College is filled with endless opportunities and it is a great place for self-discovery. I was more than excited to move on from high school and have a change.
I knew I needed something different, I needed somewhere different to begin again.
Although it did grant me what I wanted, there were a few things along the way that I didn't either expect, anticipate, or realize would come along with the experience. And we should talk about them.
1. There will be some classes where you won't have friends in it, and that's okay.
During the first week of the semester, everyone's sitting awkwardly in their seats looking at one another in dire hope that someone will speak up to start a conversation first. Sometimes, they are people around you that will want to talk first or they will be open to talking after you spark up a conversation. But also, sometimes, that isn't always the case. Sometimes we don't always click with people. Now that isn't entirely a bad thing, it's not like you both aren't good people. Just sometimes people aren't good together and don't entirely click. So if you feel like this applies to you, I'm here to say that you aren't alone in this. So many of my friends and I can agree that we have had/have classes that we don't particularly have friends in, and sure it can sometimes be lonesome. But at the same time, you're here to learn and not every class is going to be social. So keep your head up, just pay attention to the class, and occupy yourself by note taking and getting as much out of the class as you can!
2. There will be times that will get lonely
This one kind of snuck up on me in college. You have this idea that when you go off to college that you will never feel lonely because there are SO many people around you 24/7. However, that really isn't the case. There are going to be times where meals will be spent alone and sometimes studying will be spent at a small wooden desk in the corner of a quiet floor in the library by yourself. I won't sugarcoat it, it's hard and it can be really saddening sometimes. But, sometimes its necessary to show yourself that you can be independent and maybe, just maybe, you can provide yourself the kind of happiness that you can also receive from others. Sometimes when I know I will have a stressful day ahead, I plan out a really cute outfit that will make me feel confident in my body. Let me tell you, that boosts my confidence 100% and it really starts your day on a good foot. So yeah, for sure have those days where you reach out to a friend to get coffee with you or have a study buddy to cram for an exam. But also, have those nights by yourself and make the best out of it. Put on a really comfy sweater, listen to a new album by your favorite band, and go full force into your studies. When you are alone, it doesn't mean you have to feel lonely. Provide that happiness for yourself in little ways.
3. To meet people, you have to get involved and put yourself out there. Even when it’s scary.
Sure, it is optional to get involved in clubs, Greek life, community service, sports, and etc. But, when you are in college, it isn't easy to find people and get to know a lot of people. So, get involved. It's the time in your life that if you want a sense of community around you, you have to be the person to do it for yourself. In life, people won't always come up to you first. So, go up to them first! Reach out to organizations that interest you! Get to know people around you, you may find someone in a club that is in your classes! You never know who you'll meet that could change your life for the better.
4. Don’t be bullheaded, reach out and get help if you need it.
Just because you are struggling with something, doesn't mean you need to suffer alone. Don't be bullheaded and think, "Oh I'll fix it for myself." Let people help you, people WANT to help you if you allow them to. Even if it's struggling in a class, to having mental health issues, reach out to a professional. You aren't alone, and you shouldn't have to suffer alone. Let people help you.
5. You aren’t going to get an A in every class, and that doesn’t define your character.
In college, you are going to face courses that are going to be a pain in the butt. Sometimes, it will be a professor that is bad at teaching the material and/or the material is hard to comprehend. Whatever the case may be, it doesn't define your character or your intelligence. There was a cartoon that I once saw that perfectly describes our education system. It had a line up of different animals being asked to climb a tree to pass the class. Of course, it was an easy task for an animal such as a monkey, but an impossible one for the fish in the water bowl. That is like different subjects with different kind of people. Certain courses will click and be a breeze, and some will be really hard and you'll have to work for. But that doesn't say anything about you, and you shouldn't take it to heart. Put in all of the efforts that you can, and then walk away and don't let it get to you. Trust me, five years from now you won't be thinking about that one exam you took in your economics class. It is minuscule in the scheme of things.
6. If you live on campus, leave campus every now and then.
Sometimes with all of the work that gets piled up on your shoulders, even on your breaks your stressed out that you are wasting time or forgetting something. Give yourself a breather and maybe leave campus for a little bit. From even a fifteen minute walk to the closest coffee shop, to driving back home for a weekend. Yes, school is important, but your mental health is more important. Take care of yourself, and let yourself have a breather. Go see a movie one night, take yourself out to a nice dinner, get a really good book from Barnes and Noble, watch a funny standup on Netflix. Do something that makes you happy.