5 Things I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me Before My First Year Of College

5 Things I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me Before My First Year Of College

I was told a lot of things but these are the things that I wish I was told.

It is about that time of the summer that students across the world are getting ready to go back to school. They are buying school supplies, new clothes and getting ready for the upcoming year. Last year, I had more of a different experience because I was preparing for my first year of college. I was constantly hearing things like, "It's going to be the best experience of your life", "It's going to go so fast", "You are going to be so busy!" I was excited and extremely anxious at the same time. I was told a lot of things but these are the things that I wish someone WOULD have told me.

1. It's okay to go home.

I was fortunate enough to live 25 minutes away from my campus and I also had a car. I was always told that it's bad to go home before Thanksgiving because then I would never get used to be at school. I'm not going to lie, I got home sick almost immediately. I did not get lucky enough to stay on campus until November because my grandpa was sick so I was home almost every weekend. AND THAT IS OKAY. Guess what? I still got used to being on campus and I love my campus but I also love my bed and my parents too!

2. Roommates can make great friends.

Whenever I talked about my roommate, everyone said "don't forget that just because you live with someone doesn't mean you have to be their best friend". I was SO lucky that I had a roommate that made a wonderful friend. You spend 10 months living with this person and I guarantee that it's going to be a lot easier and a lot more fun if you are friends with that person. Don't listen to people when they tell you horror stories about their roommates. With communication and support, your roommate can be one of your best friends.

3. Don't worry so much about school.

YES, the number one reason that you are at college is to get an education. I was the kind of person in high school that needed a 4.0 GPA and wanted nothing but straight A's. I went into college with the same mentality and soon realized that I was one 2 a.m. night away from going crazy. College is hard. That is not something I am going to lie about but you need to let yourself have some time away from the textbooks as well. So it's 2 a.m. and you are still up sharing stories of your childhood with your friends? It's going to be okay. The last four hours of cramming for your exam the next day aren't going to be that helpful anyway. Half of the college experience is learning about others and broadening your knowledge. You need to balance academics and enjoying the rest of things college has to offer. You'll be more sane that way.

4. Take risks.

I was never a risk taker. I got to college and I was very skeptical about taking risks and jumping onboard for new journeys. I'm SO glad that I decided to take a few risks. Your first year of college will provide you with many opportunities that will take you out of your comfort zone. Once I stepped out of my comfort zone, I started to realize how amazing the path that I was on was. It's so important to take these opportunities because most of them are once in a life time.

5. It's okay to cry.

I have always been a crier but I had the expectation that no one else in college was going to be as much of a "mess" as I. I was wrong in so many ways. College is a time of intense emotions. I cried tears of joy, sadness, loneliness, stress and grief. This place is your new home and these people are slowly going to feel like family. It's okay to show your true emotions.

Cover Image Credit: Odyssey Online

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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.

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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Me Vs. Food: My Secret Battle With Eating Disorders

Shedding light on a silenced issue

Eating disorders around this country are spiraling out of control, but not all disorders are able to be seen. Sure, you may be able to tell that someone is underweight or someone is eating too much, but by looking at my own picture, would you be able to tell that I switch between restriction of food and purging? I don’t think so.

Since February of this year, 2018, I have had a silent battle with food. In the beginning, I would restrict myself from eating at all and would limit myself to no more than 500 calories per day. That battle persisted until everyone started noticing I wasn’t eating and was losing weight, so that’s when my battle with a different kind of disorder began.

I started eating more so that everyone around me would stop asking me questions and forcing me to eat when I clearly didn’t deserve that. Therefore, I began eating and engaging in purging activities to eliminate that food from my body. I still maintained my weight, but I stopped losing weight like I had been before, and that was my only goal.

No one ever knew about this secret battle of mine. I consistently told others that I just wasn’t feeling well, it was a side effect of a medication, or I’d just completely lie and tell them that I had eaten that day. The reality is that there is a reason why I began this battle with these difficult eating disorders.

At first, I struggled with eating because I believed I didn’t deserve food. I believed that the pains of hunger from not eating for days was what I had deserved for being who I am. I can’t lie and say that this still isn’t a partial reason why I still struggle with this today, but that reason has gone behind another very strong, loud one.

In the middle of April, as I started leaving the past behind me, I met a guy that I thought was going to make my life so much better. This was the truth until I started finding myself becoming an entirely different person because of him. The only real reason I even started seeing him was because I believed that that’s what I needed to keep other things off of my mind; a man.

The reality is that after only a couple of weeks, I started receiving messages from him telling me that I should only ever find myself in public if I looked “good” and that whenever I had time off work I should find myself only with or talking to him. Nothing else. He’s told me directly something that I will never be able to take off of my mind for as long as I live. He said to me:

“Look, I don’t feel like claiming you. Maybe if you just lost more weight, wore different clothes, or changed your body more, you’d be more attractive to me and then I’d claim you. But right now, you’re not good enough.”

When I got this message, it was a sure sign to me that I clearly needed to do something about my body. This is when I started engaging in purging behaviors, though I kept eating to ensure no one would ask me questions. In addition to this, I tried buying and wearing different clothes, engaging in other behaviors and even started acting very out of my normal.

My point in sharing this information that no one knows at this point, is that I know what it’s like to have to hide feelings and emotional abuse because of a fear of questions or judgements from others. More importantly, I understand what it’s like to have to hide entire disorders because of a fear that others will always have something to say about it. My belief now, though, is that even though this is a battle I still deal with daily, others can say all they want.

My reality now is that I still do speak to this guy and I still do struggle with these harmful eating habits. But what I can’t do anymore is try and pretend like it’s not real because of a fear. My hope is that someone reading this knows that there are other people out in the world with these issues, fighting the same battles.

During this battle, my self-worth is determined entirely by your acceptance of me.

Cover Image Credit: Brianna Gavin

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