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Reflecting on the Lessons From My First Year of College

As the semester is wrapping up, it will be a wrap on my first year at Lafayette College. In a few short months, I have learned many valuable lessons, but these are my top 10.

  1. You Need Time To Yourself. I found it is so important to communicate with others about when I need time alone and how everyone feels this way eventually. Whether it be a meal alone, a last minute plan cancellation, or doing homework without the company of friends, the feeling is necessary sometimes. I have found little pockets of time in which I have no choice but to be by myself and I have learned to treasure it. 
  2. Finding an Outlet to Stress & Insecurity. 100% my outlet has become working out. It gears me towards a positive mindset and dedicates 1-2 hours to myself each day. Whether it be at the gym or in a lifting class, the designated time I am giving myself feels rewarding. Other outlets I have found that my friends enjoy as their outlets are art, sudoku and brain puzzles, and yoga.
  3. You Are Always ‘On.’ My therapist coined this term. She explains that we are always presenting a front. We feel we have to be kind to our peers and retain our stress not to ‘burden’ anyone. It is not the same as being home in your room where you can let all the walls fall down around you. Some people are able to let their walls down around friends, but others find this difficult. I have found that finding a safe, secluded spot in academic buildings has provided me with a lot of comfort.
  4. You Do Not Need To Go Out Every Weekend. After developing a nasty cold from being run down and lacking sleep, I finally learned this lesson. Fear of Missing Out plagues us freshmen, but the sooner we learn to listen to our bodies and rest, the better. There will always be another weekend… Which brings me to my next point
  5. Sleep! Sleeping, especially on the weekends, is so important for being able to tackle the week. Sometimes a few late nights with friends must be traded in for the pillow. 
  6. Hookup Culture Is Not For Everyone And That’s Ok. The stereotype of freshmen men and women being sexually active with multiple partners and our decision to engage in this culture ruminates in most of us. After trial and error from many of my peers and myself, I have found comfort in paying attention to myself and validation than that from others. 
  7. Get Involved. Getting involved has made lesson 6 ring true for myself. Getting involved emphasized prioritizing myself and my interests rather than wasting time focusing on the superfluous emotions and drama.
  8. Take Classes You Are Passionate About. Taking classes to fill requirements has been my least favorite part. I have found there are many alternative classes that can fill the same graduation requirements. Opting for the classes I enjoy has made me more passionate about my education and look forward to attending class.
  9. Don’t Let Others Negatively Influence Your Entire Being. People come and go. Centering my compassion and energy around my friends who reciprocate has boosted my esteem.
  10. Being Independent is an Amazing Thing. I never knew how independent of a person I was until entering college. The ability to make your own decisions and routine while sharing your day with your friends has been my favorite part. I did not know how deeply I needed to experience independence until landing here at college.
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