What Freshman Year Taught Me

It’s seriously so hard to believe that my freshman year of college is almost over. It feels like just yesterday I was graduating from high school, and very nervous to start my journey at Wake. Overall, it has not been an easy ride, but I am so grateful for all the friendships, past and present, for all the professors who taught me so much, and for the opportunity to be at a school like Wake. I learned more about myself than I realized was possible, as well as many life lessons, some of them learned the hard way. I recognize now that every adventure and heartache that I endured was to prepare me and mold me into the women that I am now. I am definitely not the same person that I was when I first entered Wake. While I look back on freshman year bittersweetly, I would not change anything about it. Everything happened the way it was supposed to, and while some things didn’t work out the way I expected, I know now that maybe it was not meant to be, and that’s okay. And now, before I go and leave freshman year behind, here are the major lessons that freshman year taught me:

1. Friendships are not forever, and may be short lasted:  It’s always exciting when you meet people for the first time, especially at the beginning of freshman year, whom you may click with instantly. You get excited about the prospect of being friends with these people for a while, but sometimes things take an unexpected turn. You find yourself not speaking to this person or a group of people anymore. Losing a friend(s) who you invested a lot of time into, or who may end up leaving you behind, can feel very disappointing. Take your time to be sad and grieve, but always remember that while one door may close, another door always opens  up, and can lead you to some great and unexpected friendships. Know that it is okay that some friendships end, but continue to be nice to those who you may not hang out with every day, and move on with your life.

2. Take time to be alone: We all have those days where we get a bad grade on a test we studied hours for, we are fighting with our SO, or we are just feel emotionally exhausted and tired of people and the world. On days like this, it is okay to just stop and spend some time alone. Turn off your communication to the world; go for a walk, draw and paint, write, or sing a song. Taking those few hours to recuperate and rejuvenate can be quite beneficial, and just taking some time to do something that distracts you for a little while can make you feel better. Being at Wake can be stressful and exhausting sometimes, and by taking a few moments to be away from other human beings can be just the thing you need to get back on track, without going completely insane.

Photo by Sam Smart

3. Things don’t always work out as planned: If you’re a control freak like me, you know that you always must have everything just so, have a plan for each day, and you are constantly working hard to make sure that the event you planned for you and your friends that weekend goes just right. I have learned that at Wake, things never really go according to plan the majority of the time, and often times, they go the exact opposite of how you want them to go. This can leave you feeling very annoyed, however; I have realized that it may have been in my best benefit that my plan did not go according to how I had wanted. The most important thing is to do is to plan and prepare, but know that life will always work it out to the way it’s supposed to go. If it’s not meant to be, it will not be, and it’s often best not to force certain situations. Thinking back, if I had just let fate take charge for the most part, I could have avoided a lot of awful and awkward situations that I found myself in.

Photo by Sam Smart

4. Don’t come into Wake with certain expectations: Before coming into college, every woman dreams about how their first year of college will be; will they meet their future SO like how their parents met each other, will they get into Tri Delta like Mom did, or if they will even be able to survive being away from home for the first time without Mom around to cook dinner and do their laundry for them. This is honestly the biggest piece of advice I can offer: Please don’t come into Wake thinking things are going to go a specific way.  I really regret coming into Wake with certain expectations because none of them came to fruition. I found myself frustrated and hurt in the beginning that what I had hoped for and expected was not happening, and I thought that maybe there was something wrong with me. I had to learn that by setting myself up for certain things to happen, I was really setting myself up for a lot of disappointment, and once I let my expectations go, a lot of unexpected life events came into my life. It just made life easier for me, and I found that I was less on edge, and more open to all the possibilities that Wake was going to throw my way.

Photo by Sam Smart

Freshman year is going to be what you make it. If you decide before coming here that it’s going to be a great year, then it will be the best year of your life. Freshman year will throw several big and small challenges your way, and my hope for you is that you will never let those challenges discourage you or stop you from pursuing your dreams. In such a short time, you will learn many things about yourself, about life, and about others. You will make good decisions, along with very stupid choices, but all of these experiences shape your first year of college. Most importantly, just remember to embrace the good and the bad with grace, to try and not be fearful, and let others help you along the way. It will be an experience of a lifetime, but once you reach the end, you will be a better person than when you started.



Sam is currently a freshman at Wake Forest University. Sam's favorite things are makeup, chocolate, music, and The Bachelor. Sam loves writing for every occasion, and finds it a great way to express her thoughts and feelings. In addition to Her Campus, she is involved in Project Launch, InterVarsity and GirlUp on campus. She plans to major in Psychology with a minor in Education and is an aspiring writer, medical malpractice lawyer and leader. Find her on Twitter and Instagram: @liseeesooosmart

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