11 Unexpected Things That WILL Ruin Your First Year Of College, If You're Not Careful

11 Unexpected Things That WILL Ruin Your First Year Of College, If You're Not Careful

You're finally all on your own in the big wide world. What should you expect?

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Your freshman year will be filled with joy and excitement and new experiences. Sadly, it will also be filled with stress, doubts and possibly tears. Here are some things to look out for going through your freshman year of college. Don't let these things mess up the amazing year you are bound to have!

1. Welcome Week

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A necessary evil, but it will seem never-ending. It might be overwhelming and terrify you for actual classes to start, but believe me, things will slow down and you'll get to relax.

2. The size of campus

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It's so scary trying to make sure you get to every class on time and don't get lost. I suggest taking a few hours before or during the first week to just map out your classes and walk them if possible. Makes all the stress fade away.

3. "Your" seat in class

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Most teachers won't assign seats, but there will be a seat that you choose and it just becomes YOUR seat. At least once, halfway through the semester, someone will take your seat. Make sure you get to class super early the next day and show them who's boss.

4. The college party scene

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Whether you become involved or not, it will affect your college experience. Maybe your roommate is a big partier, or maybe you just see some random girl stumbling up the stairs. Be kind and ready to help your peers if you don't participate, and if you do, BE SAFE. You're told so many times how much one offense can ruin a college career, and depending on your career path and the severity, that is incredibly true. Be safe for yourself and your friends.

5. The hookup culture

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Tinder is a huge thing at colleges, and not everyone is clear with their intentions. Coming from someone who's been through it, don't doubt your gut feeling. If you don't think hookup culture would be healthy for you, don't do it. If you do, BE SAFE.

6. General dating

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In college, you have a lot more time to spend with a significant other and a lot more alone time with them. This can sometimes make people get carried away and forget about other commitments and friends. Dating is great and fun, but remember what you're at college for.

7. Intense classes

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There will be that one class that you're like, "This sounds really hard, but I can do it." Especially if it's not for your major, follow your guts and drop it if needed! Your GPA will thank you later.

8. The choice of 800+ student organizations

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This was one of the most overwhelming things for me. Know that you don't need to do everything, and it really looks better if you're super involved in a few things than kinda involved in a ton of things.

9. Your mental health

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For some, maybe this one is super unexpected, but it can sneak up on you quickly. Check in with yourself and get help if needed. It will be much easier to get through things earlier than later.

10. Exams and papers

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If you're like me, you procrastinate almost constantly. It's really hard to get through college like this, but it is possible. Try not to procrastinate, but if you do, be prepared for late nights filled with caffeine.

11. Grades and your GPA

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It is definitely important to get good grades, but overall, it's important to do your best and go for your goals. The timeline doesn't matter as much as reaching the goal, so don't worry if you've gotta retake a class or two. If you're really passionate about the end-goal, it will all turn out in the end.

My first year was scary and stressful and full of bad habits. Despite all of this, it was also life-changing, fun and filled with love and new experiences. Don't let the sub-par things ruin all the amazing things. If you love your school and find your calling, college will be the best time of your life.

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To The Girl Who Had A Plan

A letter to the girl whose life is not going according to her plan.
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“I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” - William Ernest Henley

Since we were little girls we have been asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We responded with astronauts, teachers, presidents, nurses, etc. Then we start growing up, and our plans change.

In middle school, our plans were molded based on our friends and whatever was cool at the time. Eventually, we went to high school and this question became serious, along with some others: “What are your plans for college?” “What are you going to major in?” “When do you think you’ll get married?” “Are you going to stay friends with your friends?” We are bombarded with these questions we are supposed to have answers to, so we start making plans.

Plans, like going to college with our best friends and getting a degree we’ve been dreaming about. Plans, to get married as soon as we can. We make plans for how to lose weight and get healthy. We make plans for our weddings and children.

SEE ALSO: 19 Pieces Of Advice From A Soon-To-Be 20-Year-Old

We fill our Pinterest boards with these dreams and hopes that we have, which are really great things to do, but what happens when you don’t get into that college? What happens when your best friend chooses to go somewhere else? Or, what if you don’t get the scholarship you need or the awards you thought you deserved. Maybe, the guy you thought you would marry breaks your heart. You might gain a few pounds instead of losing them. Your parents get divorced. Someone you love gets cancer. You don’t get the grades you need. You don’t make that collegiate sports team. The sorority you’re a legacy to, drops you. You didn’t get the job or internship you applied for. What happens to you when this plan doesn’t go your way?

