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Halfway Done with College: What I’ve Learned thus far.

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at San Francisco chapter.

I grew up an incredibly shy black girl in the heart of Palm Springs. If you’ve ever been to Palm Springs, you know people of color aren’t exactly the majority I tried my best to fit in with my peers by dressing similarly to them and avoiding black hairstyles, such as braids or twists. Being one of few Black students in my grade really thwarted my self-esteem. My failed attempts to conceal my blackness created anxiety surrounding my appearance and intensified my feelings of otherness.  

I saw going away to college as an opportunity to reinvent myself. With my other option being UC Santa Barbara, San Francisco State’s diverse student body and promise of inclusivity was a large reason I committed here. 

When I finally got to college, everyone seemed to have themselves figured out. I knew San Francisco had kind of a funky style, but it was still shocking to see people dressing in layers and leg warmers, compared to the crop tops and air forces I had been used to seeing. 

Albeit intimidating, seeing everyone’s unique styles gave me the confidence I needed to embrace a new me. I was soon inspired to start rocking accessories I had previously steered clear of due to fear of being too noticeable. I have since tried out countless new hairstyles and worn outfits that 16-year-old me would have been terrified to walk outside the house in. 

​For the first few weeks of college, it felt like everyone was having a better time than I was. It was very discouraging talking to people and not “clicking” with them or reaching out only to never speak to that person again. Soon enough, I had found a solid group of friends right down the hall from me.

My new friends were shocked I had never gotten my hair done. They taught me the difference between knotless and boxed braids, warned me how long it would take, how afterwards my scalp would burn and itch. My first semester of college, I probably had about 3 different hairstyles. None of them were hairstylists, but each time, my friends would cross the hall and take turns helping me part, twist, and wrap my hair. 

 For the first time in my life, I was able to experience the type of girlhood you see in the movies. Bottom line: there are good people out there, you just have to look for them. 

The biggest lesson I have learned the past 2 years is that you need to be your own generator of joy.  College life is difficult and hectic. There’s not always going to be time to plan excursions or brunches every week. Whether it’s drinking apple cider with your roommates after every exam or “sunbathing” outside your apartment whenever the weather hits 60 degrees, making fun out of the everyday. Celebrating my small wins has been a highlight of my college life.

Ruth Adams

San Francisco '26

My name is Ruth Adams and I am a second year Health Sciences and Biology double major. My hometown is Palm Springs, California. One of my favorite hobbies is scrapbooking. I am most looking forward to connecting with people that share common interests. During my time here, my goal is to bring awareness to issues on campus in a way that engages the student body.