Welcome to a life of waking up on your own, learning to manage your time on a day to day basis, and experiencing a new kind of stress when you can't remember how to swipe into your dorm.
For some, the excitement of starting college is all-consuming, and this new found independence is what your life had been lacking. But for others, it's scary, intimidating, and in some cases, and new platform for your anxiety. Regardless of where you are emotionally, everyone can always use a little guidance when starting a new chapter. I am now in the middle of my second week of college, and these are some things I've picked up on.
1. Loneliness can be a blessing, but be careful of where you put your attention
A lot of us are transitioning to a new town/state where in many cases the only person you know is your roommate. Although this can be lonely, this is also a chance to leave behind baggage we picked up in high school or before. Take advantage of this clean slate you have in front of you, but be careful with where you spend all of this free time.
Parties and alcohol will always be around, but this is THE time to shape your future and friendships that can last a lifetime, don't waste it away.
2. Remember that people were raised differently and to show them grace
One of my favorite teachers from high school once told me that you are only able to consider yourself educated on a subject if you can comprehend both sides of the argument. With that being said, don't be quick to judge someone's beliefs. Respect peoples' opinions in the way you would want them to respect yours.
This is especially emphasized for your living situation — your roommates were not raised by your parents, so they're probably going to have some differences from you and you're guaranteed to have some disagreements. Be kind and have patience, and understand that maintaining a functional, peaceful living environment is more important than getting your point across.
3. Don't think you need to push your personality on people
When I was a junior in high school, my mom and I moved from Texas to Florida so we could be closer to family and I could get in-state tuition. I had lived in the same small town my entire life, and when I started attending my new high school, I wasn't used to people not already knowing who I was and how I did things. I found difficulty in finding solid friends because I didn't know what all I wanted to share about myself.
Now that I am in a similar situation, I am able to reflect on my 17-year-old self while meeting new people in my classes and dorm. Listen to who other people are and where they come from, and keep some of yourself for those who are intentional on listening to you.
4. You can always find community/help in the girls bathroom
In any given situation, there will always be a girl in the bathroom who would be happy to help you. This is especially an essential for going out.
Need an Uber home? Go to the girls' bathroom.
Can't shake a creepy guy at a club? Go to the girls' bathroom.
Need a tampon? Girls. Bathroom. (But that's kind of a given)
5. Call your mom & tell her about your week
Mamas can be overbearing, but it's only because she misses you. Call her up, tell her what's good, and remind her that you still love her.