What I Wish I Knew Before My First Semester At FSU

What I Wish I Knew Before My First Semester At FSU

College is a rollercoaster, be prepared!

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During the summer before my senior year of high school, my friends and I spent hours romanticizing about all the excitement and change that would come during our first year of college. Little did we know that although college is full of new experiences and personal growth, it can come with some pretty difficult challenges.

Growing up, I was used to moving around a lot, as I spent half my life on a completely different continent. When it came to choosing colleges to apply to, the idea of going somewhere far away from home didn't seem like such a big deal. I had become pretty independent, or at least I thought I was. But when I actually came to college, I realized that living on my own was not all unicorns and rainbows.

Before I embarked on my college journey, I wish I knew that living far away from my family would be hard. Not seeing my mom and dad every day, and more importantly, my dog, resulted in endless daily FaceTime calls. Not gonna lie, I shed quite a few tears from missing my pupper. Although being 13 hours away from my family and friends was an adjustment, it forced me to become truly independent. I didn't know anyone when I came to college and quickly had to learn to take care of myself. Taking care of myself meant doing laundry, cooking, cleaning, and most importantly, becoming used to the idea of being lonely.

College taught me that true independence often goes hand in hand with being comfortable in your loneliness. Loneliness is not always a bad thing, although it can often seem that way. Going to a big state school means that most people I met knew at least someone from their high school, and I felt deserted and left out. For the first few weeks, I spent a lot of time by myself. I wish I would have known that being by yourself is actually rewarding, and teaches you a lot about self-love and self-reflection. However, I also wish I knew that loneliness doesn't last forever. I had only been at college for two weeks, and the feelings of missing my friends and family felt pretty overwhelming. Needless to say, I was ready to drop out before classes had even started.

Looking back at it, I wish I would have been more patient. In the beginning, I often found myself comparing my college experience to that of my friends. I scrutinized myself for not having as many friends, and for not loving college as much as they seemed to. Everyone's college experience is different, and I wish I would have been kinder to myself. I also wish I would have been more positive. Things may seem tough at the moment, but taking a step back and separating myself from the situation has taught me that things are often better than they seem. Even if you don't end up loving your college experience as much as you thought you would remember to appreciate your situation. Not everyone has the ability to go to college, so even if you feel like you're not living up to the college hype, try to stay humble.

Reflecting on what I learned from my first semester at college has made me extremely grateful. Not only have I experienced immense personal growth, but I have also made some memories that I will cherish forever. I have learned that spending time with my close friends, embarking on new experiences, and being kind to myself is most important. I also learned that after I stopped comparing my college rollercoaster to everyone else's, I started to actually enjoy the ride!

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Dear Mom and Dad, You Don't Understand What College Is Actually Like In The 21st Century

I can skip class. I can leave early, and I can show up late. But, ya see, I am not doing that.
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College is not what you think it is. I am not sitting in a classroom for six hours listening to a professor speak about Shakespeare and the WW2.

I am not given homework assignments every night and told to hand them in next class.

I do not know my daily grade for each of the five classes I am taking, and I don't know if my professor even knows my name.

College today is a ton different than how it was 20+ years ago.

I go to class for about maybe three hours a day. Most of my time working on "college" is spent outside of the classroom. I am the one responsible for remembering my homework and when my ten-page essay is due.

I can skip class. I can leave early, and I can show up late. But, ya see, I am not doing that. I am a responsible person, even if you do not think I am.

I do get up every morning and drive myself to class. I do care about my assignments, grades, my degree, and my career.

I spend a lot of time on campus having conversations with my friends and relaxing outside.

I am sick of older generations thinking that us millennials are lazy, unmotivated, and ungrateful. While I am sure there are some who take things for granted, most of us paying to get a degree actually do give a s**t about our work ethic.

Dear mom and dad, I do care about my future and I am more than just a millennial looking to just get by.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlyn Moore

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How To Stay Mentally Healthy In College

Our mental health is just as important as our physical health.

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Staying healthy in college seems really, really hard to do. Classes, friends, clubs, and the whole fact of living by yourself can create a lot of stress and anxiety. Most students, and people in general, don't really know how to deal with stress or how to take care of themselves mentally, leading to unhealthy behaviors physically and mentally. If you don't take care of your mental health, your physical health will suffer eventually. Here are a few tips and tricks to help take care of your mental health:

1. Eat a well-balanced diet

Eating fruits, vegetables, grains, and other healthy foods will help you feel more energized and motivated. Most people associate eating a balanced diet as beneficial for your physical health, but it is just as important for your mental health.

2. Keep a journal and write in it daily

Writing can be one of the most relaxing and stress-relieving things you can do for yourself. Writing down the issues you are struggling with or the problems you are encountering in your life on a piece of paper can help you relax and take a step back from that stress.

3. Do something that brings you joy

Take some time to do something that brings you joy and happiness! It can be really easy to forget about this when you are running around with your busy schedule but make some time to do something you enjoy. Whether it be dancing, writing, coloring, or even running, make some time for yourself.

4. Give thanks

Keeping a gratitude log — writing what brings you joy and happiness — helps to keep you positively minded, which leads to you becoming mentally healthy. Try to write down three things that brought you joy or made you smile from your day.

5. Smile and laugh

Experts say that smiling and laughing help improve your mental health. Not only is it fun to laugh, but laughing also helps you burn calories! There's a reason why smiling and laughing are often associated with happiness and joyful thoughts.

6. Exercise

Staying active and doing exercises that energize your body will help release endorphins and serotonin, which both act as a natural antidepressant. Keeping an active lifestyle will help you stay happy!

7. Talk out your problems

All of us deal with stress and have problems from time to time. The easiest and probably most beneficial way to deal with this stress and anxiety is to talk it out with a close friend, family member, or even a counselor.

8. See a counselor, peer mentor, or psychologist

Just like it was stated in the previous point, it is beneficial to talk out your problems with a counselor. We all have issues, and it is OK to ask for help.

Keeping up your mental health in college can be a struggle, and it may be hard to even admit you are not mentally healthy. This is OK; you are not alone. If you want to see a psychologist or would like to learn more about mental health, there are resources. You can also take a self-assessment of your mental health. If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, please, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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