First semester is rough, but it really does get better.
It's been seven months since I came to college. I feel like I've been in college for a while, but at the same time not long at all. There's been a lot of firsts and a lot of lasts this past year and during spring semester I've gained more awareness, learned how to manage time and get involved.
Even though I didn't miss living in a dorm over the long breaks, they are many things I've learned:
How not to be a jerk
Thank you, college, for teaching me to not be rude if I possibly can in any circumstance. Even though I may be in a bad mood sometimes, I'm able to always find something positive to say. Turning negativity into positivity is so special and all around an important skill to have.
2. Learn and grow as a person
Even though first semester was very challenging with a lot more negatives than positives, second semester is like a complete 180. Learning how to grow as a person and the one I want to become has been the most important part. Also, having the consciousness to fix your life the way you want it and getting to where you want to be is helpful.
3. Put yourself out there and don't stop getting involved
Try as many things as you can that will help benefit you and only you. Life is too short to join an organization just because your friend is in it. Everything in college is about YOU. Having enough confidence to meet people, introducing yourself and making conversations with people is key to actually making friends. Hermits get nowhere people.
4. Create a positive environment for your roommate
Creating a positive environment for my roommate not only makes me feel better about myself but also gives the person I share my room with a nice experience. It doesn't matter if the person comes from a different background. College is something you only get to experience one time. It's better to be nice, positive, and peppy even on bad days. You don't have to be best friends with your roommate, but instead, just be friendly.
5. When in doubt, always say hi
Regardless of how I feel, if I see someone I know I always try to say hi. I'm going to be the one to say, if you don't wave or say hi to people you know that's just weird, you're making it weird for yourself.
6. Talk to people
I can't believe I even have to put this one down, but yes it's here. My communications class during my first semester of college was key to making meaningful friendships. I've never learned so much about how to communicate with people with positivity. If only I had learned this four years ago as a freshman in high school…
7. How to have something in common with everyone
One of the best parts of living in a dorm this year was the ability to start a conversation with anyone and have something in common. I've learned its very time consuming to analyze and separate people based on what you have in common with them. It's also better to not make as many judgments about a person without really knowing them. Don't waste time about what you don't know.
8. Always give other people the respect they deserve
Giving other people respect, regardless of what they look like, is important. It's the basis of all communication.
9. How to be outgoing without getting drunk
I feel like this is an easy one, but unfortunately, there are so many people who do this on the weekends. I don't know how people get through life by living this lifestyle. You can still be outgoing without going to parties or getting wasted. Have fun, but also get your work done.
10. Don't spend money of stuff you don't need
With a lack of space in a dorm room, buying stuff you don't need is not worth it. This means, if you buy too much, something you bought may end up sitting on the floor because you have nowhere to put it. This creates a domino effect of not being able to clean the floor or tripping over objects in the middle of the night and waking up your roommate.
11. Stay well and eat
Remember to eat and stay well by not being too worn down. It's easier said than done but allowing your body to recover and not over-scheduling yourself pays off.
12. It gets better
First semester will be rough, to say the least, but after a full semester of trying to adjust, it only gets better. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt with a new learning experience that is bigger than yourself. It will be hard, and you will want to give up, but it is so rewarding.
13. Work hard first semester
It may be hard to stay focused because of culture shock of being in a new place and community, but if you work hard, you can do well. This is the easiest semester you will have. It's OK to slip up, but not for long. The professors will get better, I promise.
14. Don't feel the pressure to decide on a major right away
You have plenty of time to explore different career paths during freshman year. However, make sure to decide on a major during sophomore year at the latest(depending on requirements and to get into the major).
15. Try hard to find a good roommate
For freshman year, finding a roommate is like speed dating. You basically agree to be roommates with someone on Facebook and talk to as many people as possible to maybe find the right match. It's hard knowing who is going to be the right fit knowing life will be completely different once you start college. Here is a link of questions that you should ask every potential roommate.
16. Have a car if you can
Having a car second semester freshman year has been a true blessing. The secret is having enough credits to be a sophomore. Although it involves more responsibility, it is better for your mental health and the ability to go places. This way you are not stuck in a dorm room all the time. Having a car also integrates a normal life of mobility, for example, going to the movies, going home for the weekend, picking up a prescription at the pharmacy.
17. The bookstore is not your friend
Avoid buying books from the bookstore at all costs because of the expensive price. Chegg or textbooks.com is where it's at.
18. Everyone's equal
In college, everyone is working towards an undergraduate degree at the least and is working towards the same common goal. No one is really above each other. College is a community where people help each other as much as possible.
There will be times where you will question everything and that is OK. Know that you have more than you think you do and be thankful for everything that you have.