15 Things I Learned During My First Year At College

15 Nuggets Of Wisdom I Learned During My First Year Of College That I Think Are Important To Pass On

How have I already completed my first year at the University of Florida?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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52 College Student Discounts That Are Extremely Real And TOO Easy To Use

31. Goodwill - 20% off on Tuesdays with college ID
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College is great.

But college is also expensive AF.

The cool thing about that is everyone knows that, and everyone — businesses included — knows college kids can't afford to spend *too* much money that they do NOT have. So you know that student ID you have?

It gets you college student discounts. Lots of them.


Entertainment

1. AMC Theaters

Discounted tickets on Thursdays

2. Apple Music

50% off.

3. Cinemark

Discounted tickets.

4. Regal Cinemas

Exclusive deals!

5. Spotify

Spotify Premium for $4.99/month!

6. New York Mets

$10 tickets with college ID.

Technology

8. Apple

Free pair of Beats with Mac purchase!

9. Best Buy

Exclusive deals!

Exclusive deals

10. FedEx

20-30% off shipping!

11. Microsoft

Multiple discounts!

12. Sprint

Multiple discounts!

13. Verizon

Exclusive deals!

Insurance

14. Allstate

20% off.

15. Geico

15% off.

16. Nationwide

Exclusive deals!

17. State Farm

25% off!

Travel

18. Amtrak

10% off and bonus points!

19. Chevrolet

Preferred pricing

20. Choice Hotels

15% off!

21. Greyhound

20-40% off!

22. Jiffy Lube

$10 or 10% off with college ID!

Education

23. Barnes & Noble

Multiple discounts!

24. Inkjet Willy

10% off with coupon!

25. Wall Street Journal

$1/week for 15 weeks!

Clothes

26. Aerie

10% off!

27. Billabong

10% off!

28. Champ Sports

10% off $50 purchase!

29. Charlotte Russe

10% off total purchase!

30. Forever 21

10% off full-price online purchase!

31. Goodwill

20% off on Tuesdays with college ID!

32. JCrew

15% off with college ID!

33. Kate Spade

15% off with college ID!

34. ModCloth

10% off!

35. Toms

Free shipping!

36. Topshop

10% off!

37. Urban Outfitters

10% off with college ID

38. Vinyard Vines

15% off with college ID!

Food

39. Arby's

10% off!

40. bd's Mongolian Grill

Student Night - $9.99 bowl of stir fry!

41. Buffalo Wild Wings

10% off!

42. Burger King

10% off!

43. Chik-fil-A

Free drink with a meal!

44. Chipotle

Free drink with a meal!

45. Dairy Queen

Student Meal Deal!

46. Dunkin Donuts

10% off!

47. McDonald's

10% off!

48. Subway

10% off!

49. Taco Bell

10% off!

50. Waffle House

Other

51. 1800Flowers.com

20% off!

52. Sam's Club

Discounts vary by location!

Cover Image Credit: ASMR Darling//YouTube

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Coming Home From College For The Summer Is Much Needed

Wait, how do you drive a car again?

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Since finals week began, I believe I can say for all college students that we were ready to come back to our hometowns for the summer. We had grown tired of eating at the dining hall, spending countless hours in the library, and pulling laundry from the dryers for it to still be damp. Being home for the summer rids you of those worries and only provides a sense of comfort and security with a furnished home and bedroom to yourself. We sometimes forget how things were before college, with a fully stocked refrigerator and even a dishwasher to keep things clean. Coming home often makes life much easier.

Coming home means revisiting all of your favorite places around town — restaurants, parks, or museums — with fresh eyes. Being away from these places for months on end only causes you to develop a deeper appreciation for the little things. In my case, the first thing I did upon arriving home was take a trip to my favorite local coffee shop. Not only is the coffee delicious, but going back to the shop itself also brings back numerous memories made over the past four years.

That is one of the best things about coming home — it's as if you're rediscovering parts of yourself that you left behind.

Being back in your hometown also enables you to reconnect with only friends and classmates whom you haven't seen in months or even a full year. Whether it be going for a walk together or grabbing breakfast, being able to update one another on your year of college life makes for great connections. You oftentimes find yourself missing your old friends more than you thought, but once you all get together again, it seems like nothing has changed.

One of my favorite parts of being home is spending more time with my family. I have never felt so grateful for home-cooked meals or a real washer and dryer until I stepped into my house again. Rather than talking on the phone with my parents about our days, I can sit down with them at the kitchen table and have a conversation in person. I also never realized that I would miss my parents — or my dog — as much as I did over the past year.

Though finding activities to pass the time can sometimes get "boring" in one's hometown, spending some time away can reinstate plenty of ideas. My sister and I found ourselves making a list of things we can do throughout the summer, and though some of the things we had done before, it sounded so much more exciting after spending the school year in a different city.

In the end, coming home makes you appreciate your town even more.

Even if you didn't love it before, being home for just a few months keeps you from taking life's finer things for granted. Especially when it's summer, you can relax on your own couch without the stress of school in front of you. Enjoy your city while you can, because it is always there to welcome you back.

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