6 Things I've Learned In My First Semester of College

6 Things I've Learned In My First Semester of College

College really is all it's hyped up to be...

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.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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To The Teacher Who Was So Much More

Thank you for everything

I think it's fair to say that most people remember at least one teacher who had a lasting impact on them. I have been incredibly lucky to have several teachers who I will never forget, but one individual takes the cake. So here's to you: thank you for all you have done.

Thank you for teaching me lessons not just in the textbook.

Although you taught a great lecture, class was never just limited to the contents of the course. Debates and somewhat heated conversations would arise between classmates over politics and course material, and you always encouraged open discussion. You embraced the idea of always having an opinion, and always making it be heard, because why waste your voice? You taught me to fight for things I believed in, and to hold my ground in an argument. You taught me to always think of others before doing and speaking. You showed me the power of kindness. Thank you for all the important lessons that may not have been included in the curriculum.

Thank you for believing in me.

Especially in my senior year, you believed in me when other teachers didn't. You showed me just what I could accomplish with a positive and strong attitude. Your unwavering support kept me going, especially when I melted into a puddle of tears weekly in your office. You listened to my stupid complaints, understood my overwhelming stress-induced breakdowns, and told me it was going to be okay. Thank you for always being there for me.

Thank you for inspiring me.

You are the epitome of a role model. Not only are you intelligent and respected, but you have a heart of gold and emit beautiful light where ever you go. You showed me that service to others should not be looked at as a chore, but something to enjoy and find yourself in. And I have found myself in giving back to people, thanks to your spark. Thank you for showing me, and so many students, just how incredible one person can be.

Thank you for changing my life.

Without you, I truly would not be where I am today. As cliche as it sounds, you had such a remarkable impact on me and my outlook on life. Just about a year has passed since my graduation, and I'm grateful to still keep in touch. I hope you understand the impact you have made on me, and on so many other students. You are amazing, and I thank you for all you have done.

Cover Image Credit: Amy Aroune

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11 Dorm Essentials You'll Also NEED For Your Apartment Checklist

10. Whiteboard


The time has come for many college students to make their grand transition to a first apartment/house. However, thanks to a very tight budget, getting all those cool and new Pinterest-worthy decor is probably nearly impossible without breaking the bank. Who has the money for that when college loans are looming over every student's head? Here are 11 things you can totally take with you from your old dorm that will cross out some items on your apartment checklist:

1. Tapestry


If you had a tapestry anywhere in your dorm, take it with you! Hang it above a bed, couch, or use it as a rug! Cut it up, braid it, Pinterest it, and you're good to go.

2. Broom


Brooms aren't too expensive but why not save money where you can? Get some cute printed tape at a craft store and wrap it around the handle to make something that makes cleaning a little more fun.

3. Rubbermaid Containers


What once held school supplies can now hold wrapping paper, extra clothes, cleaning supplies... The options are endless.

4. Wall Art


If you have some you like, why not continue their legacy in your new space? Keep the color scheme going so you don't have to buy completely new stuff.

5. Shower Curtains


Your shower is bound to be bigger than the one you had in your dorm (thank God). To make your new bathroom look a little fancier, get a second shower curtain of the same pattern and have them open in the middle.

6. Shelves


Instead of using these for printers, books, etc, you can now put them up in your closet or bathroom and use them for shoes, towels, or whatever else.

7. Plants/Succulents


Instead of getting rid of them, keep your green thumb, get some new pots, and use them as coffee table/end table decor! Not only are they cute, but bring in a little color and overall make things a little brighter.

8. Books and Bookends


If you can't return or sell some of your old school books, consider keeping them and putting them in a bookshelf. They will make it look fuller, not to mention make you look more cultured. Then, keep your eyes peeled for some adorable bookends - cultured AND cute.

9. School Spirit Shirts


If you never plan on wearing your college spirit shirts ever again but DON'T want to get rid of them (sentimental value - I get it), send them into Project Repat that turns them into a quilt. Now you'll have something to remember your old college days without them taking up a ton of space with clutter.

10. Whiteboard


Don't ditch your whiteboard just yet! Instead of deadlines and assignments, use it to write down a shopping list, important phone numbers, or a new and inspiring quote every week.

11. Command Hooks


The sacred item that every college student NEEDS to have. There are awesome ways to reuse your command hooks: holding keys, dishtowels, jewelry, and so much more! You can even paint them to make them pop.

As you can see, there are so many amazing ways to transform your college dorm essentials into adorable must-haves that will transfer over to your next big move. Consider your apartment checklist completed!

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