Today I am going home for the summer. It’s weird to think that my freshman year of college is already over. I can’t believe how fast eight months went. It almost seems like a blur and that stuff from September happened just yesterday, all at the same time. It’s a weird feeling. I definitely am ready for my job and internships this summer, and I’m excited for what’s in store. That being said, I’ll absolutely miss all of my friends. It’ll be different without their constant presence for the next four months.
As a freshman, I lived six hours from home. It was a big journey, but it was one I consciously wanted to make. I knew from the start that Clark was the place for me. And from this experience, I’ve learned a thing or two.
Here are nine things I learned my freshman year:
1. Sleep is optional but a good idea
I can honestly say I never pulled an all-nighter at college, but I do have a friend or two that did. I saw how hard it was for them the next day. All-nighters are hard on your body. You need sleep. That isn’t to say I didn’t stay up multiple nights way later than intended simply because I was having fun hanging out with friends, but that does mean I learned the value of sleep and how much you really need it to function.
2. Same with working out
I tried to stick to working out three to four times a week. This did get difficult at times. There would be homework, exams, stress, sickness, etc. stopping me from going. I realized that it is sometimes easier to create an excuse not to go to the gym than to convince yourself to go. In the long run though, those weeks I really kept on schedule and started to create a habit out of it, I did feel better and more confident.
3. It’s not terribly hard to eat well
I ate a salad from the Bistro almost every day for lunch. I may just be one of those people who love salad and fruits and healthy things, but I really didn’t find it hard to find healthy options, even at the caf. Just because pizza and pasta are available doesn’t mean you have to get it. And that freshman 15–that doesn’t have to be true.
4. The library isn’t always the best place to do work
I might have worked at the library just once or twice this whole year. I do see the value in a library, and I did check out books a few times. I just didn’t find it the right environment for me to complete my work. I instead did it in the lounge of my dorm, outside, or in my room. This is what worked for me. The library may be right for you. However, it’s not the end all be all.
5. Explore your city
I tried to do something fun each weekend. I also set a standard for myself that if it’s within two miles (and I don’t have to cross a highway or anything), I’d walk there. This is a great way to get to know the town or city your college is in. My mom came up here to pick me up, and I was able to direct her while driving simply from all the walks and adventures I took.
6. You don’t always have to follow a plan…
Adventures are my favorite. Yes, a weekly schedule did come out of events going on on campus twice a week and I may have pointed out what I’d want to do, but that doesn’t mean you always have to stick to that plan. Spontaneity can be fun. You’ll surprise yourself.
7. …But do try to stay on budget
Movie tickets are expensive. Gifts for birthdays and holidays are expensive. Medicine is expensive. Food is expensive. Activities are expensive. Basically, life story: Everything is expensive.
8. People come and go…
There are some people who you were friends with the first week of school or first semester even that you won’t talk to later in the year. But that’s ok. There are those people you will talk to still; I met two of my best friends the first week of school. However, my other close friends didn’t come into my life until later on. You have to learn that it’s not something you did wrong if someone leaves your life. It’s just natural, and it’ll all be ok in the end.
9. …But memories last
People leaving though doesn’t mean that you won’t remember what you did with them. Those fun memories still last. All the memories you make with your friends leading up to the conclusion of the semester are what count. That’s what makes your college experience both special and unique. That’s what you’ll look back on many years down the road, not that stupid test. Also make sure you take photos. Photos last forever.