The first lesson I learned after 9 months of living in the lovely shoebox that is my dorm, is that college clichés are true. The first year of college truly does transform someone. In fact, after completing the last two semester (minus finals week- that’s a whole other beast), I can barely remember who I was my senior year of high school. Here are five ways my freshman year at Texas A&M University changed me:
I became very independent
This one’s an obvious one, but I have been truly surprised at all of the things I could do by myself. I genuinely thought I couldn’t do basic tasks alone, like getting out of bed (well, we’re still working on that one), let alone feeding myself. In high school, I was known as the girl who needed someone to “take care” of me, however, I have been pleasantly surprised at what I can singly accomplish.
I learned what it felt like to be lonely
Even though I went to college with a good amount of high school friends, I felt extremely alone my first semester. As an introvert who takes a while to come out of her shell, it was daunting to put myself out there and invite someone I barely knew to lunch. It is actually quite common in college to hang out with people who are close to strangers just to get to know them and I am forever grateful to the people who reached out to me. In fact, now I always agree to hang out with people, no matter how little I know them or how busy I am, because now I cherish having company more than ever.
I actually used my planner
Before my freshman year, I “splurged” on a $20 ban.do agenda. I was going through a phase in which I wanted to buy a bunch of stickers, pens, etc. that would make my planner boujee. The only issue was that I never actually committed to using a calendar before. College changed that. In fact, in college, you cannot afford to not use a planner. Just filling in all of the white margins with my busy schedule would be oddly satisfying, making me feel like I could actually get all of it done. I even had a little code to list out assignments, tests, appointments and more, similar to that of a bullet journal. I would even use the “notes” section of my planner to take some class notes or draw a roadmap to achieving my goals. You are unstoppable if you have a planner that motivates you. Who knew the simple act of writing things down could actually boost that GPA?
I found the motivation to push myself harder than ever
This has a direct relationship with becoming more independent. With no one telling me to study, I was able to find solutions that instantly drive me to open my textbooks. I personally created a mental association between Starbucks and studying. Probably not the healthiest choice, but every night at around 10 p.m., I have to get a frap or something off of the secret menu to not only keep myself going through the night, but to actually excite me about studying. Perhaps I can switch to a homemade tea for healthier choices.
Speaking of healthy choices, I stopped making a lot of those
College can take a great mental and physical toll, especially if the adjustment period is not over yet. Mom’s cooking stops tasting like mom’s cooking when it’s been living in the fridge and the dining halls usually disappoint. At Texas A&M, we get free soda with a meal trade and so that delicacy has definitely become a staple part of my diet. Although I was lucky enough to not receive the freshman fifteen, I knew stress-starving myself and consuming Panda Express every day was probably not the best way to satisfy my hunger. The appreciation of “real food” is very evident and not having access to it can change a girl.