I just have to point out that in true college fashion, this semester in review, if you will, is coming to you a grand month into the new semester. If that isn't the epitome of college, I'm not sure what is.
The first and perhaps the most important thing that the beginning of college has taught me is that you have to let go of expectations. There are a million different stories and opinions coming at you your senior year of high school about what college is like and what you should do once you get there. But the truth is, everyone is different. There is no quintessential college experience because no college lifestyle is superior to any other one.
There are some people who go to every single school spirit/ sporting event that the school has to offer and there are others (like me) who are content with attending a couple games a season and enjoying their Saturday afternoons not melting into the stands of McLane stadium during Waco's stupidly hot fall.
But the point is, you do you. And honestly, it might take you a while to figure out what kind of life you want to have in college. Maybe it requires a few all-nighters and poor choices before you decide the things you like, the crowd you want to run in, and what you want to make of your college years.
And speaking of running in crowds, I present to you: friends. They're probably one of the most challenging parts of college. Now your first semester is really designed to get you socializing and making new friends, but you're making them in a way that you never did when you were younger. College requires you to reach out, to push yourself, and to get out of your comfort zone. And having friends doesn't mean you'll spend 24/7 with them. In college, everyone has different priorities which mean you may only get to hang out with certain friends once or twice a week. That doesn't make those friendships invalid, it's just a sign that you're growing up and having less time and more responsibility.
I've always known that being a good friend is important, but college has taught me that it's one of the most important roles you can play in someone's life. College is a time when you're moving away from home, turning a leaf, and trying things out for yourself. It can be lonely, confusing, exhausting, exhilarating. The one thing everyone needs is a friend. People will try to tell you that college is about dating or finding your person or ring by spring but really it's about friends, so do your best to be a good one.
Now there's also the cliche advice about not taking 8 a.m. classes, eating pizza every day in the dining hall, or partying on a Thursday night when you have class in the morning, but all of that stuff seems rather obvious.
If there was one thing I could go back and tell myself about the beginning it would be to relax and let the kinks work themselves out. Nothing is going to be the way you expected and that's ok. Have fun, work hard, and be kind, that's really all you need to know.