15 Things I Learned From My First Semester at Mason

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As my first semester at Mason is coming to an end, I have been reflecting on my time here and realizing the many misconceptions I had about Mason and college life in general. Here are just a few of the things I have learned so far.

1. Making friends really isn’t that hard

For some reason, I had this idea that when I walked into class on the first day everyone would already know each other and be best friends. However, this is 100% NOT the case. Almost everyone was in the same boat as me and looking to make new friends. All it takes is a simple “Hi! My name is *insert your name here*. What’s yours?” and you’ll likely become quick friends.

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2. You’ll probably either love or hate your roommate, there’s really no in between.

I was lucky, my roommate has ended up becoming one of my best friends on campus, but many of my friends didn’t end up with my luck. Even if you seemed compatible when you talked online, it doesn’t mean you will be when you are living together.

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3. You will get homesick.

After moving in, your first thought will most likely be “I’m finally free!” But very soon you’ll miss arguing with your siblings and your mom getting mad at you for not washing the dishes before she got home from work. It’s the little things.

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4. There are so many other ways to get involved other than joining a fraternity or a sorority.

Maybe Greek life is the thing for you, but it’s not for everyone. Mason has all of its organizations listed online at Get Connected and has almost any club you can think of- from a gardening association to an anime and gaming club, you’ll definitely be able to find your home in one of the many groups on campus.

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5. Rate My Professor is your friend.

When I signed up for classes at orientation, we had a very limited amount of time and were encouraged not to look our professors up, just to get signed up for our 15 credits. I didn’t end up with any professors that were too terrible (and I ended up with a few really good ones) but I probably could have saved myself some tears if I had looked up my IT course professor and seen that many people found the class difficult.

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6. It’s okay to ask for help.

Mom, if you’re reading this, I finally admit it. As independent as I want to be, I now know that sometimes you have to ask for help in order to be successful. If you are struggling in a certain class, or just with settling into college life in general, there are many resources on campus to help you out and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.Via giphy

7. Self-care is important

School is stressful. I know that grades are the number one priority of most college students, but make sure you are taking breaks to relax and unwind. Try doing a face mask or taking an hour off from doing homework to watch an episode or two of your favorite show on Netflix.

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8. The food at Ike’s is 100% better after 10 PM

I live in President’s Park, so Ike’s is just a few quick steps away from my dorm room. A few weeks into school, my friends and I discovered that Ike’s “late night” menu contains better food than the rest of the day. From pancakes to nachos, Ike’s is much better at night.

9. No one gives a sh*t what you look like.

Sure, you could go to class in full hair and makeup with a nice outfit, or you can give yourself an extra hour of sleep and go in your pajamas. Either way, no one will give you a second look.Via giphy

10. There’s always something to do on campus

Even if there isn’t an event like a basketball game going on, you can always find something to do with friends. Some great examples include having a group study session for an upcoming exam in the library or play a few games of pool at the Corner Pocket.

11. The “Freshman Fifteen” might be real for some people but not for most.

Personally, I have pretty much maintained the same weight since I’ve gotten to campus. There are many healthy food options all over campus, gyms you can go to when you have free time and you’ll probably be walking more than you’re used to. But, don’t be afraid to treat yourself to a treat every now and then!

12. High school teachers prepared us for college in all the wrong ways.

You have so much more freedom in college than high school teachers make it seem. Many professors let students to call them by their first name and respond to your carefully worded, professional sounding emails with “Ok. Sent from my iPhone”. College is different from high school in every way imaginable.

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13. You’re going to be tired ALL. THE. TIME.

My entire schedule basically revolves around when I’ll be able to make it back to my dorm to nap and I’m not even sorry about it.

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14. If you’re like me, don’t even try to do homework late at night unless it is absolutely necessary.

I’m usually pretty good about getting my work done at a reasonable time so I can get to bed before I’m completely exhausted. If I attempt to do homework after midnight, it’s a complete mess. I misspell words so badly that even auto-correct can’t fix it, write confusing sentences and sometimes I can’t figure out what they mean the next morning.Via giphy

15. You’re going to have the time of your life.

As the semester comes to a close and we all head home for winter break, you know part of you will be excited to get back to campus already.