The Truth About Your Freshman Year Of College

The Truth About Your Freshman Year Of College

Your college experience is expressed and expected to be one of freedom, fun, and learning.

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Freshman year of college is something that is hyped up throughout your high school and sometimes even your middle school years. Everyone who has had a traditional college experience will speak about college like it is their glory days. "You'll have the best four years of your life" and "Man I wish I could go back" are the common phrases that you'll hear from siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and family friends.

Going into my freshman year of college, I had very high expectations for what my freshman year was going to be like. I expected to gain close friendships almost immediately, to deeply enjoy my classes and class schedule, and to be able to express myself in a way that I wasn't able to express myself in college. On move-in day, I could not wait to start my college experience and I was so excited about the amazing year I had ahead of me.

In all honesty, freshman year was nothing that I was expecting it to be.

I had a really hard time transitioning from high school into college and I don't think that was something anyone could have prepared me for. Not only was it a change in terms of the environment, but it was also a major change in terms of lifestyle. I suddenly found myself surrounded by people who held a lot of different morals than I did.

I was surrounded by people who were making choices that I felt were wrong but I felt like they were all pushing me into that direction. I tried my best to fight peer pressure and temptation but along the way I found myself going down some of the wrong paths. I had an expectation that it would be so easy to uphold my own beliefs in college but once I arrived I met a peer pressure that I had never before experienced in high school.

The first semester of my freshman year was definitely a rough time for me. I didn't meet my expectations of what I thought my freshman year was going to be like, and I fell into a sequence of focusing solely on the negative aspects that were happening in my life. I feel into a deep pit of sadness and despair and suddenly I felt like college wasn't right for me because I wasn't making the choices that I wanted to be making.

When the New Year came around, I promised myself that I was going to put more of a focus on myself. I was going to stop worrying about social status, obtaining ridiculously set goals in classes, fake relationships, and finding new relationships. For once in my life, I decided I was going to put my faith into God's hands and waited to see what he decided to do with my life.

This experience was one that changed my life.

When I chose to let God control my life, I finally felt at peace in my life. I felt like I could be myself. I felt like for once in my life I didn't have to experience extreme anxiety when I felt like I couldn't take control of my own life. With time to focus on me, I finally started to regain the confidence and self-worth that I had felt before coming to school. I realized that my past was not something that defined me and I realized that it was never too late to change the way I lived.

For those of you who are wondering about freshman year, I'm sure a lot of people are going to tell you that every single minute of it is absolutely amazing. The truth is, that's far from the truth. The truth is, you're going to have days that really suck. There are going to be days when you're up to 3 am studying for the exam you eventually come to fail.

There are going to be days when you miss your own bed at home so bad but yet still you have to force yourself to climb up into your uncomfortable cramped dorm room bed. There are going to be days where you wish your Mom could be there to hug you and tell you everything is going to be okay. There are going to be days when the person you like doesn't like you back. There are going to be days where you make major mistakes and you feel major regret and guilt. There are days that are going to make you wish you had never left for college.

The thing is though is that it's totally normal.

Even though you may feel like you are the only one having bad days in college, you are most definitely not the only one. Every college student experiences these days and these moments. College is a mixture of good and bad moments meaning that it is totally okay to experience bad days in college. And even if you feel as if these bad days are a product of your own behavior and choices, please know that you have the ability to change. You have the strength and power to change the ways that you act in order to change your life. You will make mistakes, but know that your mistakes do not define you and you always have the opportunity to make a change in your life.

Your freshman year is one that's filled with a lot of mixed emotions. Like people say, it certainly can be the start to some of the best years to your life but at the same time don't let that fool you.

It's okay to not be okay in college.

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6 Things I Didn't Really Need in My Freshman Dorm, And 6 Things I Wish I Brought Instead

I promise you, being Pinterest-worthy just doesn't make sense in a dorm.
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As I packed up my dorm room and unpacked it all once I got home, I kinda felt stupid. I moved in with 2 cars full of stuff (yes, I know how extra that sounds and yes, it was indeed that extra) and I didn't end up needing half of it. Now, I'm swimming in stuff I need to get rid of while holding on to the stuff I didn't realize I would need and ended up buying mid-year. No matter how much you think you know everything, first-time dorm residents, please listen.

6 things I DIDN'T need but swore I did

1. All my personal books

I mean, I'm an English major and I love to read, but no one, and I mean no one, A) has free time and B) uses that free time to read in college.

2. Keurig

There's a coffee shop I can use my cafe credits at on my way to class. I never woke up early enough to brew my own coffee, and I never craved it bad enough in the afternoon to feel like I needed to make my own immediately. It was nice to make tea with though.

