High school was everything that I wanted it to be, specifically in my senior year. I had a near perfect GPA. I was involved in as many sports and clubs as my schedule would allow. I had forever friends and a great guy at my side. To say that I did not run into any trouble throughout this time would be untrue.
I had worries that any teenager had including the dreaded question: "So, what are you doing after graduation?" With a follow-up, "I plan on going to a university and studying Fashion Merchandising!" Then, followed by, "I am so excited to inch a little closer to adult life!"
While everything that I said was true, it is an "easier said than done" type of situation. I did everything that I was supposed to — found an amazing roommate, bought matching dorm decorations, took the obligatory move-in pictures, and went to all of the welcome week events. I will not try to deceive you because it was not an immediate adjustment I made. I was used to going downstairs and seeing my parents at the kitchen table, my dog in my bed, and the Dairy Queen just around the corner of my neighborhood. Despite all of these changes, they were some of the best learning experiences I have ever had and would not trade them for the world.
I had to learn how to be comfortable with being alone sometimes. Look, I was not the person on my residence hall floor that never left my room, but I was the one who was used to being surrounded by people. I felt so lonely, especially after ending my relationship. When I talked to other college students, they reassured me that it happens to everyone. Usually, for a short period of time at the beginning of your first semester in college, you will feel lonely; you are not used to your environment or the thousands of people you share a campus with. And, That is okay, completely normal.
Here is what I did to fix that situation: I got involved. You do not have to become the student body president to become comfortable either. Start simple by inviting people from your floor to get food from the dining hall or to hang in your room and play a board game or just to talk. You know what? By the end of my freshman year, I hated the thought of everyone leaving! That is how close I got to people who were just strangers at first.
Don't stop when you can reach out a little further by joining your major's student organization, Greek Life, other clubs, or even playing an intramural sport. I promise you will feel a little less lonely as time goes on and, maybe, you might enjoy a little time to yourself by the end!
Though I ignored this idea before, forgive others. Personally, it was hard to gain my forgiveness when you've annoyed me in any way. It is simply a personality trait for some. However, college has taught me that forgiving is about allowing yourself to move on, not them. I got lucky with having an amazing roommate with whom I never fought. I know this is not always the case for everyone. Make sure you choose a roommate that you can find yourself not resenting after possible conflicts.
Keep in mind that you are introduced to people who grew up in different places, with different atmospheres and different influences. For this reason, you may find your best friend or the person you could have lived your life without knowing. The latter may say or do something that you won't agree with which leads to an argument. I am not sure what happens, whether it is the presence of a professor that you are trying to impress or a realization that life is better when you are happier, but you will eventually learn to forgive them. Mentally, you will feel better when you accomplish this task, I promise.
And, let me throw out a few honoraries, yet important, mentions.
First, you will not like all of your professors. Some of them you will consider a mentor while others make that 50-minute class turn into a two-hour one. My advice? When planning your schedule, take a peek at Rate My Professor — look through ratings of professors based on the opinions of past students. Otherwise, you may just have to try to pass the class and move on.
Second, you are just as important as anyone else on that campus. Do not let anyone else tell you differently. For whatever reason, in high school, freshmen were verbally talked down on. In college, that rarely happens. Sure — for your reputation and sanity — respect those who have been in your place, but just know that you pay tuition too and are just as much a student there as they are.
And, please remember to take care of YOU. I remember the first time I accidentally slept through my morning math class. I called my mom crying because I felt like I was going to be behind only to be granted a learning experience and loosen my theoretical tie a little bit. A little insight: I slept through my class because I was exhausted between sorority recruitment and college classes. I realized at that moment that I was not taking care of me. From that moment on, I took those few moments to tell myself that it was my body giving my brain the rest that I needed. Take the long shower, the mid-day nap, the extra cookie at the dining center, and go out with your friends instead of studying for a test a week away.
Sometimes these are the things we need to hear because they do not talk about them in the mandatory presentations before enrollment. This is the stuff I would have killed to hear as an incoming freshman. Now, as a college senior, I can gladly say that I am still friends with the people on my floor freshman year, I am involved in just as much as I was in high school, I am in an amazing mental state, and I take daily naps for ME.
I hope this helps! I wish you nothing but the best, college kid!