Freshman year – what a time. It seems like yesterday I lived on the fourth floor of Hall 14, or newly named Warren House (south side, best side). It was a never-ending hassle to lug my laundry up and down four flights of stairs, getting used to the common bathrooms and sneaking passed the RA’s once or twice (or many times).
Now I’m a senior. My time in college is quickly winding down whether I like to admit it or not. As I reflect on my last three years at Bryant, there are some things that I wish people told me while I was a freshman. Granted, not many freshmen have the luxury of knowing upperclassmen immediately as they step onto campus who can impose their seniority wisdom on them, but it still would’ve been nice, you know? Anyway, if I knew these things earlier in my college career, situations may have played out differently, I may have taken more or less chances, risks, or opportunities, and would have been prepared for much of what was to happen during my college years.
Let me begin with friendships. I was lucky enough to enter college with two people from high school. We quickly befriended each other’s roommates and have been an inseparable squad ever since. I soon realized that this was a one in a million situation. Horror stories after horror stories were told freshmen year as people started learning to live with other people who most of the time were complete strangers they met via Facebook. In more cases than none, many freshmen did not have the optimal living situation.
Although I cannot speak to roommate horrors, I can speak to evolving, growing and strenuous friendships. The cheery front everyone adopts freshmen year to gain as many friends as they can is just that: a front. Which is okay. It is just something to remind yourself of as you make your way through the first year of school. You may think someone is your long-lost soulmate, your twin who was separated at birth, your future roommate and best friend. Things change rapidly and true personalities soon surface.
This is all okay – just be prepared. It’s unfortunate that some friendships you cherished so deeply in one moment, soon become encounters you do everything to avoid and memories are just things that now show up in your Snapchat memories.
I’ve been through it. We’ve been through it. People go through it.
It’s okay to lose that best friend you thought would be forever. Who knows, as you mature and grow as a person through college, maybe your paths will cross again, and you will reevaluate your relationship. I did not have this opportunity, and I still think about it, even three years later. I wish it worked out; I really do. The sayings that talk about people coming in and out of your life at specific times for specific reasons are honestly very true.
As senior year already flies by, I can only imagine that one of the most difficult parts of college is going to be moving away from those who have become your family. As a freshmen, this seems so far away, but in the blink of an eye you’ll be registering for your last semester of classes and getting ready to throw your graduation cap in the air, walk through the archway, and enjoy the last moments of what has come to be the best form of love you can find in the past four years – your friends.
This is just one thing I wish I knew as a freshman.
Relationships. These are the killer, truly. There are numerous relationship situations that you will see, experience and witness. I cannot speak to many of them, but I can speak to one.
You may or may not meet someone and come three years later they are still making an impact on your life – whether that’s good, bad, or changes with each passing day. From my experience, I honestly could not be more grateful and regretful simultaneously. My situation is unique in that it started as a relationship, quickly evolved into a ghosting situation (this happens way too often, and I feel for anyone who has had to go through it – regardless of the severity), to being friends, to being strangers, back to being friends, and the process continues on. If anyone finds themselves in this kind of situation, here is one thing I wish I knew while I was a freshman: Loyalty matters.
It really does. Your friends might try and steer you away, but in your heart and in your head, you know what is best for you. Even if the ‘best’ is temporary, that counts for something and exists to serve a purpose or even teach a lesson. College is all about evolution, exploring, finding yourself and helping others find themselves (if you’re lucky, you can do it together). Certain relationships can be the most painful times of your life, but they can also help get you through other times that are just as rough. One moment the person can be your closest friend, the next they can be a complete stranger. I’ve gone back and forth a million times since freshman year and it feels like I have been on a see-saw for most of college. This ties back into loyalty and how it’s so incredibly important — people will show you where their loyalties lie at one time or another, so just ensure you protect yourself from giving your all and receiving their least.
If you take one thing away from this article, take away that no matter what happens, or what terms you may leave someone on, they played a part in your life that they were meant to play.
It may be temporary, long-term, who knows, maybe even forever. Remind yourself frequently that everyone plays their role, and it’s up to you to decide what you want that role to be, and understanding that the role you choose may not be what you get, what you expected or even what you needed. In the end, it was played, and your life stops for no one. So, take whatever the relationship experience was with you, and use it as a reminder of growth and as a token of gratitude during times you face setbacks, hardships or challenges in life.
College is such a bizarre place. Seriously. Really think about it. A bunch of young adults, trying to make something of themselves, pushing their limits, taking chances, all this happening and so much more in the Bryant bubble.
What I wish I knew as a freshman is that no matter how hard times may seem, things DO get better.
Everyone has hard times. As a senior, I can certainly admit to you that college has been the most insane rollercoaster ride I could have ever imagined. Now that I’m interviewing for full-time jobs and starting my professional career, I am living and breathing proof that things always get better.
Most likely not right away or by yourself, which is all part of the process. Things will get better no matter what it takes. It’s what humans do – we do whatever we can to get and feel what we deserve. Time and time again it might feel like the world is against you, it happens.
I would hate to write this to you acting as if it doesn’t. College can be the most fulfilling, rewarding and exciting time of your life to date. If great things aren’t presenting themselves to you, go find them. I promise they are there. If you’re struggling to make friends, if you’re not doing as well as you could in classes or if you’re nervous about getting involved or are just not adjusting smoothly to being in college, use your challenges as productive distractions. This is the most beneficial thing you can do.
If you aren’t making friends, say hello to the person who sits next to you in class. Yes, it’s cheesy. But you would be surprised by the outcome (I’m serious!)
Aren’t doing too well in classes? Connect with your professor. These are your mentors; they are here for you. Who knows, they may even hook you up with a full-time job someday – which happens, a LOT.
What I’m trying to say is take each hardship that has accumulated and use those feelings you are dealing with as determination to do, be and find better. It’s out there – it truly is. It’s waiting for you to come find it. After that, you’re unstoppable.
Thank you to Her Campus Bryant for providing me with the outlet to express and embrace my creative passions my entire college career. It would have been amazing to have had a resource my freshmen year who was raw, candid and has been through it. There are more of us out there than you think – always remember that, because I wish I knew that when I was a freshman.