5 Lessons From Your Freshman Year Of College You Won't Find In Lecture Or A Texbook

5 Lessons From Your Freshman Year Of College You Won't Find In Lecture Or A Texbook

Being gentle with yourself is a must.

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I recently found myself looking back at pictures from this past year; my freshman year of college. In these pictures, I see a little bit of exhaustion, a little bit of confusion, a whole lot of chaos, but absolute genuine happiness. The kind of happiness that comes when you set off on your own, with the hope that it will all fall into place, but no idea how to navigate through this new chapter of life. It is scary but nonetheless rewarding and whether it is the greatest year of your life, the worst year of your life, or a little bit of both, you'll pack up your freshman dorm with a set of lessons that you sure as hell did not unpack with.

1. Being gentle with yourself is a must.

I grew up being pushed and I am forever thankful for that. We need to be hard on ourselves, we need to do things we don't want to do and that is what college is all about. But college is also new, college is scary, college is hard, and it's important to remind ourselves that we don't have all the answers and that this new stage of life is going to take time to get the hang of.

2. As cliche as it sounds, you have to be yourself, and there is no better place to do that than in college.

College is essentially the beginning of the rest of your life. This is where we're put to figure out what we want to do and who we want to become and you cannot expect to get to the bottom of this if you're not aligning with your true self. Once we let go of all we were told to be in high school, all we have been pretending to be, things fall into place. We find the friends were supposed to have, we get involved in things we genuinely enjoy, and the opportunities we need arise.

3. You need a plan but that plan needs to be flexible.

I came into college sure that I wanted to major in journalism and go to law school. After taking a few journalism classes and learning more about the field, I knew it wasn't for me. But I was so sure that this was what I wanted for so long that I held onto it just because I felt an obligation to myself and the plan I had already laid out. My friends knew my plan, mom and dad knew my plan, grandma knew the plan. As a person who has always been a firm believer in going with the flow, I knew this wasn't a great idea. I changed my major to writing intensive English and although I haven't started it quite yet, I chose my classes with excitement and feel a great sense of relief that I am one step closer to doing what I want to do. I've learned it is important not to let others limit you but even more important not to limit yourself. Have a plan but go where the wind takes you, as long as your intentions are pure, the wind is probably right.

4. Home is everything and the people at home are even more.

This one almost seems like a given. You don't know what you have until its gone... or at least a couple hundred miles away. Spending everyday in the same city with the same people can get repetitive and it is almost inevitable as you go through the motions of everyday life to lose sight of just how special your hometown is and the people that it's made up of. The people you meet in college, at least in my case, are some of the greatest, closest to the heart people you will ever meet, but no one, absolutely no one is your mom or your dad or your sister or your best friend of 12 years. These are the people you start with and being away from them makes you realize they are the people you need to keep with you till the end.

5. Going outside your comfort zone is the greatest thing you could ever do for yourself.

If you are looking to be uncomfortable, then be a freshman in college. Nothing says discomfort quite like moving away from home, living in a small box with a potential stranger and learning to live almost entirely your own. As scary as this sounds, I've learned that it is simply the greatest thing that has happened to me thus far in life. Going outside your comfort zone means something different for everyone. But whatever it may be, do it, it is the only way to get from point A to point B.

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10 Things I Threw Out AFTER Freshman Year Of College

Guess half the stuff on your packing list doesn't really matter
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I spent the entire summer before my freshman year of college so WORRIED.

I also spent most of my money that summer on miscellaneous dorm stuff. I packed the car when the time finally came to move in, and spent the drive up excited and confused about what the heck was actually going on.

Freshman year came and went, and as I get ready to go back to school in just a few short weeks (!!), I'm starting to realize there's just a whole bunch of crap I just don't need.

After freshman year, I threw out:

1. Half my wardrobe.

I don't really know what I was thinking of owning 13 sweaters and 25 T-shirts in the first place. I wear the same five T-shirts until I magically find a new one that I probably got for free, and I put on jeans maybe four times. One pair is enough.

2. Half my makeup.

Following in the theme of #1, if I put on makeup, it's the same eyeliner-mascara combination as always. Sometimes I spice it up and add lipstick or eyeshadow.

3. My vacuum.

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One, I basically never did it. Two, if I REALLY needed to vacuum, dorms rent out cleaning supplies.

4. Most of my photos from high school.

I didn't throw them ALL away, but most of them won't be making a return to college. Things change, people change, your friends change. And that's okay.

5. Excess school supplies.

Binders are heavy and I am lazy. I surprisingly didn't lose that many pens, so I don't need the fifty pack anymore. I could probably do without the crayons.

6. Cups/Plates/Bowls/Silverware.

Again, I am lazy. I cannot be bothered to wash dishes that often. I'll stick to water bottles and maybe one coffee cup. Paper plates/bowls can always be bought, and plastic silverware can always be stolen from different places on campus.

7. Books.

I love to read, but I really don't understand why I thought I'd have the time to actually do it. I think I read one book all year, and that's just a maybe.

8. A sewing kit.

I don't even know how to sew.

9. Excessive decorations.

It's nice to make your space feel a little more cozy, but not every inch of the wall needs to be covered.

10. Throw pillows.

At night, these cute little pillows just got tossed to the floor, and they'd sit there for days if I didn't make my bed.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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I'm Not The Person I Was In High School And I'm Not Sorry I Changed

I'm sorry, the old me can't come to the phone right now.

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If those who knew me in high school hung out with me now, they probably wouldn't recognize me. If my friends from college hung out with me around two years ago, they probably wouldn't recognize me. It's safe to say I've changed... a lot. I definitely find the change to be for the better and I couldn't be happier with the person I've become

In high school, I would sit at home every night anxiously waiting to leave and go out. Now, honestly, going out is the last thing I want to do any night of the week. While everyone in college is at a fraternity party or at the bars, I prefer to sit at home on the couch, watching Netflix with my boyfriend. That's an ideal night for me and it is exactly the opposite of what I wanted to do a couple of years ago. There's nothing wrong with going out and partying, it's just not what I want to do anymore.

I craved attention in high school. I went to the parties and outings so I could be in Snapchats and photos, just so people would know I was there. I hung out with certain groups of people just so I could say I was "friends" with so-and-so who was so very popular. I wanted to be known and I wanted to be cool.

Now, I couldn't care less. I go to the bars or the parties if I really feel like it or if my friends make me feel bad enough for never going anywhere that I finally decide to show up. It's just not my scene anymore and I no longer worry about missing out.

If you could look back at me during my junior year of high school, you probably would've found me searching for the best-ranked party schools and colleges with the best nearby clubs or bars. Now, you can find me eating snacks on the couch on a Friday night watching the parties through other peoples' Snapchats.

Some may say that I'm boring now, and while I agree that my life is a little less adventurous now than it was in high school, I don't regret the lifestyle changes I've made. I feel happier, I feel like a better person, I feel much more complete. I'm not sorry that I've changed since high school and I'm not sorry that I'm not living the typical "college lifestyle." I don't see anything wrong with that life, it's just not what makes me happy and it's not what I want to do anymore.

I've become a different person since high school and I couldn't be happier about it. I have a lot that's contributed to the change, but my boyfriend definitely was the main factor as he showed me that staying in can be a million times better than a night out. My interests and my social cravings have completely transitioned into that of an 80-year-old grandma, but I don't regret it.

Change doesn't have to be a bad thing. In fact, it can bring a lot more happiness and comfort. The transition from high school to college is drastic, but you can also use it as an opportunity to transition from one lifestyle to another. I don't regret the lifestyle flip I made and I couldn't be less apologetic about it.

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