When you start your first year of college, you’re filled with hope, anticipation, and excitement. You’re starting a new journey that can set the tone for the rest of your life. I’m the first of my siblings to go to college, so there wasn’t anyone there to guide me throughout freshman year. My first year was a learning experience. It was extremely hard navigating on my own. Here’s six things I wish I knew before I started college:
You’re going to miss home more than you realize.
Personally, this one came as a shock to me. I was so excited to leave home and finally gain some independence. I intentionally applied to many schools on the east coast because I wanted to experience something different than Las Vegas. I was ready to live my life without the constant supervision of my parents. I didn’t take into account how difficult living across the country without my parents would actually be. Of course, I would talk with them on the phone or Facetime them, but it wasn’t the same as actually being with them. Being away made me appreciate my parents and the rest of my family so much more than when I was living with them 24/7. It’s true what they say: Distance really does make the heart grow fonder.
Making friends is not as easy as people make it seem.
The thing that I was most excited for when it came to college was having the chance to meet new people and make lifelong friends but…it didn’t come easily at all.TV shows and movies show characters meeting someone new and in a second, they’re best friends for life. But the reality was, I would meet someone and in that same second, I would forget their name, and they would forget mine, and we would move on with our lives. There were so many days where I would sit in my dorm feeling extremely lonely and sad because I felt as though every other person had found their group and I was the odd one out. Thankfully, I was blessed with amazing roommates and amazing floormates and became friends with them!
Going to class is important, but so is your mental health.
The majority of my professors at Howard were and are sticklers for attendance, so I made it my priority to make sure that I was on time for every single one of my classes, participated as much as I could, and took diligent notes.However, there were days where I would find myself in space where it was hard to even think about going to class and that’s extremely valid. I needed mental health days to try and regroup myself. I would suggest that if you’re thinking about skipping class one day to take care of yourself, make sure you know what information you’ll be missing and the homework that you need to do so you won’t fall behind.
Check your emails
Before college, I wasn’t really an avid email checker but now I check my emails as often as I check Twitter and Instagram. Some of my professors are constantly sending internship opportunities and, as a college student, internships are extremely important and crucial to your future. Class announcements, grades, class cancellations, and many other things are emailed, so make sure to be checking your emails so you don’t miss anything!
Be open to all opportunities
Take risks. College is the perfect time for that. Go out of your comfort zone; nothing exciting ever happens there. It’s scary, for sure. My freshman year was filled with endless opportunities for me to grow as human being and, because I was so afraid of failure, I turned down those opportunities. Looking back at it, I regret turning them down and I don’t want to live a life with regrets, so go for what you want to do! Yes, risks can end up in failure, but the reward is always worth it.
It’s okay not to be okay
College is a new and exciting time in your life, but it can also be overwhelming. It’s okay to feel upset that things aren’t going the way you expected them to. It’s okay to feel as though the college you’re at isn’t the best choice. It’s okay to spend your entire day in bed watching your favorite movies. It’s okay to feel any emotions, because all those emotions are valid. College is hard, and there are going to be days that will tear you down emotionally and mentally. Just remember that you are here at this institution for a reason and that there are many amazing things in store for your future.