Advice For ALL Incoming College Freshmen

Advice For ALL Incoming College Freshmen

Call your mom!
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Some of you may have been waiting for the day you have all your things packed up and be ready to start your new journey in a completely new home. Some of you may have been putting this day on hold hoping it wouldn’t come so soon. Some of you say, “I’m ready to do this whole college thing,” when in reality you’re terrified. All of you at this point have one thing in common at least: you have no clue what the journey ahead of you holds. While I, a college sophomore can’t prepare you for every little thing your upcoming year might entail I can tell you a few things that I learned my first year, and they just might help you out.

It’s okay to feel alone the first couple of weeks

Trust me I thought I was ready to dive into meeting new people and put myself out there right away, but in reality, I was terrified and spent my first week pretty much locked away in my room. Meeting new people in college can be hard and it is indeed scary at first, just remind yourself that everyone is in the same boat, others are probably dying to meet you, they’re just scared themselves. Don’t be afraid to eat in the cafeteria and ask others to join you, don’t be afraid to go check out someone’s dorm, who you just met, you never know who could end up being a great friend in the future.

Leave the things that need to be kept in the past, in the past

It can be hard to adjust to a new environment with new people and the want for your old space/people in your life will be there, however, change is indeed good. Sure, there are people who you will never let go of, let those be family members and your best friends. However, if you’re hung up on a short relationship with your boyfriend or girlfriend from high school and you continue to question, “Is this going to work” maybe it’s time to put an end to it. There are so many more people you will meet in the next four years that could be so much better for you, don’t be afraid to let go when you feel like you need to.

Be yourself always

Don’t try to be “the cool guy” or the life of the party if that isn’t you. One of the worst things you can do is pretend to be someone you are not. If you just be yourself it will be much easier to bond with other people similar to you. It can be hard to be your true self around complete strangers but everyone is feeling the same way and they’re probably just as eager as you are to find friends. It’s okay if you’re not the same person you were in high school, in fact, this is the time for you to reinvent yourself if you didn’t like that person, but remember to always remain to your true self for your people back home.

Never forget to check in with your people from home

In college, it seems like days go by so fast and there is so much going on that sometimes it’s hard to keep your friends from home and keep family members updated on your life. When times get tough just know these are the people who have either been through it all, or are right along with you experiencing it. They are also the best people to either give you advice or just to listen about your problems all because they care about you.

Get involved

Sure, this isn’t high school anymore, it is much more difficult to be a multisport athlete and be in five different clubs while tackling on school. However, the more you get involved the more people you will meet and the better person you will be. In high school clubs and sports came easy, you were given opportunities to get involved thrown at you, that’s not the case in college. If you want to get involved, build your resume you need to put yourself out there. You need to check in with your emails, go to involvement fairs on campus, talk to the head of student orgs. Sure, this all seems boring and “Uncool” but chances are there are tons of clubs that could interest you that you may not even know about.

Stay active

The odds of eat healthy in college is very low, so working out every now and then is a must. If you participated in a high school sport your body is going to get a rude awakening because motivation in college is at an all-time low. You have to walk to the gym just to work out? That’s a workout itself, or at least that’s what I used to think. You have to get in some sort of rhythm of working out at least once a week because the amount of downtime you have, and the fact that your gym membership is free is no excuse to not workout. Staying motivated to working out will keep you motivated in the long run, your brain and your body work together if you let one down there goes the other. Find a workout buddy and a good playlist and find the workout that works for you.

Learn how to take good notes quick

If high school classes were easy for you like mine, it’s probably because it didn’t require much more than sitting and listening, this isn’t the case in college. Be prepared to face large lectures with a thick notebook and a handful of pens because note taking is a must. If you’re lucky your professor puts the slides up online but this is very unlikely, plus writing down information you hear helps you retain it better. Write down the main points and categorize what needs to be, this will help you much later when you’re preparing for a test and have notes to look back on.

Pack lots of comfy clothes

Sure, it is fun to dress nicely the first couple of weeks of classes because you’re trying to meet new people and present yourself in a nice way, but no one cares anymore. In fact, people care more about just making it to class and on time rather than what they show up looking like to class. Second semester will come and all motivation to try looking good will all be gone and you’ll think back to this article when I say, “I told you so.”

