Things i Learned During Freshman Year

9 Things I Learned Freshman Year Of College

You don't really know what you are getting into.

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The world is full of a lot of true and untrue things about college, but this is what I learned my freshman year.

1. Upperclassmen aren't as scary as you would think.

I remember constantly feeling inadequate, dumb, and kind of annoying around upperclassmen in high school. I thought when I started college it would be the same, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out I was wrong. Age and class don't matter as much in college, everyone is trying to get a degree. It isn't always younger people as underclassmen either. I have met many people around the same credit standing who are years older than me, some parents and even grandparents. We all share a common goal of a higher education, which unites us together. I don't feel out of place around anyone who is in a different class and I have learned that none of those things I believed in high school were important or true.

2. It is difficult to make friends in college. 

I will be honest I haven't made one good friend that I talk to everyday in college. My roommate also ended up leaving half way through the year, which left me alone. I was so excited to make friends, but it was really hard. I made some the first semester, but then when classes changed I lost contact. The campus and lecture halls can be so huge and isolating, but one thing I discovered that is the key to making friends, are study groups. They can help improve your grades, but also they remove the pressure of inviting people just to hang out. There is a facade of work, which sometimes doesn't happen at all, and you slowly get to know one another. It might be hard, but it isn't impossible to find friends.

3. No one cares about appearances.

Some people take the time to dress nice and some students wear makeup or do their hair, but the majority just do not care. Sweats, work out pants, tights, hoodies, messy pony tail, it doesn't matter. Everyone has to get up early after staying up late to do their work. I have never been someone to dress nice and it is relief that most people here are dressed in comfy clothes. I have learned that there are no expectations here and I absolutely love it.

4. High school was wrong about college professors. 

I was told in high school that college professors were ruthless. They didn't care if you were sick, or really needed to get a B for your GPA. Their tests were practically impossible to ace and you would have to study for days and days to pass. These things and many more can be true of college professors, but for the most part they are not like this at all, especially professors teaching general education courses. They are usually understanding and try to work with you and your grade, as long as you work with them. Don't believe everything people tell you about college.

5. Night classes are actually worse than morning classes.

I came to college thinking night classes would be amazing. I wouldn't have to wake up early and I would have the day to get things done. But, night classes actually kind of suck. You think you have the whole day to do things, but if you are like me, you sleep in to eleven and so much of your day is wasted. Don't get me wrong; the sleep is great, but it really eats into what you have to get done. The worst thing is that you can't go to any events that are at night because you have class and your friends usually have morning classes meaning less time with them. I learned to schedule classes a little later in the morning and extending into the afternoon because of this.

6. It is close to impossible to make all A's.

I was almost a straight A student in high school and it was difficult coming to the realization that I cannot make straight A's anymore. It takes a lot of dedication to make all A's and I knew when I first came to college I wouldn't be able to, but I still tried. It was defeating to not achieve what I wanted, but I learned just passing classes is an achievement in itself. Making C's or D's, is not failure and even if you do get an F it is not the end of the world.

7. People do not party all the time.

Movies, t.v. shows, books, and people are always depicting colleges as party central and there are parties, but not as many as you would expect. This varies college to college, but no matter where you are there are not as many parties as you think. Most college students care about passing their classes and aren't out every night at the bar, or at someone's house getting drunk. If you are a party person this might make you disappointed, but if you aren't it is probably a relief.

8. The media gives fraternities and sororities a bad rep.

Fraternities and sororities aren't just preppy people who think they are better than everyone else, and they don't just haze freshman and host giant parties. Not that I actually believed all this when I came in, but I didn't think that Greek life was a great organization. It is great way to make friends and find your support system. Their are oppurtunities for leadership, planning, and developing your social skills. I personally will never be a part of Greek life, but don't read a book by its cover and check it out.

