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.
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.
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.
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.