4 Freshmen Year Discoveries I Made That Changed My Perspective On Adulting

4 Freshmen Year Discoveries I Made That Changed My Perspective On Adulting

This is what I learned in one semester of college.
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Starting your first year of college is intimidating. Within one semester of living on the campus of the College of Charleston, I have had the most life lessons and growth that I have experienced in such a short amount of time.

I have always been fairly independent so moving away from home didn’t sound like it would be anything too arduous. On my first day of living on campus, I realized that being on my own came with a lot more than I thought. Though this was a challenge, I now feel more equipped to begin my transitions into adulthood.

The first semester of my freshman year I discovered the following:

1. Living is not cheap

I always had the luxury of coming home to food in my fridge, and availability of things like laundry detergent and cleaning supplies. It was a pain in the ass to buy these things with my own money at first, but now I feel independent and self-sufficient because I learned to take care and provide for myself.

2. No one has it all figured out

The first month I spent in college was somewhat erratic. My sleep schedule was off, I had more assignments than I knew what to do with, I hadn’t exercised and I felt like my life was in scrambles. Everyone else in my class was in the same position I was. Realizing that I wasn’t supposed to have everything together gave me the freedom to mess up, make mistakes and struggle without feeling alone in it all.

3. College provided me the opportunity to advance my critical thinking

In the beginning of my courses, I felt like the coursework was about the same as high school. As I’ve begun this new second semester, I see now that I can take my professors’ words and instead of accepting them as facts, I have my own perspectives. College professors open up room for their student to speak. This provides personal growth in our ability to contemplate an idea and create our own views of it. Professors like to hear your input and open up the floor for discussion which has actually caused me to bridge the material into my other classes.

4. I make time for friendships

In college, you make time for the people that are important to you. The ones who prioritize you are the people you want to keep around. The friendships I have made in college are special in that I don’t have classes with all of my best friends or see them in the cafeteria every day.

You learn quickly who is really there for you, where some friendships from the beginning of the year don’t last, but that's okay. Meeting a new variety of people in college allowed me to become more openminded, and close to people who I wouldn’t have otherwise.

Due to this, I believe I have become a better friend, developing special bonds with the people that give me a community, a family away from home.

So college can be intimidating and a difficult initial adjustment. The college rumors are true.

However, I really wouldn’t want it to be any other way. I now feel confident than ever. Not only in my ability to decipher my own opinions but as well as the perceptions of people. These subtle but crucial adjustments allow me to thrive in a place where the opportunities are endless.

Cover Image Credit: Audrey Hall

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A Letter To My Freshman Dorm Room As I Pack Up My Things

Somehow a 15' x 12' room became a home.

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Dear Geary 411,

With your creaky beds, concrete walls, and mismatched tile floors, you are easily overlooked as just another room we were randomly assigned to— but you were different. Inside your old walls, I have made some of the best memories of my life that I will hold on to forever.

Thank you for welcoming my neighbors in with open arms who quickly became friends who didn't knock and walked in like you were their own.

I feel like an apology is needed.

We're sorry for blaring the music so loud while getting ready and acting like we can actually sing when, in reality, we know we can't. Sorry for the dance parties that got a bit out of control and ended with us standing on the desks. Sorry for the cases of the late-night giggles that came out of nowhere and just would not go away. Sorry for the homesick cries and the "I failed my test" cries and the "I'm dropping out" cries. We're sorry for hating you at first. All we saw was a tiny and insanely hot room, we had no idea what you would bring to us.

Thank you for providing me with memories of my first college friends and college experiences.

As I stand at the door looking at the bare room that I first walked into nine months ago I see so much more than just a room. I see lots and lots of dinners being eaten at the desks filled with stories of our days. I see three girls sitting on the floor laughing at God knows what. I see late night ice cream runs and dance battles. I see long nights of homework and much-needed naps. Most importantly, I look at the bed and see a girl who sat and watched her parents leave in August and was absolutely terrified, and as I lock you up for the last time today, I am so proud of who that terrified girl is now and how much she has grown.

Thank you for being a space where I could grow, where I was tested physically, mentally and emotionally and for being my home for a year.

Sincerely,

A girl who is sad to go

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When Was The Last Time You Were Alive?

If you can't post it for everyone to see, was it truly a remarkable moment?

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Being alive is an essentially effortless act.

In theory, as long as you're eating food, drinking water, and performing as a human, assuming no major health conditions, most of us are living.

The tragedy I see most often is so very few of us are alive.

Now, I'm not suggesting you drop your textbooks and sprint up a mountain, or go broke trying to find yourself in new activities and events.

That's the illusion pressed onto so many of us. Social Media, more importantly, FOMO, has taught us that in order to truly be alive we need to make sure we travel far and wide, eat gourmet and unique food, and essentially, immerse ourselves in something phenomenal. However, regardless of what you do- don't do it without an audience and the value of your experience will only be justified by the number of likes you accrue on your #bestvacation ever because you #lovenature. With your back to the camera and wispy hair flowing in the beach air, you hit all of your angles, how else will you prove that you're alive to Instagram?

I fell for this too. I spent so much of my life constantly trying to get to the next phase life had to offer. High school was fun, but I was counting the days until graduation. Growing up in a small hometown wasn't awful, but I had sticky note calendars until my next vacation. And day in and day out, events would happen all around me that were just too "normal." I wasn't alive, but I was living.

Setting your soul on fire and truly living is so much more difficult than you could ever expect, but not because you have to drain savings and take along a buddy to snap all the perfect moments.

Choosing to be alive is realizing how important it is to be in this moment or phase in life and accepting it for all its worth. Instead of racing to the finish line or trying to sprint into your next season of assumed happiness, take time to notice all the beautiful and small things that make this moment so important. There is so much life to be found in simple moments.

Semesters are ending, we are all racing to summer. Perhaps in the process, take note of the routine cafeteria worker that constantly smiles at you and says hello. Or perhaps, giggle at the fact that in just a few short weeks that bus driver you see every single morning won't be apart of your morning routine.

The farther I get from what used to be my normal, the more I miss that season of life. I haven't lived in my hometown since I was eighteen, but I miss the simplicity that came with my drives to high school listening to Kanye West and the coziness of a small town opening its doors to start a new day. I never stopped to be alive in those moments, I was just simply living.

Wherever your next phase of life might be, it will always be there. You will always have something else coming. However, once this moment is gone. It's truly gone. Don't waste beautiful views trying to capture just the right picture for Instagram, take in the moment.

Living and experiencing life can be as simple as trusting that you're exactly where you need to be in life. Cherish each moment as you're in it. The next moment is coming whether you're ready or not.

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