It is now that Spring Break is upon me. Who would have thought I would make it this far? Myself, my parents, my friends, and even some classmates. When I began my college journey, I did not know completely what to expect. Being the person I am, I never go into anything without a plan to tackle my ultimate missions.
I do admit that I binged one too many college tip videos and self-help to prepare for my journey ahead of me. However, no amount of preparation could prepare me for the changes I would experience or the changes I would experience in myself.
In the beginning, I was determined to make friends on campus because part of my reasoning for going out-of-state was to meet new faces and individuals. This meant forcing myself to attend some of the cheesiest events such as cornhole, bubble soccer, and “mocktails” — where I actually never received a single mocktail.
However, I met some pretty fascinating people that led me to some of my closest friends here on campus. I have not only made many friends on campus, but also a second family in my Christian Ministry: XA. I never knew how it truly felt to be a part of a community until coming to college. Whenever I feel homesick, these are the people to not only provide me a shoulder to lean but make me feel as close to home with them as they can.
Those people I met during First Year Experience, I do not see on a regular anymore and we acknowledge each other whenever we come into each other’s presence. However, I quickly learned how everyone in the world is in some way connected to each other by just this small experience. We should not sulk on friendships that are short-lived or even romantic relationships because that just means you are one step closer to meeting someone extraordinary.
Furthermore, I learned the true importance of time management. Some background information: Before coming to college, time management was my expertise, as well as, organization. It came naturally to plan my schedule accordingly to get everything was done that consumed my day. Flash forward to the middle of freshman year, I am a complete wreck.
I can not figure out why I was not getting a decent amount of sleep beside the fact of my mountains of homework, which typically was a crapload of reading. No matter how much time I invested in planning out my week, somewhere around Day 2 and 3 the whole schedule would fall into shambles because I would keep pushing assignments off so I could sleep. It became my norm to sleep at 3 AM, even when I finished homework at a decent hour because my body had grown used to it. The naps I took were ridiculously long as a result of lack of sleep the night before. I kept telling myself, I will catch up on sleep over the weekend. I actually kept this ridiculousness up for most of the Fall Semester.
It was not until asking one of my instructors for help did I realize I was going about college all wrong. College is about getting most of the key information in a short amount of time. My instructor taught me the importance of skimming to be efficient with my time. Not only was I able to get the key information I needed, but also finish in enough time to get some sleep.I was also wrong in my idea to plan just my homework. I should have been planning my extracurriculars along with my homework schedule so they came in harmony with each other in a sense.
In addition to skimming, for my Spring Semester, I created a master schedule plan that not only incorporated ample time for homework, workouts, and extracurriculars. I learned that I must be strict to this schedule as well and not stray from it so that I can fit everything into my day. I spend about 1-2 hours planning my schedule for each week. Time management may have come easily to me in high school, but in college, you have to treat it like a full-time job.
Lastly, I learned the value of money.
Money is probably one of the most talked about issues you will hear one college campuses. The reason why is you need it to pay tuition, eat food, attend activities, and breathe! Okay, so that last one was a bit dramatic, but you get the point. I had to learn to be smart about where my spending was going and putting money aside for savings for the future. College living is expensive and not long after your studies, you will be expected to pay a debt.
I also made sure to avoid credit cards because college living is enough debt on its own without me trying to add to it with credit card loans. Student loans are “good” debt and therefore are worth it in the long run. Putting yourself on the track to being responsible with money will save you from a world of trouble.
Among these things, I learned to have fun and enjoy the experience because it only comes once in a lifetime. Therefore, you should make the most of the time to get to connect with people of all types of backgrounds and try new things. It is all part of an inner growth to become the best version of yourself. I never knew how much stronger I could be and how much of a better person I would become from my experience. I look forward to the next student coming in behind me and following in similar footsteps to make their mark.