11 Life Lessons I Learned In My 3rd Semester Of College That I Wish I Had Known In My 1st And 2nd

11 Life Lessons I Learned In My 3rd Semester Of College That I Wish I Had Known In My 1st And 2nd

It's been more of a learning journey than I'd like to admit, but I'm glad I know these things now.

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The first year of college is rough—you're on your own for the first time, school just got stupidly hard, and you have no idea what you're doing. Once sophomore year hits though, you're pretty much an expert—you've probably settled into your major, joined a few clubs you're passionate about, and finally figured out how to handle this whole "life" thing. While reflecting on the past year and a half of our lives, my friends and I compiled a list of the core things we wish we had known before now.

1. Befriend people who intimidate you 

Mean Girls

My first two semesters of college, I spent a lot of time being jealous of my peers who seemed to have it all together and were doing "better" than me. Once I actually became friends with some of these people, I realized that they're also just people and have struggles just like I do. I also found that by surrounding myself with equally (or more) motivated people, I was able to accomplish so much more.

2. Learn to say no every once in a while 

No

The opportunities on a college campus are just about endless, so it's easy to get caught up with so many things to do that you don't have time for what you actually want to do. Learning how to say no (and not feeling guilty about it) has helped me focus my energy and time on what matters most to me.

3. Mental health is so important 

Meditate

'Nuff said.

4. Stop telling yourself you can't be good at things 

Help

About halfway through the semester, I started running for the simple reason that I've always told myself it was something I couldn't do. After training for and finishing a 5K, I've proven myself wrong and gained a confidence that has transferred over into all aspects of my life.

5. You need all different types of people in your life 

Hug

It's important to have a balance of friends and family in your circle. You need some who you can laugh with, some who you can cry with, and some who nudge you out of your comfort zone.

6. Romantic relationships do not, and should not, define you as a person 

Patience

Over the years, I've been very insecure about my (non-existent) dating life. I've felt that I'm "less than" for having an S.O. This semester, I learned that having a strong support system is much more valuable than a strong romantic relationship. The right person will come along eventually.

7. Stepping out of your comfort zone usually works out well 

Comfort Zone

I have a lot of fear when it comes to meeting and talking to new people. I don't like to do things alone. This semester, I finally stepped out of my comfort zone in this regard by trying things by myself without a friend with me, and honestly, I had a blast.

8. Enjoy your alone time 

Roommates can become instant best friends. However, their presence automatically means you lose a large chunk of your alone time. When you get a free moment to yourself, take advantage of it. Your mental health will thank you.

9. Take part in events, no matter how cheesy they may seem 

Yes, colleges can be corny with some of their more wholesome activities. These events will only be available to you for a short portion of your life. I've found that sometimes you can make better memories at things like that than you can at a bar.

10.  Try things, even if you don't think you're good enough to keep up 

Try

So maybe you were the star in high school. Maybe you weren't. Either way, you shouldn't stop yourself from trying out for sports or activities in college because you think you "aren't good enough." No matter how big your college is, there's no way you'll know whether or not you can do something until you actually try to do it. More times than not, something will work out in your favor.

11.  Take advantage of the ridiculous amount of opportunities available to you. 

Do it

Your college years are going to be full of opportunities—both academic and social. You have every chance and every tool to succeed, it just comes down to actually taking the leap and making those opportunities work out for you.

Even though all of these things would have been nice to know in the past, I think that not knowing them made us into stronger human beings overall as we've learned and grown from our mistakes. So don't be afraid to fall into these traps yourself–sometimes, the best way to learn is to fall a few times before you can get up and stay up.

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
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Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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Beautiful: Nine Letters, Infinite Meanings

Macy's spring 2019 fashion commercial is making a statement by encouraging women to redefine beautiful

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While anxiously waiting for my show to turn back on during a commercial break, one commercial specifically caught my eye. It starting out with a blonde-haired woman, standing proud with a noticeable scar down her nose. As they flip to some clips of a diverse set of women, a power voice begins to speak. The first line immediately took hold of my attention.

"Beautiful, one word that holds the weight of thousands. We collect false promises, contorting ourselves to fit inside those letters"


Find Your Beautiful | Macy's Spring Fashion 2019 www.youtube.com

The commercial captures a diverse set of women as they confidently exemplify their own beauty in a day to day setting. In doing so, they are encouraging individuals to redefine what beauty really is, in this case, through appearance. Macy's is sending the message to their buyers that their products provide individuals the opportunity to express themselves in whatever way they want with their new spring collection. By going beyond the boundaries that are socially installed our expectations are expanded.

As silly as it sounds, the Macy's advertisement made me think. It made me think of the concept of beauty, and how we perceive it.

Beauty to us is a social construct. You scroll through your feed of bronzed, tall and thin figures and you are fed to think that she is the one and only form of beauty worth striving for. You look in the mirror and pick out your flaws and imperfections thinking that it lessens your beauty. We are taught to believe that beautiful has one meaning and that definition cannot stray from the cover of a magazine.

But in reality, Beauty is fluid. It is what you want it to be. It is an appearance. It is a perception. It is imperfect.

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