My Freshman Year At The University Of Georgia

My Freshman Year At The University Of Georgia

What it has taught me.

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When I first decided I would be attending the University of Georgia, I was ecstatic. It was close to my hometown, I had people I knew who were coming here, and everything was perfect. The closer it got to move in day, and the more I thought about it, I had no idea what I was getting into. My entire life was about to change. I would be living in a new city, going to school in a new city, and have to adjust literally every aspect of my life. I wasn't prepared for that, but then again, I'm not sure anyone ever is. Here's what I've learned in the past nine months.

I learned that change isn't a bad thing. I have never, ever, in my entire life, enjoyed change. It scares me. It stresses me out. I never know what to expect. I thought that if everything around me changed, I had to change too. While that's not necessarily a bad thing, senior me in high school thought it was. The first month of college me thought it was. About a month into college, someone very close to me told me something that really stuck. He said to me, "embrace and own the changes to come. Know that you are valued and have so many talents, whether you want to admit it or not." I thought that change meant that I didn't know who I was, or that what I was doing was wrong. It took me a while to realize that change isn't representative of incorrect, but rather of growth.

I learned the importance of having good friendships. See, in college (or for me at least) it's so easy to meet people and make acquaintances, but it's hard to make actual friends. You see so many people every day in the dining halls, in class, and just walking around campus, but there are very few situations that allow for deep connections to be made. I found the importance of different organizations and how they impacted my social life.

I learned the importance of having good, intentional friendships. So yeah, you have your friends in English class, and you have a group of people in your dorm you socialize with, but those aren't going to be good enough in college. In college, you have to be intentional with every single relationship you have. You have to meet half way for with each other, be there for each other, and help each other whenever possible. You don't have time for anything less anymore.

I learned that it doesn't matter who you are or where you came from, studying is a MUST. In high school, I didn't study. I didn't have to. Somehow, I retained any information that I needed to. Yeah, I was THAT kid. Oops. College was a big slap in the face when I realized I couldn't just skate through classes anymore. If I wanted the same grades I wanted in high school, I had to work hard for them. I had to figure out a study system and schedule that worked with me. No, I didn't like it either.

Freshman year at UGA changed me in so many ways, I would probably need another hand if I wanted to use my fingers to count. I've grown as both a person and a student, but more importantly, I've changed. Look at me go. I've learned so many things this past year, but that's probably the biggest one.

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To The Friends Who Are Struggling With Dark Times, Don't Ever Forget The Light Your Bring To Others

You're doing your best and I see that.

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To my struggling friends as the new semester begins to kick in, I see you.

You are doing great.

I see your tears of frustration, anger, and stress. It hurts me to see you overwhelmed and stressed. It hurts me to see that you don't see what I see. When I look at you, (Emily, this ones for you) I see a determined driven young woman. I see someone who is striving to get her sh*t together before midterms.

With the countless hours of flight lessons you complete or attempt to complete, the long hours you work on the weekends, and the amount of time I see you put into our church, I can see how you think that you're not doing as hot as you want to be. I can see that you don't see you as I do because you're too busy focusing on your academics, Faith, and finances. I get it, but I want you to know that despite these things, you're amazing.

Despite the fact that you may not have time to step back and reflect on the amazing person that you are, I make the time to reflect for you.

Your hard work doesn't go unnoticed. The way that you always make time for the things you love even if it means interference with something else is something that not a lot of girls in our class do. I admire the way you prioritize and balance your life. Although you may not feel as though you have your poop in a group, it looks like you do.

And that, my friend, is wonderful.

Not because you seem like something you may not be, but because it shows strength and balance. Strength and balance I wish I'd developed sooner. You're doing your best and even though sometimes it may feel like your best isn't enough, for me, it is. For me, I see you doing your best, I see you trying, I see you engaged. Just remember that your best is always good enough for me. It is when you do something well above what you think is your best that I remember why you're my best friend. You put forth everything you have into everything you do and that's a quality that many people lack.

I want to remind you that although you don't feel 100%, it is because of your endless love and dedication that I am where I am today.

Your motivation is what has gotten me to church, back to the gym, and out of bed every morning. You are my favorite person and I feel as though you need to hear this every single day and I try to tell you every day how much you mean to me. You deserve nothing less than genuine happiness and success. You are the type of friend that I didn't know I needed until I met you. Now that you're in my life, good luck leaving. There is nobody else I'd rather worship with, workout with, or get weird stares from other people with. You bring out the absolute best in me and that's something I haven't been able to say about anybody ever. So, to my friend who is struggling, I love you and this storm will also pass.

To my other friends who may be struggling, know that I feel the exact same way about you.

