Reflecting on my freshman year of college, it's safe to say that I've been put through the wringer. While it's so easy to let the hard moments take over, it's just as important to acknowledge the lessons you've learned and the growth you've made throughout the year. I can wholeheartedly say that I am a completely different person now than I was in August. While I'm only 19 and still have much more to learn, here are a few things I picked up along the way in my freshman year. Also being homesick and missing my own kitties, I felt like I needed to include some cat GIFs for my own sanity.
1. Be selfish.Giphy
It really is true that in college, everyone has their own agenda. As harsh as it sounds, people will do the things that best benefit themselves rather than others. To an extent, this is not a bad thing because the more self-serving your mindset, the greater chance you can accomplish your own goals. Besides, standing your ground is important and if you need to do something for yourself, do it.
2. You're going to lose friends, and that's okay.Giphy
Like almost everything else in life, friends come and go and that's totally normal. Especially with all desperate freshmen probably living in the same building, everyone is dying to make friends and these relationships will probably be surface level. As the year goes on, you'll notice people's true colors, and you'll the ones that make you happy. Sure it'll take some time and weeding through, but it is worth it once you find them.
3. Do NOT get in a relationship— especially with other freshmen.Giphy
Yes, it was especially tempting during cuffing season, but stay strong! This is a pivotal year; you discover who you are as a young adult, living on your own for the first time. You will make critical decisions that will affect your future career, personal life, and even family. The last thing you need at this age is another person to complicate this already hectic time. Take it from someone who's done it— you need to take freshman year for yourself.
4. You are on your own, but that doesn't make you alone.Giphy
Yes, you are living on your own and everyone has self-serving agendas. However, that doesn't mean that people don't care. You will find people that truly want the best for you. Even so, sometimes professional help is needed. There are mental health services provided by most colleges and even local private practices that will give free consultations. Your physical and mental health needs to take precedent— if you don't have those, how can you do everything else college has to offer?
5. Privacy does not exist in college.Giphy
I can't tell you how many times I've been walked in on. Whether I'm with another person, talking about confidential things, or literally sitting on the toilet, it's guaranteed that someone will walk in. I don't really have a solution for this one other than communicating with your roommates and trying to not talk poorly about another person. At least in my freshman dorm, the walls were pretty thin.
6. Be honest.Giphy
I quickly realized that it's simply a waste of time to beat around the bush. There is literally no point in dancing around what you're trying to say and can sometimes even end up hurting someone. Generally, people have no time to waste in college and it will save so much energy for everyone involved if you're just honest.
7. Surround yourself only with people who make you happy.Giphy
Now more than ever, you have the power to surround yourself with people who make you a better version of yourself. In college, there's no pressure to confine yourself to a certain "group," and you aren't with the same you've known since kindergarten all day every day. Having the freedom to create your best life is one of the most liberating things about college.
8. Sit in the front in all lectures!Giphy
In lecture halls with over 100 students, you cannot expect a professor to respond to every email, memorize every name, let alone put in participation grades accurately. Therefore, it's your responsibility to make yourself memorable! Often times, sitting in the front of the class will help the professor put a face to the name, and you will be able to hear and see more clearly.
9. Everyone is going through something.Giphy
People say that there are three sides to every person: the side everyone knows, the side you are at home, and the side that only you know. By that notion, it's safe to assume that you won't know the full story behind every person you meet. Try not to be judgemental and be nice to everyone— you won't hurt anyone by being kind.
10. You won't get along with everyone at first.Giphy
Even if you are nonjudgemental, other people will still be making judgments about you and that's okay. Not everyone will like you at first, so there is no point in wasting time, trying to change yourself in order to get that one person to like you. I promise it's not worth it. College is about you.