It is officially my last week of my first year at the University of Florida. My freshman year rushed past me faster than the blink of an eye. While I have been here, I have learned and grown so much. If I had the ability to go back in time and talk to the graduating high school senior, these are the things that I would tell her.
1. It Is OK To Change Your Mind, And Change It A Few Times.
When I was making my schedule for my first semester at the University of Florida, I felt like I needed to have everything all figured out. When I was choosing my major, I felt like I was choosing a path I could never deviate from. However, after a few months, I ended up changing my major. And that is perfectly okay. It is completely normal to change your mind a few times because you are growing and changing too! Don't stress about your schedule, because it will all line up in the end.
2. You May Feel Lonely In The Beginning, But That Is OK Too.
When I first got to UF, I was in some large classes that had 100+ students in them. This made it somewhat difficult to make friends because I was always sitting next to someone different. However, once you start to feel comfortable on campus, you will meet plenty of students that are like you.
3. You Will Miss Your Parents, A Lot.
When I was graduating high school, I was anticipating lots of freedom when I got to college. While I did find new freedoms, I missed my family and the schedule I was accustomed to. My mom has always been a great chef, and I missed her home-cooked meals a lot, too.
4. Taking 18 Credits In One Semester Isn't Worth It, You Won't Graduate Much Sooner.
During the spring semester, I made the decision to take more credits than I typically took. While this was great to keep me busy, I found myself burnt out a lot from all the work I was doing. Looking back on it, I am not sure why I choose to take so many credits, but I know I won't be doing that again. There is no rush to graduate, especially when you have already come into UF with credits.
5. You Will Have Different Groups Of Friends With Different Interests.
Because of my varied interests, I was able to join different student organizations on campus. What this brought to the table was also a bunch of different friend groups. This made me a stronger, more empathetic, and more outgoing. This came as a shock to me originally because I had graduated from a high school where everyone was interested in either the same or very similar things. Being able to turn to different kinds of friend groups is both refreshing and enriching.
6. You Will Have To Adjust To A New Schedule Every Semester.
While taking so many different courses in a year allows you to remain interested, it also comes at a cost. I have found that trying to assemble a class schedule similar to your previous one can help you keep a routine. At the beginning of each semester, I struggled with trying to adjust to the different class meeting times. You would think that your schedule wouldn't have a huge effect on your lifestyle, but it does.
7. You Will Have To Organize And Plan Your Time More Precisely Than In High School.
Before coming to college, I had developed great time management and planning skills. However, once you get to college, you will have to continue building upon these skills. It is easy for essays and projects to build up until the very last minute. Don't let that happen to you.
8. Maintaining A Healthy Sleep Schedule Is Really Important In College.
When you are in college, it is really easy to develop bad sleeping habits. With the temptation of going out and staying up late looming over you, it is easy to succumb to these things. Try your best to get a good amount of sleep each night. I neglected my sleep schedule a lot this semester and paid for it during finals week, which is when you want to be your sharpest.
9. GroupMe Is Great, Use It.
Yes, the notifications are annoying. No, you won't regret joining the GroupMe for your classes. GroupMe has saved me multiple times over my time here at UF. GroupMe is a group messaging application that allows you to join different groups to communicate with other members. I am in a GroupMe for a bunch of different things: clubs, organizations, and classes. You will want to join the GroupMe for your classes, especially the online ones.
10. People Actually Use Facebook And LinkedIn.
Polish up your Facebook and LinkedIn because people will ask for it.
11. Networking Early In Your Career Is Really Important And Has Long-Term Benefits.
Attending a top ten public university means that you can have access to a handful of notable alum. Jump start your career by talking to people in the industry you want to join. This will give you the upper hand when it comes to applying for different positions during your time at college and long after you are gone.
12. Get To Know The People In Your College.
Once you find your niche, start communicating more with the people in your college. Build relationships with professors you will be seeing around. You never know when you will have to ask for a great letter of recommendation.
13. Take Advantage Of Those College Discounts.
Need I say more? Take advantage of monetary incentives meant for college students. There are a lot of things you can save money on, so do it! Your wallet will thank you.
14. Don't Be Afraid To Spend Time Alone.
I have learned that you don't have to constantly be surrounded by friends in order to be happy. A little alone time can go a long way! College is a great time for building your independence and your comfort level with being alone. You can learn a lot of things about yourself when you are left to your thoughts.
15. Enjoy Your Time At College, It Is A Fast Four Years.
Studying can eat up a lot of your time, but be sure to actually enjoy your time at your university. Attend sporting events, club events, and go out! This is probably the only time in our lives where we have freedom without being strapped down by mortgages and student loan payments, at least not yet! Don't rush your four years, it isn't worth it.