Stay civil with the people you live with

It’s not always that you love the roomie that you picked out from your school's Facebook page who you thought you would be “best friends” with remains the same person you thought you would be living with. Living with someone really brings out people’s true colors, which can be fine if your roommate reminds you to pick your clothes off your floor and do your laundry and motivates you to do your homework, but there are roommates who are the exact opposite of that. Your roommate can make or break your first year, but I would say the only way they break your experience is if you let them. Be friends with your roommate when you have to even if you don’t want to be. Chances are they will respect you a lot more if you are honest and nice to them. If something they do bothers you just tell them because chances are they probably have no Idea that their problem is even a problem for you. Invite them to things outside of the room and bring other people into the mix, this way no one is feeling left out and it’s an opportunity to meet new people too. Overall your year will be a lot smoother if you and your roommate communicate but will be the best year if you’re friends.

Call your mom

If you’re bored, you seem to have nothing to do, or if you’re extremely busy and need a break call your mom. If you’re in bed hungover and don’t know how to make the pain go away, call your mom. If you forget which laundry detergent works best for your white load, call your mom. You might think you’re all high and mighty living on your own and don’t want to break your ego but calling your mom will do nothing but good. Your mom is always going to be waiting for your call no matter what the topic of conversation is. In her eyes, you’ll always be her baby and she loves to hear from you.

Have fun

This is probably the most important part of college. It’s strange getting thrown out into the real world, living on your own at just 19 but how amazing is that? Here’s a quick news flash, you really don’t have to have your whole life figured out at this point. You don’t even have to know your major (because chances are they will probably change). All you have to know is how to have fun (with an exception of passing exams, that’s good too.) Don’t worry about the internships or jobs and careers you need to get started on you have your whole life to do that. At least for your freshman year just have fun. You don’t need a job you have enough stress on your hands. Go out. Explore your new city. Take lots of pictures. Do what’s going to make you happy on your own you have so much freedom and you will never have this much freedom again.

Cover Image Credit: Sierra Gardner

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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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The Most Important Things I've Learned From Taking Philosophy

The biggest takeaways that I have collected from my time in my Philosophy class.

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When registering for classes for Fall 2018, I found myself drawn to Philosophy 126: Mind, Brain, Self & Evolution. I figured the class would give me the opportunity to perform a lot of introspection during my first semester at college while also helping me fulfill some General Education requirements, and I couldn't have been more right. I've never had the pleasure of taking a class with such a loose agenda and the freedom to discuss every aspect of the information we are learning. That said, there have been a few major takeaways from this class.

First is the idea that you are not the sum of your parts, but the sum of your parts and the parts of everyone around you. Most people have heard the overused quote "It takes a village to raise a child," but this idea couldn't be more than true. We subconsciously pull so many of our habits, preferences, etc. from the people around us that we ultimately grow to become a community within ourselves, and there is something truly beautiful about that. It takes a village to raise a child to become a village.

Second, I've learned how important it is to understand that if some big philosophical or psychological or physical problem has not been solved yet, there is rarely going to be one solution to it. Millions of years of group thought have placed us in the intellectual shoes we are in, and yet we still question every day what our "purpose" is. There are thousands of theories and possible answers to this question, but who's to say that they aren't all correct? Some aspects of life are just too subjective to be answered objectively.

Lastly is the separation between gaining knowledge and experiential learning. Both are arguably equal in their significance, but we don't truly think about how immensely different the two concepts are until we are forced to. In philosophy, there is a theory centered around this experimental design called "Mary's Room." The story is that a woman named Mary has lived in a black and white room her whole life but has grown up learning everything about color and the human reaction to it (biologically, psychologically, etc.).

Once the door to her room is opened and she sees the color red for the first time, she has just learned something new despite already knowing everything there is to know about the concept of color. Experience is the most important part of the human condition and should not be disregarded when it comes to learning.

There are so many aspects of our existence that we never consider on a daily basis simply because we don't have to. There is something unique about people who are in touch with themselves spiritually: they have a greater understanding not just of who they are, but of who they are in relation to the rest of the world. In a fast-paced, Type A world it is especially easy to lose sight of the importance of experiencing humanity, and we often take this beautiful gift for granted.

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