Before I went to college, I heard a lot of rumors about what it would be like. “You will love it, best years of your life, lots of parties, blah blah blah.” While these rumors are true, they also left out some crucial details that I wish I would have known before starting school.
1. Comparing school and home will lead you nowhere:
In the beginning of college, I kept comparing my new friends to my friends from high school, and it always ended up making me very confused and a little upset. However, what I didn’t completely understand at the time was that I was basically living in two separate worlds. One was at home with my family and childhood friends, and the other was at school with my new friends. They are both amazing lives, but they are so completely different that you can’t really compare the two. It would be like comparing apples and oranges. Or Spongebob and Grey’s Anatomy. They are both amazing (don’t deny it, you still love Spongebob), and both have their ups and downs, but you can’t exactly compare the two. And if you attempt to compare and contrast Spongebob Squarepants and Grey’s Anatomy, you will only end up not being entirely focused on the show you are watching while at the same time feeling upset that you aren’t watching the other show. Always live your life in the present. Don’t forget about your past completely, but don’t become fixated on it to the point where you can’t enjoy the now.
2. You shouldn’t be afraid to fight for what you want:
There are a lot of Negative Nancys out there, but you can’t let them get to you. You have to do what makes you happy because in the long run, that’s the only thing that matters. Don’t be one of those people who only wears pink on Wednesdays, because even though they might “fit in” at the time, they will 100% look back at it and only see regrets. If you like pink, then wear it every day of the week, and laugh in the faces of those who judge you. Pink’s a great color, and it probably looks great on you. Do what you want, whenever you want. Unless it’s illegal. Then it’s probably not the best idea…
3. It’s ok if your first semester/year is not the best ever:
This is something that no one ever really mentions, but a lot of people go through. Change is always hard, especially if you are going through it alone. And when you are under pressure to find friends within the span of a couple days on top of all of the other tasks you have, it can be incredibly scary. But it will be ok. The fear ends. You do meet people, even if you are the most awkward introvert in the world, and like to hide in your room and watch Netflix all day. Trust me, I get that. And maybe the people you meet aren’t going to be your BFFLs. That’s ok too. College is one giant adventure, and almost every adventure has its ups and downs. But just because you haven’t met your adventure buddies yet doesn’t mean that you never will. It will happen, sometimes you just have to give it some time. And when you do, you will realize that all of those people who blabbered on and on about college and how great it is were actually pretty spot on.
4. Create a schedule and stay organized:
There are a lot of people that I know that really struggled with balancing their social life and their academic life during Freshman year. A lot of times, they would just skip doing most of their homework because they were either too lazy or they just forget. DO NOT DO THIS! Homework should be free points for your classes, and it can make or break your grade. Make sure to keep on top of everything by writing all of your assignments down in a planner or calendar, and then looking at that planner instead of letting it sit in your backpack for years. Also write down when your exams are, or else you might end up accidentally missing it.
5. Join clubs and get involved:
If you are one of those people that hasn’t found the group that really clicks, don’t be afraid to join clubs. These people automatically have at least one thing in common with you, and even if it doesn’t work out in the end, you won’t be left regretting not doing it later. So go for it. Live your dreams. Join that underwater basket weaving club. It might be fun.
6. Kill them with kindness:
It’s inevitable that you will meet people who aren’t the sweetest brownies in the bakery. But just because they aren’t made of sugar and spice and everything nice like you doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be kind to them. There’s always the possibility that your friendliness will end up rubbing off on them and you become the best of friends. But even if that doesn’t happen, you will be able to leave knowing that you did the right thing. And who knows, maybe other sweet people will notice your kindness and you will all join forces to become the Powerpuff girls or something. Anything is possible.
7. COMMUNICATION IS KEY:
I know, you’re probably reading this and thinking “Mom? Is that you? It’s me, Margaret.” But this time you should listen to your mom when she says this. It’s important. Because if you let the problems build and build until you want to scream and punch your roommates in the face, bad things are probably going to happen. It may include prison. Or a mental health institution. Whichever comes first, I guess. Talk every problem out. And make sure you don’t sound hostile or accusative when you do talk. If you tell your friends or roommates how you feel, chances are that they will understand.
8. Take advantage of the available resources:
Unless you’re like me and plan on moving to Neverland to escape all of your responsibilities, you will have to start doing adult things soon. I know, it’s a drag. But luckily, there are a lot of actual adults that are willing to help you with those adult things. So go to the career center. Go to the writing center. Get all of the help that you can, because adulting is difficult, but their are people out there that can make it a little easier. Another resource that you should not ever be afraid to use, and this is the most important, is the counseling center. A lot of people in college have a rough time their first semester or year of college, but some people think that going to someone to talk about it is something to be ashamed of, or not worth their time. THIS IS NOT TRUE. If there is anything that you learn from this article, it is that. Their are people who are literally trained not to judge you and to help you be happy. Everyone has something that they want to talk about without judgment, whether they admit it or not. Do not be afraid to do this. Even if that something is what you ate for lunch or the weather outside. It will be worth your time.
9. Try to do something fun each weekend:
College is all about making memories, so why don’t you try to make a new one each week? It can be anything from going to see a movie to going cliff diving in only your socks (and a swimsuit of course…) Everything is an adventure if you make it an adventure, and it will create amazing memories.
10. All of those people were right, college will be some of the best years of your life:
Yes, you will have your ups and downs, and maybe the first year isn’t everything that you expected it to be. But don’t lose hope. Because when you are old and grumpy and yelling at those crazy kids to get off your lawn, I can promise you that you will end up looking back at the memories you made and you will smile.