of them, I wish that I had gone to them sooner. At Emory University, for example, there is the wonderful Pre-Health Mentoring Office and Academic Advising for registration and class concerns. There is also a free tutoring service for specific classes (EPASS) and Writing Centers to help with papers. Most professors are willing to always help individual concerns during office hours as well! Know that you are not alone and that it is perfectly ok and encouraged to seek advice from others!

3. “Throw kindness like it’s confetti.”

In college, we are often so overwhelmed with classes, extracurriculars, and work that we forget the little things. If there is one thing that I live by, it’s to just keep doing nice things for other people, even if it’s as simple as bringing soup to a sick friend or giving a much-needed hug to a friend after a hard midterm. As Dr. Steven Post said, “Giving is as good for the giver as it is for the receiver. Science says it’s so. We’ll be happier, healthier, and even—odds are—live a little longer if we’re generous.”

4. Find what you are most passionate about and get involved around campus!

Having something to look forward to between or after classes is an amazing feeling to have. Find something you are passionate about and take the risk to just go for it, whether it be applying to be a volunteer, joining the club soccer team, or trying out for the lead of a play. There is nothing to lose. I found that it was best when I took the chance and tried out for many different clubs that I was interested in because you are bound to get at least a few acceptances!

Don’t take the rejections with a heavy heart either! It does not mean that you are not qualified for a certain position; it may simply depend on the circumstances at the time! I know joining an a cappella group has been one of the highlights of my college experience so far because even with the long rehearsals, the time flies by when I am singing with my girls!

5. Keep in touch with your family and best friends from home.

Even though your college may feel like second home to you now (Atlanta definitely does for me!), you will have times whether it be every few days, every week, or even every month, that you need advice, a pick-me-up, or just the need to talk everything out. I know for a fact that talking to my family and two best friends has helped me deal with the first few months of college.

Whether it be a simple phone call to say good night or a three-hour face-time to rant about what has been going on in you and your friend’s lives for the past week, keeping in touch with family and friends from back home is a great way to end a day. I’m so excited to be going back home for a few days during Thanksgiving, and getting periodic advice from them has surely helped me gain more confidence as I dealt with such a new experience as the first semester of college.

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I Weigh Over 200 Lbs And You Can Catch Me In A Bikini This Summer

There is no magic number that determines who can wear a bikini and who cannot.
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It is about February every year when I realize that bikini season is approaching. I know a lot of people who feel this way, too. In pursuit of the perfect "summer body," more meals are prepped and more time is spent in the gym. Obviously, making healthier choices is a good thing! But here is a reminder that you do not have to have a flat stomach and abs to rock a bikini.

Since my first semester of college, I've weighed over 200 pounds. Sometimes way more, sometimes only a few pounds more, but I have not seen a weight starting with the number "1" since the beginning of my freshman year of college.

My weight has fluctuated, my health has fluctuated, and unfortunately, my confidence has fluctuated. But no matter what, I haven't allowed myself to give up wearing the things I want to wear to please the eyes of society. And you shouldn't, either.

I weigh over 200lbs in both of these photos. To me, (and probably to you), one photo looks better than the other one. But what remains the same is, regardless, I still chose to wear the bathing suit that made me feel beautiful, and I'm still smiling in both photos. Nobody has the right to tell you what you can and can't wear because of the way you look.

There is no magic number that equates to health. In the second photo (and the cover photo), I still weigh over 200 lbs. But I hit the gym daily, ate all around healthier and noticed differences not only on the scale but in my mood, my heart health, my skin and so many other areas. You are not unhealthy because you weigh over 200 lbs and you are not healthy because you weigh 125. And, you are not confined to certain clothing items because of it, either.

This summer, after gaining quite a bit of weight back during the second semester of my senior year, I look somewhere between those two photos. I am disappointed in myself, but ultimately still love my body and I'm proud of the motivation I have to get to where I want to be while having the confidence to still love myself where I am.

And if you think just because I look a little chubby that I won't be rocking a bikini this summer, you're out of your mind.

If YOU feel confident, and if YOU feel beautiful, don't mind what anybody else says. Rock that bikini and feel amazing doing it.

Cover Image Credit: Sara Petty

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Internet outraged at Delhi Aunty for Sl*t Shaming

Public outrage - justified or an overreaction?

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When the topic of sexual violence against women arises, women are often held responsible - because of how they dress, or how they behave, or even if they have a voice. A recent incident in Delhi showed that the mindset of people has not changed. In a video posted by Shivani Gupta, a middle-aged woman is seen defending her claim, "Women wearing short dresses deserve to be raped."

This backward mentality surrounding rape and rape culture is horrifying to see. The middle-aged woman first shamed them for wearing short clothes and when she was confronted, she told them "they deserved to get raped." She made things worse when she told other men in the restaurant to rape such women who wear short clothes.

Shivani and her friends later confronted this woman while taking the video. They wanted a public apology for her statement and followed her around. The older woman stood by her statement. Fair enough. They felt threatened by her statements and wanted an apology for her actions. The older lady, however, was brazen about her ideologies and refused to apologize. In fact, she threatened to call the cops for harassment.

The woman who made the regressive statements. Shivani Gupta

While the anger and outrage by the women who uploaded this video are justified, several questions are being raised on whether the older woman was later harassed for her statements. Public shaming is not the way to solve this issue.

"We cannot dismantle a culture of shaming by participating in it." - Rega Jha.

Now, I believe that nobody must engage in victim shaming. Nobody has the right to police the outfit one wishes to wear. It is astonishing to believe that even in the 21st century, people still believe that an outfit determines the morality and character of a person. That older woman was wrong to sl*t-shame the girls for wearing what they want. That being said, even though what that woman did was horrible, public shaming will not work. It will not change the mindset behind these ideologies. What that older woman did was akin to bullying. Publicly shaming her, stalking her facebook account or posting comments or by coercing her, you are also behaving in the same manner of bullying.

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