College can be really exhausting. It is your first time out in the real world, without a support system, and you have to go and decide what to do with your life. Whoever thought telling an 18 to 22 year old to be independent and decide his or her dream was dumb, but we move forward because that is how life works.
So after spending a year in college, I feel qualified to give tips on how to survive your first year (whether or not I am actually qualified is for you to decide).
Remember to call your mom. I know it will be hard at first. Trust me. I called my mom and would hang up crying by the end of the phone call multiple times. Just pick up the phone and call her. I did not do this enough at the beginning, which made it even harder to adjust. The first ten times I called my mom, I would cry a little bit(or a lot) by the end of our phone call. Now, i don't even shed a tear (ok sometimes life gets overwhelming and I will call her bawling). It just takes time to adjust to the change. Some days I will still be homesick and cry a bit, but I think after living at home for 18 years, I am allowed that cry. Just embrace it because you'll probably cry a lot first semester, sometimes for no reason at all. Grab some chocolate, a Channing Tatum movie and laugh until you cry (that way the tears seem more justified).
Tough out the hard times. Some days you will love college so much and other days you will want to get on a plane and go home. That is normal. Going to college is a HUGE change and can really affect who you are as a person. Remember if you are not happy to wait it out a semester or even a year. College cost a lot of money, so you might as well get the credits. Everything sucks at first. You probably hated the first month of middle school and that is such a minor change compared to this one. I totally did not love the first two weeks of college and now I could not be happier.
Get involved. It is cliche, yes, but it is so true. Sitting in your dorm room watching Netflix (although is super fun) is not going to help you make friends and help you get acclimated to college. Go to meetings for clubs that sound interesting and roll with it. Most schools have an activities fair, so get off your butt and go. Also, an important thing to remember is college is the (maybe) last time to explore different interests, so put your name on a list that is out of your comfort zone. You never know where it will lead. Explore who you are and what you want to do.
Don't worry about other people. Everyone is going to pretend to have their life together. They don't. People will post a million pictures on Facebook and Snapchat showing that they are having a good time. Sometimes they truly will be, but other times they are just as homesick as you are. Don't take time comparing yourself to others. If you don't feel like going out, stay in and watch a movie (I know this contradicts later advice, but there are exceptions to every rule). Do not do something you are not comfortable with. Sometimes staying in can be more productive than going out (actually usually).
Document everything. Take lots of pictures. This doesn't necessarily mean post them all to Facebook, although I am sure your Great Aunt from Florida would love to see them. Be present in the moment (not on social media), but capture it all. #Latergram can be your best friend. Take pictures and post them later when you are bored during class (Kidding, be present in class too). Also, if you would like to, start a journal or a blog so you can document how you have changed throughout the four years.
Go to Class. This one may seem obvious to you if you are still in high school, but let me let you in on a little secret. In college, you are not forced to go to class. If you overslept, then mom and dad doesn't get a phone call. I They will sometimes take attendance, but it can be a gamble. Small universities will have smaller class sizes, so it can be quite obvious when you are gone. That being said, the larger classes are really easy to ditch, but DON'T! Every class you go to will be upwards of $100 or more, just for one class. Get your monies worth. You are going to college to learn, so do that! Mom won't be there to force you, so it truly is a test of your will power.
Live a little. College is when you make mistakes, when you learn who you truly are. Take a class that may be a bit out of you reach. Go to the party. Talk to the cute boy. Join the rowing team. Be the president of anime club. Whatever it is that scares you, do it. You may hate it, but then you'll learn you aren't good at drawling. You may love it and meet your best friends. You never know until you jump. By this I do not mean throw your morals out the window. I am just saying say hi to the cute boy instead of telling your friends about seeing him later.
Do not burn bridges. This isn't high school. If you do not want to be friends with someone, then don't be. If you are surrounded by too much drama, walk away. There are thousands of other people to find in your school that will make you a better person, so don't waste time being friends with petty people. Don't be dramatic yourself. If you no longer want to be friends with someone, quietly leave, don't blow up. In 20 years, you could walk into an office for an interview and that person you fought with could be sitting there. Losing touch is easy to forget and large fights are easy to remember.
Now go out and be a reckless 18 year-old who is trying to figure out her dreams, but don't forget to call your mom and tell her the cool things you are doing.