I’ve been there.

The answer for that is “I have this hope that is an anchor for my soul.” Soon we all realize we are not the captain of our fate. We don’t have everything under control nor will we ever have control of every situation in our lives. But, there is someone who is working all things together for the good of those who love him, who has a plan and a purpose for the lives of his children. His name is Jesus. When life takes a turn you aren’t expecting, those are the times you have to cling to Him the tightest, trusting that His plan is what is best. That is easier said than done, but keep pursuing Him. I have found in my life that His plans were always better than mine, and slowly He’s revealing that to me.

The end of your plan isn’t the end of your life. There is more out there. You may not be the captain of your fate, but you can be the master of your soul. You can choose to be happy despite your circumstances. You can change directions at any point and go a different way. You can take the bad and make something beautiful out of it, if you allow God to work in your heart.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Patiently Waiting With An Impatient Heart

So, make the best of that school you did get in to. Own it. Make new friends- you may find they are better than the old ones. Apply for more scholarships, or get a job. Move on from the guy that broke your heart; he does not deserve you. God has a guy lined up for you who will love you completely. Spend all the time you can with the loved one with cancer. Pray, pray hard for healing. Study more. Apply for more jobs, or try to spend your summer serving others instead. Join a different club or get involved in other organizations on campus. Find your delight first in God and then pursue other activities that make you happy; He will give you the desires of your heart.

My friend, it is going to be OK.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Beavers Photography

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5 Questions All Freshmen Are Tired of Hearing, So Please Stop Asking Them

Are you asking the same questions as everyone else?

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In the midst of all the chaos of meeting countless new people, of trying not to get lost, of balancing classes and homework with meetings and sleep while also remembering to eat, do laundry, and maybe go for that run, the first few weeks of freshman year are no joke. It can feel like a blurry parade of names and faces with those awkward moments when you make eye contact in the dining hall with someone you are almost (but not entirely) sure is in your 10 a.m. chemistry class (Do I wave? Do I say hello? Do I just ignore them?).

But after a whopping month at this thing called college, I have compiled a list of five questions that all freshmen are probably tired of answering by now (but also guilty of asking).

1. What is your major?

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Almost always the first question asked after meeting someone new, this is not a bad question by any means. It is just repeated so often that I feel like sometimes we can let our five-second answer be what defines who we are to other people. I am definitely more than just a "Biochemistry major on the pre-med track with a…" and I know you are too.

2.  What do you want to do with that after graduation?

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I feel like I have met three kinds of freshman so far. First, the ones who don't know what they want to be when they grow up and are trying to figure it out (cough, cough, cough, me). Secondly, the very few who truly have a deep-rooted calling to a specific profession. And lastly, those who think they know, but who really don't know. There is nothing wrong with any of the above because after all, college is an amazing opportunity for us to find what makes us happy, discover our passions, and develop our skills. So, I don't really think that it is realistic to expect other people (and ourselves) to have our lives figured out already (I definitely don't).

3. Isn’t it just so hot outside?

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We are in Waco, Texas. Of course it is hot outside. Enough said.

4. Where are you from?

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Given that we are probably not from the same hometown, this question usually becomes another dead-end that leads to another awkward moment of silence in the conversation (even after an "Oh, I think I know someone from XYZ place too"). I have found it much easier to talk about the place we do have in common, also known as the unique and wacky Waco, Texas. Plus, it is a great way to learn about really delicious (or really cheap!) local restaurants.

5. How are your classes going?

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So this one isn't too terrible… unless you are looking for more than another mumbled "Good," "OK," or "Not bad." To create a more interesting conversation, might I suggest a "So, what is the most interesting thing about one of your classes?" "Do you have any crazy professors?" or, "What is a really good thing and a not-so-great thing that has happened to you this week?" Trust me, you will hear some funny answers and be able to laugh alongside your newfound friends.

I truly believe that the quality of our conversations is directly correlated to the thoughtfulness of our questions. So in order to find common ground and connect with the people around us, let's just remember that we are all complex, interesting, multi-faceted people who have more interests than just our majors, richer backgrounds than just our hometowns, and bigger dreams than just our professions.

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