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What I Wish I Knew Before My First Year of College

It’s your first time on your own. Your first time away from your parents and most likely the first time you’ve actually had to start acting like an adult and take care of yourself. All this is pretty scary, and that is ok. I was the first child in my family to go away to school so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I didn’t have anyone to give me any tips or guidance, I was pretty much left to figure out a lot of things for myself.

There are so many different things and situations that I’ve encountered along the way, where I’ve felt really alone and I’ve come to realize that isn’t true at all. There are so many people every day who struggle with the same things you do, but they might just be better at hiding it. Let’s face it, what college student wants their peers and everyone around them to know that they are extremely homesick? Not many.

My first week of school went a little like this, I would go to class and put on a smile and tell all my friends I was having a great time. When I got back to my dorm room I would call my Mom and tell her that I thought I made the wrong choice by going away to school and that I thought I needed to come home immediately. I never thought I would make any friends and that I was just completely left on my own.

To me, it seemed like everyone else around me was fine. I thought that I was the only person who needed time to adjust and find myself and that everyone else around me had already found a big group of friends and didn’t miss home at all. I felt like I was really alone in this situation, but boy was I wrong.

One day I was talking with a group of friends and they all assured me that they felt the same way at one point or another. When you’re in the moment you feel like you’re alone, and what you don’t realize is there are a bunch of other girls also sitting on their beds in their dorm room calling up their Mom telling her they need to go home. You don’t realize that there is a ton of people around you in the same boat and everyone is trying to meet new people and make new friends. Although it may seem like everyone has his or her established friend groups and are extremely happy, that probably isn’t the case.

As my first month here the workload started to become heavier and heavier. I almost felt like I was drowning in work and I would never be able to have a social life or do anything that wasn’t work. High school definitely didn’t prepare me for the workload I would be getting in college. What I had to realize was that I had to prioritize my time. I didn’t have to stress myself out and stay up until 4 am every night killing myself slaving away over assignments.

I figured out that organization is key. Try making a to-do list or getting a planner and writing down everything that needs to be done. It also helps to plan out your week. Plan out which assignments you want to do during the week and on which nights. Trust me, it isn’t worth it to stay up all night trying to complete all of your assignments.

I wish I would’ve known these things before my first year of college. My main piece of advice here is that you are never alone. Whatever you are going through, trust me when I say there is probably someone else who is going through the same thing and you have no idea. There are so many people that are around to help you. Although it may seem scary to let people in and tell them how you are feeling, sometimes it is the best thing to do.

So just remember this one thing, you are never alone.

I am a third year student at LIM College studying Marketing with a concentration in cosmetics. I currently intern for ELLE Magazine and I love taking aesthetically pleasing pictures for my instagram! Follow me here: @niicoleheaney
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