The Reality Of The First Semester At College, As Told By A Freshman

I'm going to start with the four words I needed to hear most throughout my first semester: You are not alone. Trust me, I've been there.

You've watched "Neighbors." You've spent hours scrolling through Instagram, looking at girls having "the best time". You've heard from parents and older friends how college is the best four years of your life.

Between the tailgates, the parties, the friends, the classes, and the freedom, your expectations for college are exceedingly high.

However, no one has told you about the nights they spent crying in their room on FaceTime with their parents. No one has told you how alone they often felt throughout the first semester of freshman year.

No one has told you the number of times they thought about transferring, and how they once even filled out the Common Application during the first semester. No one has told you the complete truth.

As humans, we are programmed to think our lives have to be seen as perfect. The advent of social media has only perpetuated this misconception, leading girls to post "love my school and my friends" right as they sit in their dorm room crying about how they were left out of a pregame or a birthday dinner.

We've been told millions of times to not believe social media, yet we still think we are the only ones not enjoying Freshman year when we scroll through and see endless posts of girls in cliques at game days and nights out.

However, I am here to tell you something I learned in my first semester at college: It is OK to admit that you are not having a good time YET. In fact, in order to improve your situation, you MUST admit to yourself that you are not happy just YET.

Notice how I said YET. Even though first semester can be tough, it doesn't mean college as a whole will suck. This can be so hard to see in the moment, but your situation will improve.

While it is important to admit to yourself that you're not having fun, it's also important to not think in extremes: Life will not always suck. You will find your people. College will not always be a disappointment.

I know this also can be hard, but if college isn't going your way, YOU need to do something to change it. Get out of bed, take a shower, look in the mirror, and tell yourself you are valuable. When you feel lonely in those moments, you start to blame yourself, thinking that you're too boring, you're too weird, you're too annoying.

None of this is true. It can take months or even years to find your people, and just because you haven't found them in the first two or three months does not mean you never will. It also doesn't mean something is wrong with you. Remember, you are not alone.

After you get up, the next best thing you can do is get out of your dorm room and do not return until the end of the day. Join a sports team, go to a club meeting, sit and do work in the courtyard, try to find some familiar faces to sit within the dining hall.

Chances are you will have more interactions with potentially nice and genuinely interesting people than you would be sitting in your bed watching "The Real Housewives". It's OK to feel uncomfortable, discomfort is what leads us to what we want.

Sure, sitting in your room seems comfortable and easy, but you will never make friends if you do not force yourself into situations that may seem awkward or uncomfortable at first.

Let's say you meet a girl you really like on the club soccer team. Remember her name, ask her for her number, and text her a few days later to ask if she wants to get dinner or maybe study together at the local coffee shop. And if she doesn't seem open to being your friend, then think to yourself, "Wow. Her loss. She's missing out on being MY friend!".

This is not cockiness, this is knowing your value and not letting others determine it for you. If you ask someone for plans every week and they continually say no, if girls do not include you in a group chat if people only say hi to you when they're alone and not when they're with others- forget them and move on.

It's THEIR loss. One or two high-quality friends at the beginning is better than 6 or 7 cliquey, exclusive, drama-chasing girls.

Remember: you are not alone. Just because they haven't posted about it does not mean that tens of thousands of girls haven't been through the same exact thing you are going through.

I promise you will find your happiness. For now, focus on yourself: make sure you know your worth, make sure you know your values, and make sure you know who is worth your time.

Focus on loving yourself for your good qualities rather than fixating on things in life that aren't going your way. And, remember, even if you feel alone, I am here for you.

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