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The harsh reality is that the transition from high school to college won’t be as simple as you may think. Regardless of where you choose to go to school, the change will be difficult and may leave you feeling every possible emotion in just one semester. Freshman year is a year that isn’t easy for anyone, but the hardest years turn out to be the most valuable because of the lessons you learn. Even though I’m only a second semester freshman, I’ve changed so much that I’m not nearly the same person I was when I began college. For that reason, here are some things I wish I could tell my post high school self.

Moving away is going to be hard

In high school, I always knew I’d end up at Alabama. Everything seemed to be so simple because I knew where I was going. I underestimated the difficulty that comes with moving far from home and the huge cultural change. However, moving far away turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life thus far. It pushed me to move outside of my comfort zone even though at first it felt uncomfortable. The difficulty it took to adjust was well worth the reward of finding myself. Moving away helped shaped me into the best version of myself by allowing me to learn lessons that I wouldn’t have learned staying in the comfort of my home.

Trust the process

Although it sounds cheesy, trusting the process really does work. Trusting the process was definitely more difficult in starting college since it really felt as if I was starting over. At first, it was so difficult for me to be patient, but by putting forward my best effort, I was able to grow so much as a person. Freshman year comes with so many emotions, and at times you feel that you’re the only one feeling this way. However, everyone experiences the same emotions even if they are having a completely unique experience from yours. Stand true to yourself and don’t let the opinions of others change the way you feel or act.

Put yourself first

I always had heard that time management was the biggest part of college, but I didn’t realize the complexity of it. In high school, I was super organized and had amazing motivation as well as time management skills. Without your parents reminding you of extracurriculars and cooking dinner for you every night, you will learn the importance of planning. This skill is one of the hardest to master, and it takes time as I am still not perfect at it. It is important to say “yes” to as many events as you can but at times it can be hard to not overdo it. When needed, take rest days and don’t always say yes for the sole purpose of pleasing someone. It will burn you out and most of the time it isn’t worth it.

You will become a night person

All my life I have been a morning person and being frank, I thought that would never change. However, you learn that everyone’s schedules are so different that the only time everyone is free is at night. The night is a huge social time so it’s important to adjust your schedule accordingly. You’re not always going to get 8 hours of sleep, but it’s still important to try to stay well rested.

You’re going to meet your people, be patient

Going to a new school is intimidating for everyone, and it always seems like you’re the only one left out. It’s super difficult to put yourself out there because of our internal fears like embarrassment. If you do not put yourself out there, it’s impossible to find your people. The first people you meet in college will unlikely be “your people” so just be patient.

Take risks

Taking risks involves you to step outside your comfort zone in a calculated manner. This allows you to try new things, meet new people, and find opportunities that you didn’t even know existed. Taking risks has always been difficult for me, but the payoff is so worth it in the end.

Everyone is in the same boat

This one is the hardest yet most important one to remember: Everyone is in the same boat. Social media is extremely glamorized, especially freshman year when everyone is trying to adjust to their new life. Adjustment and change is hard, but with the right attitude and support system, it becomes a lot easier.

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Caitlin Cague

Alabama '25

Hi! My name is Caitlin and I'm majoring in Public Relations and minoring in finance. I'm from California and in my free time I love to go to the beach, hang out with my friends and of course, write. I have a strong passion for fitness.
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