9. The freshman fifteen is a real thing. 

If you haven't heard of the freshman fifteen, it is where you basically gain 15 pounds your freshman year. I am from a small town where the nearest McDonald's was fifteen minutes away and no pizza places would deliver in my area, so I went a little crazy being in a college town packed with fast food options at every corner. Not to mention the stress of college makes you want to eat every sweet thing you can find. I learned that it is really difficult to eat right in college and even though a slight myth, most freshman will gain weight when they come into college.

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Dear Mom and Dad, You Don't Understand What College Is Actually Like In The 21st Century

I can skip class. I can leave early, and I can show up late. But, ya see, I am not doing that.
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College is not what you think it is. I am not sitting in a classroom for six hours listening to a professor speak about Shakespeare and the WW2.

I am not given homework assignments every night and told to hand them in next class.

I do not know my daily grade for each of the five classes I am taking, and I don't know if my professor even knows my name.

College today is a ton different than how it was 20+ years ago.

I go to class for about maybe three hours a day. Most of my time working on "college" is spent outside of the classroom. I am the one responsible for remembering my homework and when my ten-page essay is due.

I can skip class. I can leave early, and I can show up late. But, ya see, I am not doing that. I am a responsible person, even if you do not think I am.

I do get up every morning and drive myself to class. I do care about my assignments, grades, my degree, and my career.

I spend a lot of time on campus having conversations with my friends and relaxing outside.

I am sick of older generations thinking that us millennials are lazy, unmotivated, and ungrateful. While I am sure there are some who take things for granted, most of us paying to get a degree actually do give a s**t about our work ethic.

Dear mom and dad, I do care about my future and I am more than just a millennial looking to just get by.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlyn Moore

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How To Stay Mentally Healthy In College

Our mental health is just as important as our physical health.

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Staying healthy in college seems really, really hard to do. Classes, friends, clubs, and the whole fact of living by yourself can create a lot of stress and anxiety. Most students, and people in general, don't really know how to deal with stress or how to take care of themselves mentally, leading to unhealthy behaviors physically and mentally. If you don't take care of your mental health, your physical health will suffer eventually. Here are a few tips and tricks to help take care of your mental health:

1. Eat a well-balanced diet

Eating fruits, vegetables, grains, and other healthy foods will help you feel more energized and motivated. Most people associate eating a balanced diet as beneficial for your physical health, but it is just as important for your mental health.

2. Keep a journal and write in it daily

Writing can be one of the most relaxing and stress-relieving things you can do for yourself. Writing down the issues you are struggling with or the problems you are encountering in your life on a piece of paper can help you relax and take a step back from that stress.

3. Do something that brings you joy

Take some time to do something that brings you joy and happiness! It can be really easy to forget about this when you are running around with your busy schedule but make some time to do something you enjoy. Whether it be dancing, writing, coloring, or even running, make some time for yourself.

4. Give thanks

Keeping a gratitude log — writing what brings you joy and happiness — helps to keep you positively minded, which leads to you becoming mentally healthy. Try to write down three things that brought you joy or made you smile from your day.

5. Smile and laugh

Experts say that smiling and laughing help improve your mental health. Not only is it fun to laugh, but laughing also helps you burn calories! There's a reason why smiling and laughing are often associated with happiness and joyful thoughts.

6. Exercise

Staying active and doing exercises that energize your body will help release endorphins and serotonin, which both act as a natural antidepressant. Keeping an active lifestyle will help you stay happy!

7. Talk out your problems

All of us deal with stress and have problems from time to time. The easiest and probably most beneficial way to deal with this stress and anxiety is to talk it out with a close friend, family member, or even a counselor.

8. See a counselor, peer mentor, or psychologist

Just like it was stated in the previous point, it is beneficial to talk out your problems with a counselor. We all have issues, and it is OK to ask for help.

Keeping up your mental health in college can be a struggle, and it may be hard to even admit you are not mentally healthy. This is OK; you are not alone. If you want to see a psychologist or would like to learn more about mental health, there are resources. You can also take a self-assessment of your mental health. If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, please, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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