5 Lessons My First Semester of College Taught Me

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College brought about quite a few changes in my life. All of the things my family taught me about right and wrong were put to a test. I had to take full responsibility when I messed up, and I was treated more like an adult basically overnight. There is for sure a huge leap between college life and high school life and the learning curve is steep. Whether you are a high school senior excited for these changes, a freshman like me who just learned how to swim in this environment, or an upperclassman chuckling at this article, here are some things I learned by being an "adult" for the first time, during my first semester of college:

1. Not everything has a second chance

The most tragic obstacle to pass was the fact that not everything has a second chance. One mess up can be the end of your good grade, or the end opportunities open to you. The more doors you close on yourself, the less they will be open in the future. So, make sure to actually wake up for that class, do that assignment and don’t get behind. You never really know when a professor will be forgiving.

2. You need to be ok with being alone

Enjoying time with yourself can be challenging for some people. Even though I’m an introvert, I still like to be in the energy of people occasionally. However, everyone has different schedules and when you are available, your friends might not be. This is when alone time to breathe and enjoy who you are is really important. Self-care is super beneficial and letting yourself have some alone time helps much more than you assume.

3. Studying all night helps nobody

Yeah, that all-night study session seemed like a great idea, but then you go into your test and realize that you didn’t retain any of the information. This is because after a certain point of exhaustion, your brain begins to process less and less. Studying during the day in small spurts is the most efficient method. During those annoying one-hour breaks between classes, hide out in the library and study some flashcards. Trust me, it’ll do you a lot of good.

4. Coffee is your best friend

This is a huge stereotype but it’s so true: college kids live off of coffee. I honestly didn’t think it was going to make a huge difference, but boy, does that cup of Joe help before my music theory class. Coffee hits you hard with a huge dose of energy approximately 20 minutes after you ingest it. It makes the difference of you sleeping in class, to being attentive and actually getting good grades. Do not drink more than four cups a day, as that can have a negative health impact.

5. You still have a lot to learn

I know this is only the beginning. There are so many more changes coming, I’ve just got to put on my big girl pants and show college who’s boss. For now I’m living in the dorms with a huge meal plan. My furniture was not bought by me. I don’t pay for my groceries. I still send my mom my medical bills. These are all due to change in the next six months. I will learn how to be completely independent. It just might take a few months.

You’ve got this and so do I. This is the best time of our lives, being a college student and having the opportunity to grow into a stable adult is becoming increasingly rare. Try to not stress and realize just how blessed you are to be where you are.

About The Author

Mary is an avid writer and a proud member of Her Campus VCU's editorial team. She is obsessed with music and is currently studying Opera/Music Education at Virginia Commonwealth University. She has published two novels and is working on her third. She loves cats and will always impulsively mention them in every single conversation. You can find her looking at memes all night and chugging coffee in the morning.