As this academic year is quickly coming to an end, I’ve started to reflect on my first year in college. Despite starting off the year with online classes and virtual events because of the pandemic, I still found a way to have an enjoyable first year, and there are many things that I’ve learned and noticed that will stick with me for the rest of my college career.
One of the first things that I learned was that I don’t need nearly as much stuff as I thought. Before moving in, many of us find ourselves binge-watching hours worth of dorm hauls and “what to bring to college” videos from previous freshmen, and we felt like we needed to take a ridiculous amount of things with us to survive. The truth is, I didn’t use half of the stuff that I thought would be essential. Ultimately, I needed to remind myself that if I didn’t use the product in high school, I probably wasn’t going to use it in college. Even though this seemed like a lesson that I would only need to consider once, it made me think about all of the purchases that I made before buying things. Aside from the fact that I needed to spend my money wisely because I had just as little money as any other college student, I needed to think about if I truly needed whatever it was that I was about to buy. As I’m preparing to move into an apartment next semester, I’m trying to think about if the things that I want are actually useful or if it will be another wasted buy.
Next, I realized that socially, nobody cares. In high school, there was a bit of social pressure and it was easy to find yourself worried about what other people thought. There was a need to dress nicely every day and be socially involved. In college, I quickly learned that everyone is more focused on themselves, and while everyone’s main focus is to get a degree, we’re each too focused on our own lives to be worried about what the next person is thinking. It was refreshing to realize this and see that the social pressure was lifted. I do think that for some people there’s still a stigma to go out and be seen at every party, but this is a lesson that takes others some time to learn
Finally, and one of the most important lessons that I learned was that I need to change my degree to fit me instead of the other way around. As we get closer to coming to college, we are filled with the idea that our degree will only open the door to a limited number of jobs and that we must put our interest to the side in order to focus on our education. After my first semester, I realized that this wasn’t necessarily true. While getting a degree it’s important to ensure that your interest is reflected in your studies, so you can actually enjoy what you’re learning about.
Even though my freshman didn’t pan out as I imagined, I was still able to have a semi-normal experience. I am very excited for the next 3 years in college and will definitely use what I learned this first year for the rest of my college career.