Things That ALL Freshmen Learn During Their Freshman Year

Things That ALL Freshmen Learn During Their Freshman Year

I grew up a ton this year, and I have learned some important life lessons.
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Freshman Year of college has been a ride for sure. I have experienced some really high highs and some deep lows. Growing up, I have always pictured being older, but I never dreamt of the college life.

I don’t know why, but going into college I was scared out of my mind to even leave my hometown. After being away and experiencing college life, I am so grateful that I have left my hometown and that I went to college. I don’t know why, but a part of me never thought that I would actually leave for college.

I guess part of me was scared to actually become an adult. It’s always fun to be an adult in theory because there is so much freedom. Kids live such structured lives, and they don’t have as much freedom.

With freedom, comes responsibility and that is the scariest part. That’s the part that makes adulthood not as fun, and real. The real world is hard, especially coming from a town where not many bad things even happen to begin with.

Before coming to college, I essentially lived in this bubble where there were only good things. I didn’t know a lot about the real world, and college taught me that really quickly, and it popped my bubble. Going through that, and experiencing it was the scariest thing of my life.

Freshman Year was my first taste of the real world, and although it was the hardest and weirdest time of my life, it was also the best time of my life. I have done a lot of cool things, and I have learned so many life lessons that I am glad I learned in college.

First, I learned a lot of cool things and I learned that being an adult is scary, but totally doable, and it takes discipline. The discipline part is all about just holding yourself accountable and doing things that are just not fun. Personally, I hate doing laundry and cooking, but I do it because I want to be clean, and I need to nourish myself.

I’ve also learned life lessons in college, and life lessons that can be talked about for days on end on why they are so important, but you really need to experience them to understand why they are important. A big life lesson is that not everyone is motivated and is passionate about school. That’s so hard for me because I came from a high school were everyone cared and wanted to be the best.

On the other hand, I learned how to not to care about everything, primarily the rules. That is so hard for me to do because I am such a rule follower, and I get anxiety when I break the rules. I go into this state of paranoia, and not everyone cares about them, so I had to stop caring that they don’t care.

Basically, I had to learn how to go with the flow, and to do my thing and accept that others are going to be it differently. That is the hardest lesson I have learned because I am so passionate about school and following the rules, that when people break them, I somehow take offense to it. I don’t know why I care so much.

The biggest life lesson I’ve learned is that I need to constantly be taking personal risks, which means to be leaving my comfort zone. That is a scary thing because I like my shell and what I know, leaving that shell would be really hard for me to do. Essentially, I think it of as walking into something blind and possibly failing at it, I don’t like the feeling of failure.

However, when I did leave my comfort zone it lead to the greatest and happiest times of my life. I consistently tried to leave my comfort zone towards the end of my freshman year, and I am so much happier as a result. I have stories of why and how, but ultimately it boils to taking and owning that risk. Trust me, you’ll be way happier.

On top of the lessons I’ve learned, being happy came from all of the amazing friends I have gained this semester and year. I have friends who lift me up and make me feel important, and I have friends that care. It took a long time to get them, but now that I have them they are so worth it.

My friends are also like the coolest people in the world. Like if you’re a friend of mine and you’re reading this, I love you. You’ve been a positive and amazing impact on my life, and I genuinely hope you know that you’re a great person on the inside and out.

All of this I have learned and experienced in my freshman year. My lows have taught me the lessons, and my highs have been the best points in my life so far. I am eager to start my sophomore year because I am excited to continue growing and becoming an adult.

As for my plans until sophomore year, I am working at a great day camp with a great mission. I don’t know what else I can reveal, but it has an amazing mission and I can start to change the world through this. I am really excited for that.

Cover Image Credit: @rabhitsaklani

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To The Girl Who Had A Plan

A letter to the girl whose life is not going according to her plan.
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“I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” - William Ernest Henley

Since we were little girls we have been asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We responded with astronauts, teachers, presidents, nurses, etc. Then we start growing up, and our plans change.

In middle school, our plans were molded based on our friends and whatever was cool at the time. Eventually, we went to high school and this question became serious, along with some others: “What are your plans for college?” “What are you going to major in?” “When do you think you’ll get married?” “Are you going to stay friends with your friends?” We are bombarded with these questions we are supposed to have answers to, so we start making plans.

Plans, like going to college with our best friends and getting a degree we’ve been dreaming about. Plans, to get married as soon as we can. We make plans for how to lose weight and get healthy. We make plans for our weddings and children.

