Lessons I Wish Someone Told Me Before Freshman Year Started

Lessons I Wish Someone Told Me Before Freshman Year Started

College is not like the movies, so here are a few tips that I learned to help you through what can potentially be the best or the most difficult year of your life so far.

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You cannot make friends if you spend the first few weeks of school when other freshmen are scrambling to form "friend groups," from inside your dorm.

When it comes to finding your group, I believe that the first few weeks of freshman year are the most crucial. This is the time when everyone is the most friendly and inviting; I cannot even count the number of times some stranger came up to me, introduced themselves, gave me their snapchat, and promised we would hang out, only to never be seen again.

Take advantage of this time by spending the majority of your day outside of your dorm and solidifying these acquaintances. With this, do not always wait for someone else to reach out to you. People are so wrapped up in their own lives that they forget to consider others, so be that person to reach out first. If not for them, do it for yourself. You will thank yourself later.

If you cannot accomplish a goal through the seemingly most easy and obvious route, get creative and persistent. You can often accomplish the same goal by going through the window rather than the door.

Especially in large colleges like Syracuse, you will be overwhelmed by the number of rules you must wrestle, different crucial departments across campus that may all give you contrasting information, and different hierarchies you must access and make sense out of in order to seek information that is applicable to the goals you seek to accomplish.

Many of these people may tell you "no", but I truly believe that with a little creativity and determination, rules can be bent and broken. The key to this is to convince people to believe in you and recognize your determination. Once people believe in you personally and want to see you achieve, they will be willing to do a little leg work to help you break those stubborn rules.

Do not put so much pressure on yourself to fall in love with the college by setting so many expectations that may disappoint you with their results.

I get it, you have been fantasizing about what college would look like for you ever since your freshman year of high school. Movies and tv shows paint this unrealistic perception of the 'Hollywood version' of college, which neglects to include the crucial knowledge that college is actually really hard, and it certainly is not all rainbows, butterflies, and parties.

Despite all of your efforts to feel that seemingly perfect Gossip Girl, or 90210, our The Vampire Diaries college experience, you may struggle to feel a sense of belonging on your campus, and it may be really difficult to feel a sense of loneliness while all of your peers seem to be in love with college.

Start building your resume; this is crucial.

College is more than going from class to parties; it is an opportunity to define who you are, and reflect what you bring to any table as an individual. Potential employers what to see that you pursue your passions through getting involved in extra circulars, work, community service, and other organizations that reflect your drive, work ethic, and accountability.

I find that my experience as a bank teller for two summers is a crucial talking point that often wins over professors, potential employers, and organizations I am applying to. Letting your freshman year fly by with an empty resume is doing a disservice to your future self.

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10 Things I Threw Out AFTER Freshman Year Of College

Guess half the stuff on your packing list doesn't really matter
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I spent the entire summer before my freshman year of college so WORRIED.

I also spent most of my money that summer on miscellaneous dorm stuff. I packed the car when the time finally came to move in, and spent the drive up excited and confused about what the heck was actually going on.

Freshman year came and went, and as I get ready to go back to school in just a few short weeks (!!), I'm starting to realize there's just a whole bunch of crap I just don't need.

After freshman year, I threw out:

1. Half my wardrobe.

I don't really know what I was thinking of owning 13 sweaters and 25 T-shirts in the first place. I wear the same five T-shirts until I magically find a new one that I probably got for free, and I put on jeans maybe four times. One pair is enough.

2. Half my makeup.

Following in the theme of #1, if I put on makeup, it's the same eyeliner-mascara combination as always. Sometimes I spice it up and add lipstick or eyeshadow.

3. My vacuum.

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One, I basically never did it. Two, if I REALLY needed to vacuum, dorms rent out cleaning supplies.

4. Most of my photos from high school.

I didn't throw them ALL away, but most of them won't be making a return to college. Things change, people change, your friends change. And that's okay.

5. Excess school supplies.

Binders are heavy and I am lazy. I surprisingly didn't lose that many pens, so I don't need the fifty pack anymore. I could probably do without the crayons.

6. Cups/Plates/Bowls/Silverware.

Again, I am lazy. I cannot be bothered to wash dishes that often. I'll stick to water bottles and maybe one coffee cup. Paper plates/bowls can always be bought, and plastic silverware can always be stolen from different places on campus.

7. Books.

I love to read, but I really don't understand why I thought I'd have the time to actually do it. I think I read one book all year, and that's just a maybe.

8. A sewing kit.

I don't even know how to sew.

9. Excessive decorations.

It's nice to make your space feel a little more cozy, but not every inch of the wall needs to be covered.

10. Throw pillows.

At night, these cute little pillows just got tossed to the floor, and they'd sit there for days if I didn't make my bed.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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I'm Not The Person I Was In High School And I'm Not Sorry I Changed

I'm sorry, the old me can't come to the phone right now.

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If those who knew me in high school hung out with me now, they probably wouldn't recognize me. If my friends from college hung out with me around two years ago, they probably wouldn't recognize me. It's safe to say I've changed... a lot. I definitely find the change to be for the better and I couldn't be happier with the person I've become.

In high school, I would sit at home every night anxiously waiting to leave and go out. Now, honestly, going out is the last thing I want to do any night of the week. While everyone in college is at a fraternity party or at the bars, I prefer to sit at home on the couch, watching Netflix with my boyfriend. That's an ideal night for me and it is exactly the opposite of what I wanted to do a couple of years ago. There's nothing wrong with going out and partying, it's just not what I want to do anymore.

I craved attention in high school. I went to the parties and outings so I could be in Snapchats and photos, just so people would know I was there. I hung out with certain groups of people just so I could say I was "friends" with so-and-so who was so very popular. I wanted to be known and I wanted to be cool.

Now, I couldn't care less. I go to the bars or the parties if I really feel like it or if my friends make me feel bad enough for never going anywhere that I finally decide to show up. It's just not my scene anymore and I no longer worry about missing out.

If you could look back at me during my junior year of high school, you probably would've found me searching for the best-ranked party schools and colleges with the best nearby clubs or bars. Now, you can find me eating snacks on the couch on a Friday night watching the parties through other peoples' Snapchats.

Some may say that I'm boring now, and while I agree that my life is a little less adventurous now than it was in high school, I don't regret the lifestyle changes I've made. I feel happier, I feel like a better person, I feel much more complete. I'm not sorry that I've changed since high school and I'm not sorry that I'm not living the typical "college lifestyle." I don't see anything wrong with that life, it's just not what makes me happy and it's not what I want to do anymore.

I've become a different person since high school and I couldn't be happier about it. I have a lot that's contributed to the change, but my boyfriend definitely was the main factor as he showed me that staying in can be a million times better than a night out. My interests and my social cravings have completely transitioned into that of an 80-year-old grandma, but I don't regret it.

Change doesn't have to be a bad thing. In fact, it can bring a lot more happiness and comfort. The transition from high school to college is drastic, but you can also use it as an opportunity to transition from one lifestyle to another. I don't regret the lifestyle flip I made and I couldn't be less apologetic about it.

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