To The College Freshman, It's OK Not To Be OK

To The College Freshman, It's OK Not To Be OK

You can take a break sometimes.

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In college, you're supposed to thrive; at least that's what my Instagram feed convinces me every day. Everyone, especially in freshman year, seems to be having the time of their lives every single weekend. On the one hand, that's what college is all about: meeting new friends, having fun, and getting involved. On the other hand, however, it can all feel a little too overwhelming. After scrolling through my feed and seeing post after post about a crazy night out or a fun party, I felt a little bad about myself. Do these people ever get homesick? I thought. Or even just tired? When I wanted to slow down, or even have a night in, it felt like everyone was speeding right on ahead and leaving me behind.

It was hard to admit that I needed a minute to myself freshman year. Anyone can tell you that my biggest downfall is intense FOMO (fear of missing out). When my friends went to a party, I felt that I had to go too, or else I would miss some serious memories we would be looking back on forever. Even if I felt sad or exhausted, I forced myself up and out of the dorm to socialize. I had a lot of fun nights and great times with this mentality, but looking back now as a sophomore, I wish I could tell that girl that it's okay to not be totally okay.

I think everyone can agree that college isn't the easiest, and even though the most social of butterflies would try and disagree, it's mentally taxing. As a freshman, your friends are brand new, your environment is foreign, and homesickness is something that comes in small waves throughout the year rather than one big tidal wave at the beginning. It is a constant battle between wanting to be social and not miss a single thing and carving out time to yourself.

To the freshman feeling this intense social pressure: you're not alone.

It may feel like it's impossible to get a moment's rest and that everyone is over missing their dog or their mom or the smell of their own house. Trust me, everyone feels it, and, most likely, everyone is in the same place you are and trying to put on a brave face. It is okay to admit that you need a minute or that you need a whole day to watch Netflix in solitude. It is hard to pull yourself out of the craziness that is your freshman year of college, but a moment to take care of yourself is something that is always needed.

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10 Ways College Is 100% NOTHING Like High School

Once-a-day showers go to dry shampoo for four days straight.

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As a college freshman well into their second semester, it has officially occurred to me just how different, and often times better, college is compared to its predecessor, high school.

Here are just 10 ways the two could not be MORE different:

1. How you sleep

You'll go from waking up three hours before school to three minutes before class

2. How you hygiene

Once-a-day showers develop into dry shampoo for four days straight.

3. How you eat

Pizza goes from a once-in-a-while treat to an everyday food group.

4. How you socialize

You'll go from being nice to everyone to disliking people for no reason.

5. How much effort you put into your appearance

High school contour was on fleek and now there's somehow mascara on your forehead.

6. How you nap

Naps go from two hours to 10 minutes.

7. How you operate heavy machinery

Driving goes from 10 and 2 with perfectly lined up mirrors to driving with your knees and eating a taco.

8. Your classmates

High school classes are with all of your friends and college classes have strangers in them almost every day.

9. The people teaching you things

High school teachers are scary and mean, while college professors become your friends.

10. Textbooks

High school textbooks are provided where college textbooks need to be bought with another student loan.

Cover Image Credit: Instargram//Madsbythesea

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Thank You, Freshman Year, For All The Memories

I will miss you.

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I remember always dreaming about college and imagining what it would look like. I anticipated freshman year of college since about 7th grade and imagined how amazing it would be and what wonderful and exciting things would happen. Now, here it is at the end of my freshman year and it's over. It is hard to believe that I will never get this year back, and the long-awaited freshman year has been completed. And while I am sad that it is over, and yet excited for the future years, all I can really think about was how wonderful this year was and all I am grateful for.

Thank you for the countless new faces. Never in a period of my life have I met so many people with different backgrounds. Whether we only said hi one time, or met awkwardly at some function or another, or maybe we still say hi every time we see each other, I am so grateful for all the new people that I can say I know. Each new person I have met has been an opportunity to meet people with new backgrounds and learn even more how each person is a new story. Thank you, freshman year, for all the many new faces.

Thank you for the new knowledge. I had always heard that college would be about enlightenment and knowledge, but I deep down assumed I already knew everything. This year has shown me that I, in fact, do not know everything and surprisingly know only very little. I am grateful for the different lessons I have learned inside and outside the classroom and cannot wait for more.

Thank you for the challenges. Freshman year was not only happy times. It was full of transitions, of grieving, of saying goodbye within so many hellos, of figuring out who I want to be and who I am, trying to feel known in a time of such unknowns, and adjusting to a new normal. Thank you for the hard times, thank you for the 1 a.m. tears, the late-night calls home, and the moments of uncertainty because it was in those times that I grew and realized how strong I am and can be.

Thank you for the memories. From late night walks to Taco Bell, to waking up 15 minutes before a final exam, this year brought with it countless laughs, unforgettable nights, and memories I will treasure forever. I always dreamed what Freshman year would be like but had no idea it would be better than I ever imagined. Thank you for the new friends that mean so much to me, for all the love I've learned to give myself and others, and the knowledge that there is still so much more to come.

Freshman year may be done, but I am so excited that college is not!

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