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How I’ve Managed My First Two Years At College

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

As I finish my second year of college at Stony Brook, there have been so many life lessons I have learned that have allowed me to keep going.

The last four semesters have been a rollercoaster of a ride and it’s funny to think that I still have half my degree left to complete. Between academics, social experiences, and maintaining the best version of myself, it feels like a waste of time and money when I’m not perfect. However, there are some valuable lessons I have gathered that may help you out if you’re entering college soon or you can’t seem to find the energy but trust you will succeed.

For starters, do not let academics control your life. My first semester I was a STEM major and I felt drained every moment of the day. Even now with switching my major (which is also completely fine), I make sure I stop my homework at a certain point to give myself time with friends and some me time.

This one was a hard one for me to face- friends will come and go, but fight for the ones you want to stay in your life. I don’t have many friends left from high school and a majority of those I spoke to my first year I no longer speak to. What I did make sure to do was reach out to the people I could see myself being friends with and made the effort to keep a healthy friendship with.

The next one was a personal goal I achieved, get rid of the people you don’t want around. Set your boundaries, learn from your mistakes, and let go! You aren’t here to become someone’s parent and if they are not being a good person, you deserve better. Those you keep around you say a lot about who you are as a person. Also, take personal accountability and work on it for the next time.

You will miss home, and it’s ok to feel like you need to take a break. At the start of this semester, I went home for a few days to balance myself. Life moves extremely fast while you’re away, and it’s ok to take moments to ground yourself. Reach out to your professors, seek professional help, and come back stronger.

Depending on your academic strengths, there’s a chance you will fail a class. There is going to be at least one course during your four years that will test your limits and it’s ok if you don’t succeed. Talk to your advisor and see if you can retake the course, and know this doesn’t define you.

Most importantly, do not rush your degree. Do not overload yourself to the point of exhaustion and miss out on finding who you are. The woman I was when I entered college is vastly different from who I am now. And honestly, that makes me proud of who I am today.

Finally, everyone is on a different path in college, therefore do not compare yourself to anyone. People transfer, some change their careers, and some were destined for their profession since middle school. You will work and grow at your own pace, so give yourself the benefit and be supportive of others.

Change will happen whether you want it to or not. It matters what you do about it.

Happy finals season and good luck!

Melanie Karniewich

Stony Brook '25

Melanie Karniewich is the Vice President of Her Campus Stony Brook and a junior Journalism major with a minor in Film and Screen Studies at Stony Brook University. You can always find her reading rom-com novels, watching mystery movies, and of course writing.