After a very exciting and interesting first year of college, I gathered a couple of lessons that the year has taught me about myself, life, and just college life in general.
A couple of these are reminders, while others are tips, but it is all things I wish someone would have shared with me before my first year of college.
1. Trust God, He’s got it all under control
With all the changes going on around you, you have to remember that God never changes. He is and always will be faithful. During the ups and downs that come during the school year, you can always an come to Him, no matter what.
2. You don’t need to buy all the room essentials you see at Target
Listen, I was there last year. You go to target and they got a whole aisle of room essentials but please listen to me, you don't need all of it! Save your money for something else- because trust me you will need it. Just get the basics and as you settle in. If you are missing anything then you can go splurge a bit.
3. Finding a group of good friends is essential
The school year brings a lot of ups and downs, and you want people there that you can share these moments with. I think my best advice is don't worry about the number of friends you have but focus on the quality of the friendships you are building. I know sometimes just being popular and having as many friends as possible is alluring but make sure you have those good friends that are there for you when the going gets rough and who keep you grounded.
4. You are not going to become friends with everyone
With the previous one said, you also learn that you don't exactly click with everyone, relatively quickly. In the beginning, everyone is welcoming and nice but sometimes you don't have a lot in common with people or conversation just doesn't seem to flow and that's okay. That doesn't mean there's something wrong with either of you, it just means you didn't click and that's okay.
5. Listening to music while you study or do homework is a skill
I grew up in a household where there was a lot of noise and I got used to plugging in my earphones to blur out the noise so that I could do homework. However, this is actually so useful when your room or study halls are noisy.
6. You will always be busy but make time to take care of yourself
There are some weeks where everything is due and you can't seem to get through the workload. You finish one assignment and have to start on another and then have to go to a club meeting and then to meet your friend for dinner.... and the list goes on. But you have to take time to take care of yourself, even if that just means getting dinner by yourself to collect your thoughts or applying a face mask before you got to bed. Trust me, you will thank yourself for it and it will keep you sane through all the chaos.
7.The freshmen 15 ain't no lie
Now, this isn't something easy to admit but it's true. When you have swipes and food is literally an elevator ride down- things go south real quick. Plus you're so busy the gym is far beyond an afterthought. That pizza for dinner and a sandwich for lunch start to add up. Just make sure to eat junk food in moderation and to add the gym to your schedule.
8.You will have awkward experiences but you also will get through them
So, everyone has awkward interactions but somehow my awkward interactions occur at the worst time. For example, almost falling in front of a crowd of students in a hurry or just complete word vomit when you are talking to your crush. Yeah, it ain't fun and I am the type of person who will overthink things and torture myself with instant replays in my head of the situation. But you will be fine, it happens, and honestly, no one will remember it in a couple days.
9. It’s ok to vent and cry when things get rough
I knew college was going to be hard but the emotional and mental toll was more than the academic one for me. And please, if you ever feel overwhelmed talk to someone. Talk to your group of friends because it's so much better to just let it all out than to just let it build up inside you and always remember you can pray, talk to God, and connect with Him.
10. You are not alone in your struggles
You are not the only one feeling overwhelmed by the changes going on around you, odds are all the people around you feel that way too because they are in the same situation. I remember opening up to some friends telling them individually that I still felt out of place, and to my surprise, they all told me the same thing. It made me feel less alone and taught me to talk about how I was feeling.
11. Distance does make the heart grow fonder when it comes to family
I cannot tell you how many times during the school year I was thankful for my amazing family. It made me realize just how much I took them for granted when I had been living at home. It's amazing how much a hug from your mom or just drinking morning coffee with your dad or just playful fighting with your sister means to you when you don't have it. So appreciate your family and hug them lots because they will be your number one supporters throughout your college experience.
12. What you wear doesn’t really matter in college
I don't know if I was the only one with this expectation but I thought everyone was going to be walking around dressed up with a full face a makeup - and I couldn't have been more wrong. Girl, let me tell you it is okay to go out in your pajamas if need be because chances are 90% of the students walking around are too (especially if you have 8 am classes). With that said there are people who are very put together ( if this is you, I admire you) but just be yourself and don't feel pressure to always look perfect.
13. If you are in an uncomfortable situation, get out
This was a lesson that I should've listened to. Whether it be your living situation or a social interaction, if you don't feel comfortable you have the right to get out of it. Personally, there was a point where my living situation had been so bad that I thought about moving out, but I didn't. And even though things didn't end up super bad in retrospect it would've been a whole lot better for me to just make that choice. But you live and you learn.
14. You need to find a place for some alone time
During dorm life in college, privacy is near to non-existent. You almost never have time to be by yourself and just recharge so find this place!
15. Always wear flip flops in the dorm showers
This one might be a no-brainer but incredibly important. You don't know who showered or where their feet have been so seriously for the love of all that is good, just wear your flip-flops. You won't regret it.
16. Don’t lose sight of your values and beliefs
With college comes a lot of new things that can go against your morals and values. Being a Christian in college, there is a lot of beliefs that I hold that goes against the culture of the campus and that is okay. I know who I am and what I believe in. With God's guidance I was able to stay true that. There will be temptations and persuasion but stick to your values and beliefs and don't feel pressured to give into anything that you don't want to.