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Five Things I’ve Learned In My First Semester

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at MCLA chapter.

With the Fall 2019 term coming to an end, I can honestly say that college is definitely an interesting and stressful experience. It has had its ups and downs, but overall I cannot wait to see what else it has in store for me. 

Reflecting on this semester has uncovered some valuable lessons that I’ve learned: 


Now I’m not saying you need to get along with every single teacher you have, but get along with the important ones. These are the ones who are going to help you get access to certain opportunities throughout your major and around campus. It’s also helpful to know your professors in case something comes up and you can’t perform to your liking. You don’t need to struggle on your own; your professors are more than understanding of life’s issues. 


Whether or not you’re officially involved in a sport or club, you’re going to end up involved in something on campus. Getting involved is an important way to make new friends and provide yourself with new experiences. College doesn’t have to be work work work all the time. The more you get involved with people, the more enjoyable the whole college experience will be. 


This piece of advice wasn’t exactly hard for me to follow because I had it pounded into my head from the moment I got accepted into college, but it’s an important piece of advice to bring up. As much as everyone thinks about all the college parties and crazy nights out, the main reason you are in school is to receive and education. If you aren’t going to put 100% into your class work, then why pay a mini fortune to be at the school. Of course there are times when you will think “My grades are high enough that if I don’t do this, I’ll still pass”. But I’ve heard the failed stories of this instance way too many times to believe it’s actually a ‘fair point’. It’s not gonna be any fun when you’re sent back to going to lame parties in your hometown when you fail out because you didn’t take the work seriously. 


College campuses are a pretty diverse place, and that can be kind of intimidating to some people. “Where do I fit?”, “Who should and shouldn’t I hang around with?”  一 I know for me, that this was one of the hardest parts about starting school. I was nervous about fitting in and finding the right group of friends, but I soon realized that in order to find the “right” group, you need to experience the “wrong” group. Everyone is trying to fit in just as much as you are and sometimes they might do it better than you. In the first few weeks of school I didn’t have one consistent friend on campus. I roamed between groups and I had to find where I belonged by recognizing where I didn’t. Every person I met on campus taught me something about who I wanted to be around and who I thought wanted to be around me. It’s important to realize that friend groups can and will change, but it’s all pushing you further down a path towards people who are the best for you.


With all this advice coming at you, it’s most important to understand that this is what I learned from my first semester at college and as general as I tried to make them, all of these points might not work out for everyone. College is a time to find yourself and develop into someone who is no longer afraid to be themselves. With the help of your professors and others, you will become the best person you can be. The new found significance of self-care and acceptance is the biggest takeaway for me from this fall semester. Taking care of myself and accepting my mistakes and flaws will only help me succeed in my future college career.

Hope is a current Freshman with a Psychology major and two minors in Art and Anthropology here at MCLA.