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We’re Not in High School Anymore (or Freshman Year!)

I cannot believe I am writing this as a new, freshly moved- in sophomore at FSU. That is so crazy to me. Time really does fly, whether you are having fun or not. As I picture the amazing things I can do and accomplish in this upcoming year, I cannot help but reflect on the things I learned during my freshman year that got me to this point. For example, it was because of freshman year that I decided to use sophomore year to get more involved. Join me as I stroll down memory lane and share the lessons I wish I knew before the start of my collegiate freshman year.

1) Be nice to your family as they help you move in!

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I am not saying I was not nice to my family while moving in, but I definitely could have been nicer. I get it! You are so excited to move in and get this show on the road that you can carelessly snap at your mom when she puts your lamp in a place you do not like or be impatient with your dad when he gets lost trying to find your dorm on campus. Again, I get it. What we often do not get is that this is also a hard time for our parents. They are trying their best to help us carry our things or provide suggestions on how to decorate all while trying to cope with their own emotions that they have to leave their babies at school at the end of the weekend. Show excitement! But also show compassion and patience to your parents who may be struggling at this time. Take lots of photos and tell them you love them a lot. I wish someone would have told me that.

2) Look for things you want to join early on and do not wait forever to apply for them.

This is a big lesson I was forced to learn the hard way. I thought I had time to settle in and adjust. I thought I had time to figure out what clubs I wanted to join, but I did not have as much time as I thought. By the time I realized my friends were making new friends and starting to spend more time with them, most of the applications for the organizations I was interested in were past due. Before you even get to campus in the fall, it helps to Google the list of clubs at your school. That way you have a head start. When the club fair comes in the first week of school, go straight to those club booths and sign up!

3) You’re not in high school anymore!

I spent a good chunk of my freshman year longing for high school days (~the good old days~). It is okay to miss your friends from high school but know that you will see them again. Try to look at the glass half-full as opposed to half-empty. You’re not in high school anymore! Yay! There are no curfews, no rules. (There are rules, just not “parent rules”.).You can go anywhere you want, stay anywhere you want and eat anything you want. The best of all is that you’re free to be anyone you want to be. College provides a clean slate, a fresh start! Be who you want to be, seek out what you want to become, and be active in the things you’re passionate about. The world is yours to take on and conquer. So, take it on and conquer it.

4) You’re not lost, you’re here.

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Speaking from experience, a major thing that can cause anxiety is choosing your major! If you’re like me, you thought your whole life you were going to become a lawyer. Now you're in your second year of the pre-nursing track. Things change. Maybe you had a similar experience to mine where you thought you would become something then decided on something different at the last minute. Maybe you never had an idea of what you wanted to do, and you still don’t know. That is totally fine. Undecided is an option for a reason so don’t be afraid to choose it. You have time to figure it out. You may feel lost, but you’re not. You’re exactly where you need to be on your journey. You’re here.

5) Home will always be there.

I did not have my car at school and was constantly thinking of home. What was going on back there? Are my parents okay? Are they missing me? Is everyone able to continue with normal life without me? The probable answers: the same as when you left, yes, yes, and although they miss you, yes. Your parents have had their time. Now they want you to have yours. So, have yours. And come back home whenever you are ready (if you have your car).

Although initially addressed as advice for freshmen, I realized each of these reminders can serve as reminders in real life. Be nice to your family always! Tell them how much you love and appreciate them. Avoid procrastination at all costs. It can never end well. It is time to grow up, which isn’t always a bad thing. We can choose to embrace adulthood! It does come with good and bad experiences, but also, doesn’t everything? Don’t compare your journey to that of someone else. You are your own person. We all have our own paths and timelines to achieve our goals. You’re not lost, you’re simply figuring it out. Most importantly, remember your roots and visit home often. In the midst of the many inconsistencies in our journeys and stories, ideally, we can look to our homes and families as the one constant.

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a nursing major with a passion for writing :)!!
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