Finally, the first semester of college has ended. You're studying or have taken your finals, your home friends are discussing where to get dinner when you all get back, and your suitcase is all packed up. When getting on the plane to come home, I couldn't help but look through my camera roll at the past few months. Starting with my empty room, I scrolled past my first frat party, my welcome week friends, my first tailgate, my last tailgate, and everything in between. I started thinking about the many things I learned since September and narrowed it down to __ points.
1. Do your work between classes
I think I can speak for everyone when I say college work is not easy. In my opinion, I took a pretty easy course load this semester, and I was still constantly doing work. Although it's easy to get overwhelmed by the workload, I found it really nice to have more time to do it all. In high school, everything was so structured. I barely had any time to do work between classes so I had to do it all the night before it was due.
Sometimes I wouldn't get home 'til 7 or 8 and I would be up until 3 a.m. making flashcards or editing papers. Now don't get me wrong, I still sometimes am awake in the middle of the night doing work in college- but it's different. I actually have the ability to get things done in between or after my classes.
The capacity for you to create your own schedule: choose when you want to eat, when you want to sleep, and when you want to do your work was a game changer for me and definitely helped me find a balance between staying in and going out.
2. Finding your best friends takes time
One thing that shocked me, along with all my friends from home, is how hard it is to create meaningful friendships. It's strange to think about how most of us haven't actively tried to make friends since elementary school. I went to college with my best friend, but despite her being there I still struggled to make best friends.
There were so many people that I liked and am still great friends with today; but, I still found myself missing my home friends like crazy. I learned that I had to hang in there and keep putting in effort. You can't make friends if you don't put yourself out there and try to meet new people.
And although it may take some time, I learned that it will happen eventually, and once it does, you will find the best friends you never thought you would have.
3. Actually talk to your classmates
The most terrified I have ever been was walking into my first lecture. In high school, I knew everybody that was in my classes, but at college, I knew absolutely nobody — and I'm so thankful I didn't. Since I went into my classes blind, I forced myself to befriend people sitting around me, and it was the best thing I could have done. Not only did doing this give me people to study with, but also led me to meet my best friends.
There is someone I met in every class that I love and will keep in touch with despite the semester being over. Going to a big school has that perk: no matter how many friends you have, there are always more people to meet. Knowing how close I got with my first semester "school friends" makes me so excited to meet my second-semester ones.
4. It's OK to be homesick
When I left for school I was so beyond ready to leave home. Although I love my family, I felt suffocated and couldn't wait for newfound independence. And yes, in college I am able to do my own thing without worrying about my curfew.
However, I missed my family so much more than I thought I would, but I learned that that's okay. Everyone misses their families sometimes and it's completely normal to not be completely adjusted within the first few months.
5. The freshman 15 is real
Yup. Can't even deny this one. When going into college, I heard rumors about the freshman 15, but I always thought it was an urban legend. I have a fast metabolism, 3 slices of pizza at 2 a.m. won't affect me! Nope, I was wrong. It's definitely easy to gain a few pounds just by stress alone. Drinking, drunk-eating, and snacking definitely doesn't help. And although I attempted to make it to the gym, I always found myself making excuses not to. The first semester definitely taught me that I have to be responsible and watch what I eat (a little bit more..).
6. Rally, because college is so. much. fun.
I think I speak for everyone when I say my first semester of college was the best time of my life. Despite just the parties and tailgates, being independent is exciting- embrace it. In high school, I constantly had the stress of applying to college over my head. I put 110% of my energy into getting into a good university that I can be proud of. And now that I did that, it's time to just sit back and enjoy. Enjoy the (mostly) interesting classes I'm taking, enjoy the new friends I'm making, and enjoy all of the late nights I'm having. The first semester taught me not to sit in my room every night because no matter what the night is guaranteed to be fun.