The end of the semester is so close I can almost taste it.
Somehow nearly 10 months have gone by since I packed up all of my belongings, said goodbye to my family, and moved into a teeny tiny shoe box that the University somehow manages to charge an arm and a leg for. In some ways, it feels like just yesterday. In other ways, it feels like an eternity ago. I'm not the same person I was 10 months ago.
I've learned hundreds of lessons in my first year away from home, but since I have 5 research papers lingering on my to-do-list, I'm going to keep this short and sweet.
1. You're going to miss home. A lot...
And that's okay. It doesn't make you weird to feel homesick. Deep down, nearly everyone misses home at some point during their first year at college. If they tell you otherwise, they're probably lying. So go home for the weekend when you get the chance. Face Time your family. And ask your mom to send you a picture of your dog. every. single. day.
2. It's okay to ask for help
College is hard. Everyone gives you advice and your high school teachers try to prepare you, but there's no one and nothing that can you prepare you for what college is really like. Some professors have no mercy. You will stay up all night studying for an exam that you'll be lucky to get a B- on. Your emotional and mental health will take a hit. College IS hard. That's why it's completely okay to ask for help. Go to tutoring. Go to the counseling services on campus. Meet with a professor during their office hours... Swallow your pride and use your resources.
3. Some days will really get you down
It's okay to have a bad day. You're going to get a bad exam grade at some point. You're going to be disappointed in yourself over something that won't matter in 3 weeks. Your hairdryer is going to go out on a morning that you woke up late and you're going to have to go to class with wet hair (not that this happened to me this week). Your friend will say something that makes you mad. You professor will criticize something you worked really hard on... There will be bad days. And they will make you really thankful for the good ones.
4. Don't judge a book by its cover, behind a person with colored hair, often lies someone with a golden heart
THIS IS SO IMPORTANT. You will see people in college who look very different from anyone you have ever seen. But just because they look and/or dress different, doesn't mean they aren't a good person. Get to know someone before you slap weirdo across their forehead.
5. When in doubt, call your mom.
She may not be near by, but the sound of her voice will make everything in your world feel just a little bit better. She will give you the best advice. She will agree with most everything you say (note the word most). She will let you cry and scream and pout. She's the best. And you will find yourself calling her more days than not to get everything off your chest.
6. Never let anyone trick you into believing that your major is stupid.
Find what you love to do... And go after it. Your major isn't meant to impress anyone but yourself. You are the one standing in your shoes, do what you want. At the end of the day, the opinions of others doesn't count for a whole lot. Life is so much more than people pleasing.
7. Challenge what you believe. But don't let others convince you into believing something without searching your heart and doing your research
There's going to be a lot of opportunities for you to challenge your beliefs, morals, mindsets, and viewpoints. College is a time for change. But for the love... Don't believe everything every professor or friend tells you. Do your research. Think about why you believe what you do. Never believe something because it's what you were told. Challenge yourself, but don't forget what beliefs got you to where you are today.
8. Eat the ice cream
You're going to regret a lot of things in your first year of college. But one thing is for sure, you will never regret eating the ice cream. Trust me on this one, just eat it.
9. Time goes way. too. fast.
The days are long but the years are. so. so. so. short. There might be a lot of stressful moments... But there's a lot of really good ones too. Focus on the good and don't rush it by any faster than it will already go. I'm a year from graduation and I already know that I'm gonna miss these mundane days.
For anyone reading this who is months away from moving away from home for the first time, into a teeny tiny college dorm, take note of the lessons learned by a college student who was just as clueless and naive as you are right now... You are about to enter a journey of a lot of ups and downs. But believe me when I tell you this, there are a lot more ups than downs if you stay open minded, surround yourself with people who care about you, go home when you can (trust me, it's good for you), and EAT THE ICE CREAM.