When I first started college back in 2017, I really didn't think my life would change that much. But as my sophomore year is wrapping up, looking back on the past two years makes me realize how much I really have changed as a person.
1. Your comfort zone isn't all that comfortable
In fact, it's probably the thing that will make you the most uncomfortable. When I started college, I totally thought that I would stick to my normal status-quo and that friends would come to me and we would have so much fun. I imagined we would do all of the things I did for fun at home and that I wouldn't really have to change my habits or my comfort levels to make friends and spend time with them. And oh, how wrong I was - but in the best way. I found out the hard way that if you want to make friends, you have to put yourself out there. You have to be willing to make compromises and try new things and experience life in a new way. My comfort zone is miles and miles wider than it was before I started college. I eat new foods, have new hobbies, go to new places, and have the best people to do those things with.
2. You're not as good with money as you think you are
Oh man. This is another lesson that I learned in the hardest way possible. Before I started college, I had a savings account with graduation money and some money that I and my parents had saved up over the last few years when I was in high school; I also had some money from working the summer before college started. Long story short, I ended up spending my entire savings account and all of my summer money during my freshman year of college. I finally had free reign over my finances and I took advantage of it in the worst way possible. However, I'm doing a lot better this year after learning a very hard lesson and being very broke the summer after my freshman year.
3. Waking up early is actually a lot more fun than staying up late
I know. It sounds gross. But I can't tell you how many times I brag about waking up at 6 am and getting tons of work done while my friends complain about staying up until 3 am and being behind in two classes. Plus, waking up early lets you go to bed early. Or take a nap because you have all your work done already. Trust me, you won't be losing any more sleep. And 8ams don't seem that bad!
4. FOMO is so, so real
When I was in high school, canceling plans with my friends was never really a big deal to me. Maybe I wanted to take a nap or eat dinner at home instead. I never really got jealous of my friends hanging out without me. But then I got to college... and now I can't say no to anything. I triple book myself 5 nights a week just so I know I'm not missing out on anything fun. It's exhausting, but so much fun.
5. You get really possessive over inanimate objects
Like your favorite floor at the library. Or your unassigned assigned seat in class. Or the belongings that you totally thought you wouldn't mind your roommate touching but now you feel like you need to put them in a locked safe. Or the pair of heels you lent to a girl on your hall to go to her formal and didn't get back for 3 months.
6. Dining hall food isn't all that bad
Only because it's free. Refer back to number 2 on this list.
7. You really are a zombie without coffee
I can't operate on my 8 am days anymore without a soy chai or a caramel macchiato. I won't. I refuse. I drink more coffee than water. It's bad.
8. It's okay if friendships and relationships don't work out
In college, everyone is finding themselves. If someone ends up not being right for you, that's okay. Most people are mature enough to go separate ways and move on. Deciding that your boyfriend of almost a year isn't going to be the man you marry is okay. Sure, it'll be really hard to readjust and maybe you'll have to find a new group of friends, but everyone is continuously searching for the complements that can help them find themselves. Breaking off one friendship or relationship that isn't good for you or doesn't make you happy could result in 5 new friendships and a better significant other falling right in your lap.
9. You really care about sports
Or at least, you have fun watching them. When I was in high school, I went to the occasional basketball game because my friend was on the team, and I was dragged to a handful of football games. In college, I wake up at 9 am on Saturdays to walk all the way across campus to watch basketball games, I sit in the blistering sun for baseball games, and I do everything I can to end up in the stadium for every single football game. It's the most fun ever and really sends your school spirit levels through the roof.
10. Being yourself is the best thing you can do
In high school, I struggled a lot with wanting to fit in and sacrificing certain parts of myself to make sure that happened. I thought I would have to do the same in college, but I never have. I decided to be myself from day one and as a result, I am surrounded by a boyfriend and friends that truly love me and accept me for who I am and are friends with me even though I don't pretend around them as I did in high school. College also taught me a lot about self-love and that there is always someone who will love and support you exactly as you are.
As my sophomore year comes to an end and I prepare myself for my last semester, I can't wait to see the last few lessons that college has in store for me before I graduate. The changes I have made to my mindset so far are ones that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.