3. Dishes and Silverware/Excessive Mugs

All you need is 1 mug and a couple of water bottles. I promise you paper plates and plastic silverware are all you need.

4. An overabundance of office supplies

I didn't use all those fancy office supplies in high school, so as much as I love them, I have yet to reach for them in college.

5. T.V.

The T.V. I had was only slightly bigger than my laptop screen and the wifi at my dorm wasn't good enough for streaming. I hardly used it, but I know others used theirs a lot. Just a personal preference!

6. Tons of wall art

I totally believe wall art has the power to make a dorm room feel less institutional, but I wish I had brought more pictures from home to make my room personal. Pinterest dorm rooms just aren't real, and they aren't what you want when you're homesick.

6 things I wish I had bought before school started

1. ID Lanyard

I personally love these ones from Vera Bradley , but honestly, any way you can carry your ID, money, and keys all in one is a life changer.

2. Earplugs / Eye Mask

Dorms are loud even during quiet hours and sometimes your roommate stays up later or gets up earlier than you do. Amazon couldn't ship these to me fast enough.

3. Wireless Headphones/Earbuds

Personally, I'm an earbuds girl, but either one does the trick. It's nice to not have to deal with cords and to be able to connect to any of your devices without an adapter.

4. Laptop Shell/Stickers

Almost everyone ends up ordering stickers to put on their laptop to express themselves to those around them. On a practical level though, you're probably going to have the same laptop as 5+ other students in your lecture and you will probably throw your laptop in a bag and run at some point. A shell and some stickers will provide more protection than you realize. Check out RedBubble for some great options.

5. Small vacuum

This is especially important if you get a rug. Sweeping is not pleasant, and the vacuums at your dorm are probably older than you are.

6. Pictures from home

Like I said before, wall art isn't going to comfort you when you want to go home. A picture of your dog or best friend sure will though.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Gherna

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10 Tips To Survive Finals Week

Finals week is quickly approaching. While some strategies might be to live off caffeine while cramming for exams and finishing up papers, I have some other tools for success.

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Finals week is quickly approaching. While some strategies might be to live off caffeine while cramming for exams and finishing up papers, I have some other tools for success.

1.       Study at the library

I always find that I accomplish more work and I get distracted a lot less if I am studying an environment that is surrounded by others who are doing the same thing. Yes, the library does fill up quickly around this time of year, but there are always places to be found that people may not know about. Other academic buildings work as well.

2.       Take quick breaks 

It can be boring looking at the same textbook for hours on end of studying the same subject or topic. It is always good to take a break when you find yourself reading but not actually retaining any information. Grab a coffee or a snack and take a quick walk to come back refreshed.

3.       Turn off your phone 

If you are someone who gets easily distracted by having their phone next to them, turn it off while you study. It takes a lot longer to read through a chapter when you are constantly responding to messages on your phone or checking social media every 10 minutes. You can turn your phone back on during the breaks when you take them to check social media and respond to the messages.

4.       Don’t procrastinate 

This may seem a lot easier said than done. Especially when there a multiple assignments or tests on the same day, it may be tough to prepare, or at this point it may be too late and you might have to cram. Try to avoid this if possible, assignments become a lot less stressful when you are starting a paper the day before it is due. Also procrastinating ends up leading to very late nights which can affect your performance on tests.

5.       Don’t skip meals

It may seem like there isn't enough time in the day to get everything done and eat as well. Sometimes you may be thinking that something has to be sacrificed. Eating will provide you the proper energy to be able to focus, your brain needs food in order to function at its full capacity.

6.       Drink a lot of water

This might not seem like something that will help you ace your finals directly. It is important to stay hydrated in order to maintain focus when studying, also water is good for you and can help prevent that feeling of dehydration or tiredness. Even just plain old water can improve mental performance.

7.       Go to any review sessions

They might not seem like the most helpful depending on who you have as a professor, but it is a chance to show that you are dedicated and want to do well in the class. Professors usually take notice to those who are putting in the extra effort.

8.       Create a study schedule

Creating a schedule can help break up large assignments into smaller chunks so they might not seem as daunting. If you are able to stick with the schedule this can be a great tool for success.

9.       Prioritize your time

If you know one class has very tough exams, then it might be wise to spend more time studying for that class compared to a class that might not be as challenging. Another factor to take into account would be how you are doing in your classes, if you are struggling in one particular class, you may want to devote more time to assignments and studying for that class.

10.       Listen to music or relax

It is important to keep stress levels in check, for some people this might mean listening to some calming music in order to reduce anxiety. Take some deep breaths if you are feeling overwhelmed and take a few minutes to decompress and think about something else.

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