SEE ALSO: 19 Pieces Of Advice From A Soon-To-Be 20-Year-Old

We fill our Pinterest boards with these dreams and hopes that we have, which are really great things to do, but what happens when you don’t get into that college? What happens when your best friend chooses to go somewhere else? Or, what if you don’t get the scholarship you need or the awards you thought you deserved. Maybe, the guy you thought you would marry breaks your heart. You might gain a few pounds instead of losing them. Your parents get divorced. Someone you love gets cancer. You don’t get the grades you need. You don’t make that collegiate sports team. The sorority you’re a legacy to, drops you. You didn’t get the job or internship you applied for. What happens to you when this plan doesn’t go your way?

I’ve been there.

The answer for that is “I have this hope that is an anchor for my soul.” Soon we all realize we are not the captain of our fate. We don’t have everything under control nor will we ever have control of every situation in our lives. But, there is someone who is working all things together for the good of those who love him, who has a plan and a purpose for the lives of his children. His name is Jesus. When life takes a turn you aren’t expecting, those are the times you have to cling to Him the tightest, trusting that His plan is what is best. That is easier said than done, but keep pursuing Him. I have found in my life that His plans were always better than mine, and slowly He’s revealing that to me.

The end of your plan isn’t the end of your life. There is more out there. You may not be the captain of your fate, but you can be the master of your soul. You can choose to be happy despite your circumstances. You can change directions at any point and go a different way. You can take the bad and make something beautiful out of it, if you allow God to work in your heart.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Patiently Waiting With An Impatient Heart

So, make the best of that school you did get in to. Own it. Make new friends- you may find they are better than the old ones. Apply for more scholarships, or get a job. Move on from the guy that broke your heart; he does not deserve you. God has a guy lined up for you who will love you completely. Spend all the time you can with the loved one with cancer. Pray, pray hard for healing. Study more. Apply for more jobs, or try to spend your summer serving others instead. Join a different club or get involved in other organizations on campus. Find your delight first in God and then pursue other activities that make you happy; He will give you the desires of your heart.

My friend, it is going to be OK.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Beavers Photography

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Change, Change, Go Away...

Come again some other day!

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Change sucks.

I've gone most of my life convincing others (and myself) that "I love change!"

Or saying "I like to think I'm adaptable, so spontaneity is something I love."

To give you the cold, hard and honest truth: All of that is a bunch of shit. Aside from when I still wore diapers, I have never been more full of shit than when I say these things.

There comes a time in life when we grow tired of our own lies and until that point, nothing generally changes. Except, change sucks, right?

I like when the weather changes from freezing cold to invitingly warm.

I like when someone else changes my sheets for me and I don't have to jump and sprawl my 5'3" body to secure the fitted sheet onto the farthest corner of the bed (which generally ends unsuccessfully).

I really like it when the stoplight changes from red to green (because I have a need for speed).

I even like when someone asks to change seats with me on a flight because the reality is that there is no such thing as a good seat on a flight. If you're on the window, you can't get up easily (but you can rest your head) and if you're on the aisle, you can sit there and get up as much as you want, as long as you don't mind your elbow being taken out from under your head while you sleep every time the drink cart passes by.

The point is, these trivial changes are fine, expected and some can even be enjoyable.

It's the changes that we do not expect, the ones that go against our status quo and our life flow, that knock us off balance and send us into a spiral of confusion, excess chocolate consumption and challenge.

As I've mentioned in previous articles, I am a big believer that all stress is a result of something being different than what we want or expect.

Big changes are no exception to this stress.

The coolest, most amazing, incredibly awe-inspiring part about life is that change is possible. Everything around us, at all times, is constantly changing. Unfortunately, this means that we too are subject to this change.

So, what kind of change am I talking about?

Am I talking about the change in your pocket you thought you lost and then found? No.

After all, nobody likes to lose anything besides weight these days.

And to that point, our bodies are constantly changing too. Our hair, our face, our skin, everything physical about us. These are the types of changes I'm talking about. Our relationships change, our jobs, our friends, our understandings of life, all of this changes. These are the big guys, the "uh-ohs," the "I didn't want to learn another life lesson this week" kind of changes.

However, despite the fact that I am 21 and those of you reading this are a range of ages (which I am so grateful for), one of the many qualities that unite us is that we have all experienced change.

Individuals of all ages experience loss and grief. Death plays no favorites and spares no ages. Physical changes happen to all age groups too. Life changes that alter our emotions and mental states are constantly happening to everyone, at all times.

The last three years of my life have been laden with changes. More specifically, the last six months have mentally worn me out but there's a quote that I keep going back to that my mom shared with me over the summer, it says: "an arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. When life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means it's going to launch you into something great. So just focus, and keep aiming."

If you want to rearrange it, you've got to change it.

My hope is that we realize that we don't have to love change. In fact, we don't even have to embrace it because some changes are just too tough. What we do need to do is hold on and keep aiming and acknowledge the fact that we all are constantly going through changes.

Whether we talk about those changes or not, they're present because they are a sure fact of this wildly amazing life we live. One of the few things that remain constant in this life is the fact that things will constantly change.

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