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Reflection On My First Semester Of College: Lessons Learned The Hard Way

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

With my first semester of college now coming to an end, I have learned so many valuable lessons, some definitely came easier than others. Here are a couple of things that I will be carrying with me to next semester. 

It’s extremely easy to lose track. Balancing socializing, events, and academics can leave homework on the back burner. I know you have heard this countless times, but I still ignored it because I was confident I would get my work done… spoiler alert, I struggled. Stay driven to complete your assignments early. Whether it’s in the morning  or post-class; break the workload into manageable chunks. Have some fun with music, snacks, TV, or even a study group. Your academic journey doesn’t have to be a lonely or boring one!

Next, is mastering the art of saying no (and when to say yes). There will be a plethora of events and fun opportunities, so learning when to say yes and when to decline, is an art. I definitely battled this during my first couple months, attending every gathering that came my way. However, after a few grueling all-nighters, the importance of balance became clear. It’s about knowing when to prioritize academics without entirely letting go of college life. Don’t be afraid to say no, but allow moments where saying yes might just change your life!

Lastly, confidence. I came into college with what could be called the average amount of confidence. I had a desire to improve it, but the path wasn’t immediately clear. The first month I felt as if I wasn’t making any progress and my efforts were stagnant until one day, I put all of my nervousness aside and started knocking on the doors of everyone in my residence hall. Approaching people has never been my forte, but in the aspect of college life, it became a crucial skill. The act of reaching out, complementing, or initiating a conversation might feel like a lot, but the potential for creating connections is great. The fear of “what if” often outweighs the regret of “what could have been” which was one of the main reasons for my shyness. Let this be a reminder to embrace the opportunities, knock on doors—both literal and metaphorical— and stay focused on academics.

Mahi Patel is a writer at Her Campus NC State University. She is responsible for writing and publishing articles, participating in all meetings, attending events, and participating in events. This is her first year on Her Campus. Before Her Campus, Mahi started a chapter of Junior State of America in high school. During her summers, she would intern at pharmacies and blood banks to figure out what she wanted to continue her higher education in. She is currently a freshman at NC State University and is undecided. She plans on majoring in Statistics. After graduation, she plans to work for one of her favorite brands as a corporate actuary and hopes to pursue her passions of modeling and acting. Mahi was born and raised in Apex, NC, with her younger brother and her parents. During her free time, she loves to hangout with her friends, try different restaurants, listen to music, cook, travel around the world, and watch movies! She is a huge fan of American rapper Post Malone but has yet to go to his concert. Some of her favorite shows and movies that she keeps near and dear to her heart are The Maze Runner movies , The 100, and Hawaii 5-0.