Your smiles are the sunshine in my day. Your laughter is music to my ears, especially the snorts that come along with it. Your hard work and determination is refreshing. Your endless love for me, the gym, genuine happiness, God, coffee, and breakfast dates is rare. I can't express my love for you in words, there just aren't enough of them. I can't express my thanks for having you in my life enough, there just isn't enough thanks to go around. You are my reason to keep going, to persevere, to push through, to get out of bed. You are my reason behind what I do. You are the reason I found myself when I was lost. You are my reason.

So when you feel like the going is tough, like you're not worthy, like you don't want to go on with anything, just remember that I look to you for everything.

That you give me purpose and a reason to thrive. Remember that when you don't feel loved, I love you. I love you with everything in me and you make my world keep spinning. Without you, there would be no true me. You are worthy of everything life has to offer you. You are worthy of so much, so please, remember that the next time you feel as though you're not worthy.

Because you are. You are the light and I love you.

~Happy Life~

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6 Ways I Was Able To Achieve Straight A's At The University Of Georgia This Semester

It honestly took me entirely too long to figure out how to do well in my classes.

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It is super common for students to come to the University of Georgia and have a horrible first year academically, because of the rigor and new stresses. High school doesn't prepare you for it, and it can often times make you feel really crappy about yourself. It is common for straight A students to come to UGA and start making C's. The reasons vary from studying habits to a new environment, but either way, it is the worst feeling in the world to be top of your class, and get to college and start falling behind. I haven't really made bad grades in college, but I came to UGA with a 4.2 GPA and I can assure you that was NOT the case after my first semester.

1. I stopped relying solely on my memory and used my resources.

I have always been the type of person to have a planner, but it even takes a lot to remember to look at the planner. Therefore, it was time to take things to the next level. I reminded myself of deadlines, events, and assignments in various ways to make sure I didn't slip up. This included google calendar, putting up a whiteboard in my room, notecards with important dates, etc. I have major anxiety about forgetting things, so to solve that, I just literally wrote them everywhere I possibly could.

2. I figured out why I was in college and what my purpose was.

It's hard to do something every day that you aren't even sure about. When I started to make lower grades, it was easy for me to think I was at the wrong place or doing the wrong thing. I had to really make confirm that college was for me and what I really wanted for myself. I did this by studying abroad and getting to know some of my professors. I learned that I really loved to learn and wanted to continue living in a scholarly world. All and all, I figured out that I really belonged here and I could do it.

3. I changed my major.

It was super hard for me to do this because I am the type of person that creates a plan and sticks to it. Changing my major meant that the plan was changing too, and that was one of the hardest decisions I've made. But once I changed my major to something that better fit me and what I wanted to do in the future (changed it from Risk Management and Insurance to Consumer Journalism), I was more confident and eager to make better grades.

4. I realized that everyone is in the same boat.

UGA admissions state that in 2018, the high school core GPA Overall Average of All Admitted First-Year Students was a 4.07. That means just about everyone coming in pretty much got all A's, dual enrolled, and/or took AP classes. But I can assure you, there aren't many people who continue to get those kinds of grades. And that's okay. College is much harder and it takes time to adjust. I had to realize I wasn't the only one.

5. I put school before EVERYTHING.

I missed events for my clubs, time with my friends, and I honestly probably watched Netflix a total of 10 times maximum. I decided if I was going to be in college, then it would be my first and only priority. It's easy to say that, but it's hard to miss fun things when this is supposed to be the "best four years of your life." But you kind of just have to come to terms with the fact that there will always be more chances to do those things, but if you make a bad grade it isn't necessarily going to go away.

6. When I could, I started saying YES.

It was easy for me to constantly feel like I had no time to do any more clubs or activities, but it was possible with balance and strategic planning. The more things I was involved in like UGA HEROs, Young Democrats, or even Odyssey Online, the more excited I was about what I was doing with my life. I even became a notetaker for two of my classes so I was forced to take good notes and go to class. I also studied abroad when I felt like I had absolutely no time and it turned out to be an experience that I will never forget. I said yes to things I was genuinely passionate about and things that would help me further develop skills for my future career(s).

Ultimately, to make the grades I wanted, I had to reevaluate everything I was doing and put the work in. It is all about your mindset and how far you are willing to push yourself. It's about things like being willing to do the extra credit, going to the office hours, staying in when everyone else is going out, giving yourself adequate time to study, and being surrounded by people who have similar goals. I also REALLY wanted my Zell Miller Scholarship back and I made it a goal to get there. Set goals and make them happen. If you are wanting to get better grades, my advice would be to emirs yourself completely into school. It doesn't sound super fun or cool, but it is only a few years and the return will be totally worth it. If you are studying something that you are passionate about, it shouldn't be hard to direct that energy into your schoolwork.

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