9 Things I Learned In 9 Months Of College

College is a time for learning, trying new things and most importantly growth. Through the good and bad we are constantly learning and a college environment fosters this like no other. Outside of the classroom, here are nine things that I learned in my first nine months at Penn State.


1. To drink black coffee

As a barista this can be hard when I make creamy lattes and cappuccinos around the clock, but truly there is no better way to start your day than with a cup of black coffee. It’s simple, it’s healthy, it’s inexpensive and you can find it just about anywhere. I am unable to wake up in the morning without a cup and I have learned that while lattes and other drinks with milk and sugar may make me feel sluggish, black coffee keeps me going all day.


2. To manage my time

Going into college I expected time management to be nearly impossible, but I’ve learned that this isn’t the case. I’m a full time student with 19 credits, I work 20 hours a week, I have a social life, I get to the gym and somehow I still found a way to binge watch all of “13 Reasons Why” on Netflix all in one week. It is completely possible to manage everything and still have free time.


3. To try new things

In my first semester of college, I became extremely active in journalism. Although I no longer write for four different publications I still find great joy in writing a simple article like this one. This semester I got into running which I find extremely therapeutic and also great for my health mentally and physically.


4. To let go of toxic people

Don’t be afraid of “friend break-ups.” Just like dumping a significant other it is completely acceptable to let go of some friends. The back home friend who's texts always seem to make you feel worse? Let them go. The girl you met at orientation that you’re okay with drifting away from? Let her go too.


5. To care about my GPA

Let me serve as living proof that it is possible to go out every single weekend and still make dean’s list. I certainly don’t party as hard as I did last semester, but this only gives me more time to focus on my grades. GPA is important for getting into grad school, studying abroad and also can look good on a resume so remember not to neglect it for the other lures of college life.


6. To find the power of my voice

More importantly, that what I have to say matters. We are all individuals with something to say and a medium to say it and this goes so unrecognized. Your opinion matters and you shouldn’t be afraid to say it out of fear of ridicule. Don’t say what you know to be safe, say what you believe to be right.


7. To stand by my decisions

And, going with this, to stand by your opinions. Don’t change what you believe because it goes against what is popular or because of what your friends believe. Be proud of what you value even if it may contradict the norm.


8. To put myself first

Mentally and physically. Yes it is important to remain empathetic towards others and give your best for those you care about, but sometimes in doing things for others we can forget about ourselves and what makes us happy. You have to learn the best ways to keep yourself living your best life, whether that be through running, reading, dancing, or all of the above and make what you love a priority. It’s okay to be selfish once in a while if you are becoming a more self-loving human being. Love yourself before anyone else.


9. To accept change

Sometimes things won’t always go as planned and learning to accept this is crucial. It’s okay to have second thoughts about your major. It’s okay to have second thoughts about your choice of university. It’s okay to want change, no matter how big or small but so many of us push these thoughts to the back of our brain and tell ourselves we’ll be okay staying the path even if we feel trapped by it. If you have doubts, acknowledge them. You absolutely can pick up everything and change courses if you know you’re not in the right place.


Keep on growing, keep on learning and keep on trying new things, collegiates!

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