Life is very different going from high school to college. Literally, everything changes and there is nothing you can do about it but embrace it. Here are a few of the things that I have learned during my first semester of college:
1. High school made us feel REALLY special.
In high school, leadership opportunities were easier to attain. I could study the night before an exam and still get an A and doing my homework the night before it was due was perfectly acceptable. In my first semester of college, I learned how to work, and then how to work harder. I learned how to prioritize, plan out my week, and what energy drink works best.
I have become a firm believer that the first semester of your freshman year is designed for your own personal small (or big) failures. While starting to live on your own for the first time on top of being exposed to many new different ways to use your time and taking college classes, how could you not run into a few slip-ups? After all, you can't see without a few L's. I learned that, while you may have not succeeded in all the ways you wanted to this semester, what is really important is how you choose to grow from your small (or big) failures you had this semester.
3. "Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it."
In the craziness of college, I learned that there are so many things that will not only not go our way, but also there are so many things that we cannot control. However, we can control our attitudes all the time. I've learned to try to keep a smile on my face, be optimistic, and go the extra mile for others is the keep to being in control and having a joyful life.
4. Don't be afraid to embrace the awkward.
This is quite possibly the most valuable lesson I've learned all semester. Talking to people in the elevator, going to events alone and introducing myself to strangers, and sitting at lunch with people that are sitting by themselves has helped me grow more than anything I've done all year. I've learned how to have conversations with all types of people, and I've learned how to be confident in myself. It hasn't been easy, but people appreciate it more than you would think.
5. Find your "spot."
Being surrounded by roommates, classmates, and sorority/fraternity people almost 24/7 can be extremely overwhelming when combined with the stress of college. Finding a quiet "spot" that is all your own that you can go to escape all the craziness of college is extremely valuable. A spot in a park, a table in the corner of a coffee shop, or even a store can all be great potential spots.
6. Make an effort to find out who you are and what's important to you.
College is an extremely valuable time to find who you are and start to figure out your future. I've learned that it is extremely valuable to spend time thinking about people you admire, morals you have, and what makes your heart beat as you make decisions and form friendships that will affect the rest of your life.
7. "Fake it until you make it."
I've learned that faking can be more valuable than you think. If you want to be a good student, faking it by going to class and spending time studying can actually help you do well. If you want to be a happier person, smiling and being optimistic can actually make you feel happier. While convincing others, you start forming habits and find that you're convincing yourself.
8. Have fun!
I've also learned to make time to have fun or do things for yourself. Drive with the windows down, read a couple chapters of a book, or go to Taco Bell in the middle of the night with your friends. We are only in college once, so enjoy and make the most of it.