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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at GCU chapter.

My first year of college had so many ups and downs, and I realized that in order to survive it, I had to learn to go with the flow. Many of the things I thought I would be doing, like going to events almost every night and attending a few parties, basically never happened. And to be honest, that’s perfectly okay. A pro tip from a college freshman closing out her first year is to allow yourself to take a step back and relax. You don’t have to push yourself to be involved in every single thing. College hasn’t been all that I’ve hoped for this year, but I’m looking forward to sophomore year with hope after this experience.

One of the most important things that I learned the hard way is that it isn’t easy to make friends in college. While this was always a bit of a struggle for me in middle and high school, I feel that connecting with my peers through my long lecture-oriented classes in college was close to impossible. I was lucky to have a suitemate that I’m incredibly close to now, but my connections have been taking a long time to thrive. I’m still waiting on a close-knit group. You can’t rush yourself into making friends. Having the mindset that making friends will happen when it happens, and knowing that you can’t force someone into spilling their life story, has been a hard lesson. As you can see, I thought it would be easier to make friends. 

However, I also expected, while going to college far from home, that people were going to like me a lot more and that it would be easy to find my place on campus. I assumed that college wasn’t like high school, and truthfully, it isn’t. But that still doesn’t mean that everyone you meet will like you. Not everyone is going to, and strangely, that was tough for me to deal with. I felt myself trying to force friendships where there wasn’t supposed to be one and had to learn to let life run its course and lead me to where I’m supposed to be. 

As much as I try to be an upbeat, positive, always on-the-go person, I have come to terms with the fact that I am a homebody who enjoys hanging back and relaxing. If I could give advice to anyone, whether an incoming college freshman or not, I would tell you to allow yourself to miss out sometimes. You don’t always have to be planning new activities and going to parties and schoolwide events. For someone like me who can easily be overstimulated, spending a full day listening to lectures, interacting with people, going to a basketball game, and then staying up in the company of others is a recipe for disaster. Going to back-to-back parties surrounded by sweaty people just isn’t me, and that is totally okay. It’s okay to need space, time alone, and some simple peace and quiet. 

My goal for next year is to put myself out there more often than I have this year while also managing my time so that I can be alone as well. Appreciate the simple things in life, because I’ve found this year that enjoying the small everyday joys will never let you down. 

Rebecca enjoys talking about niche pop culture topics that make her laugh. She tends to think she's pretty funny. When she's not scouring the internet for a few laughs, she's reading a fantasy book, or writing stories. She loves drinking coffee and tea, and is working on a Behavioral Health Science degree.