The number of times someone told me "college is the best time of your life" could probably pay my tuition. So, going into the first semester of college, I had some unrealistically high expectations. I expected to get to school and instantly meet my best friends for life, have weekends filled with endless fun, and enjoy every moment of freedom that I dreamed of in high school. Of course, the reality is not all "rainbows and sunshine." The first semester is a rollercoaster of emotions, and there were some tough days. However, this is completely normal. The lessons learned in the first semester of college taught me things I will use the rest of my life.
College can be hard...really hard
There were days first semester where I didn't have one spare moment to sit down and breathe. The workload is much harder and more intense than what high school prepares you for. You don't have a study hall or free period in college, either. You are responsible for managing your time, which can be a huge task in itself.
First semester can be extremely lonely
Coming from out of state and not knowing anyone is tough. Oftentimes, it is easy to look back on old relationships and become homesick. However, putting the past behind you and moving on is essential. Starting completely over in relationships is never easy, and the people you hang out for the first few weeks of school likely will not end up being your best friends in college, but that's OK. There will be days when you will feel completely alone, but you're not. You will find your "people" and realize how those awkward moments of putting yourself out there will make the biggest difference in life.
Having freedom is great and all, but it's also a huge responsibility
When you don't have parents to tell you to do your laundry or to not go out on a school night, it suddenly becomes up to you to take care of yourself. Your first semester is often a balancing act of exploring freedom and figuring out how to "survive" on your own.
First semester is full of struggles
From the little things that you took for granted, like having your own bathroom, to having home cooked meals, the first semester is a huge adjustment. Trying to figure out your school schedule, making time for a social life, and trying to stay healthy can be hard. There will inevitably be struggles, but this is normal.
Your first semester is a huge adjustment and learning experience. So, to all the incoming freshman, it is OK to struggle and miss home. Your second semester is a breeze after the first, and before you know it, you will be packing up to go home, thinking that you would do anything to stay at school all summer because of all the amazing memories and people you meet at school. Just hang in there and know that it does get easier.