Lessons from a Freshman

College. New beginnings, unpredictability, experiences that you've never even imagined having. It's the time of your life while being the time you really learn about life. At the time of a pandemic especially, college has thrown a whole new set of obstacles our way. I have definitely lived what felt like four years my first semester. Through ups and downs, trials and tribulations, I must say: there were A LOT of lessons learned. Here's what I learned from my first semester of freshman year.

  1. 1. Communicate

    We all have misunderstandings at times. Whether it's an argument or misunderstanding with your friends, or telling a potential hookup you want to have real conversations with them — communication is essential in all relationships. Also communicating with your roommate is super important because ultimately they are the ones you are living with and if you have any issues, kindly inform them. I've had my fair share of times this semester where heart-to-hearts were essential in maintaining friendships and feeling more comfortable in situations. Some relationships may have faults — my best friends and I have sometimes gotten into arguments or misunderstandings — but when we talk about it, it allows us to grow stronger and become even closer friends.

  2. 2. It's OK to Make Mistakes

    stressed woman in mask

    Hannah Montana said it first, “Everybody makes mistakes” — and she ain’t wrong. They happen to the best of us. Sometimes we say things, or do things, and look back after with confusion, thinking, “What was I even thinking?” But here are the things about mistakes. It’s not about dwelling on them, it’s about how you move forward from them and learn from them. I know it sounds so cliche. But especially in a new environment with a completely new set of rules and expectations, we mess up sometimes. That's part of life. We are growing and the way we grow is to learn from mistakes and be a better version of yourself. I am the first person to admit I mess up at times. But I've learned to see what I could do in the future and work to move forward from mistakes. It's easier said than done — it took some tears, chocolate, and Netflix to get me to these realizations — but now that I have them I want you to as well.

  3. 3. You Live and You Learn

    College is full of firsts. It may be your first time living away from home, first time making friends outside of your hometown, and first time being fully on your own. It’s a lot — and for some it’s not always easy. I, as a first semester freshman, came from a high school experience that didn’t exactly prepare me for the real world. It’s constant trial and error which doesn’t come without any obstacles. I cannot begin to count on fingers the amount of mistakes, misunderstandings, and miscalculations I’ve encountered at college. That being said, learning to live with and grow from all of my experiences made this semester the best four months of my life. Sometimes we don’t do exactly what we feel like we should have done after a situation. For example, if you do an assignment late because you prioritize other things and you realize you need to do better — just work to do better in the future. One mistake, or failure, or slip up should not break you. Even if it feels like the world is colliding, or you are overwhelmed and you are just feeling like this whole “F*ck everything” mood; that is okay. We are not always going to feel 100% or be 100% and that is okay. And even if we need to cry at times, or we just need a hug, or a cookie, that is absolutely okay. We all have our moments. I came to this realization the hard way. I have made mistakes this semester, getting myself into situations that I would never have imagined. But it’s not about regretting that, it’s about acknowledging what you did wrong and doing better in the future. 

  4. 4. You will find your people

    friends at a coffee shop

    I know this may sound so cliche, but in all seriousness, you will find your people. You will find a great diversity of friends with different interests, backgrounds, and fun to offer. And you don’t have to stay with just one friend group. I personally made friends from different groups and different years. When beginning college, people just want to make friends. In addition, people of all years are very welcoming. So say “hi” and be your friendly self. I promise you you will find people that give you unconditional love and support. Personally, I am a social butterfly and have made friends in very random instances. Whether it be from class, or literally being in line at the dining hall, there are always ways to make friends and do it in a safe way during a global pandemic. Also FaceTime is amazing if you want to continue hanging with your friends even after you return to your room. Also, here’s a quick note: It may not be your initial friend group. You may not vibe with every single person you meet. But if you continue to be yourself, you will find good friends that will make your world and your life more enriching.

If you ever need someone to talk to please email me: [email protected]. I hope you have a fantastic freshman year and remember that college is a place to learn and grow. I hope you find a home here like I have and remember to enjoy yourself and all the amazing opportunities that college has to offer.

Your fellow freshman,

Alexa Grayson