The Things I’ve Learned in College (So Far)

As spring quarter comes to an end and Facebook starts to send me “memory” notifications from my high school graduation just one year ago, I think it will be mildly entertaining to look back on a list I started in fall quarter that I’ve added to throughout the year. So, from an old soul who is also flailing around in the mess that is her life, here are the things I’ve learned in college… so far.

Moving is tough and homesickness is real

I’m from the Peninsula Bay Area in a town south of San Francisco, which means my commute home for breaks is roughly 2 hours. Compared to other students from out of state/country and SoCal, I live pretty close to Davis and some of my friends are shocked that I rarely go home except for breaks and special family events.

I thought that since I would be so busy with classes and new friends, I wouldn’t have enough brain space to miss my family, but every few weeks I do occasionally find myself texting my parents or my brothers, “I miss you guys,” while fighting the urge to collapse into tears.

Being away from home is difficult. Homesickness can hit you hard and fast, and it can last anywhere from a few hours to weeks on end. So call your parents. Call your siblings and tell them how much you miss them, even if you’re an hour away from home or across the country. Chances are that they miss you just as much as you miss them.

Friendships don’t always last

Call me a pessimist, but it really is true. This goes for both college pals and friends from home.

Occasionally, you do meet some solid classmates during the quarter (even better if they’re in your major requirement classes!), but other times they remain a friendly study buddy for a GE, a lab partner, or someone you were forced to do an icebreaker with at the beginning of the quarter but never see again. 

Image source: Pexels

Friends from back home are a different story. Chances are you and your friends are all at different schools. Maintaining friendships, especially long-distance ones, requires effort on both sides and sometimes not everyone wants to put that significant of an effort into relationships. Rejoice in the new friends and let go of old ones who seem to be retreating; it will give you much better peace of mind about who you spend your time with.

No one really knows how to adult

Yeah, some people act like they have their lives together, but the reality is that no one really knows what they’re doing. The same person who is giving you a hard time about not knowing what “business casual” is probably doesn’t know how basic public transportation works. Anyone can plan their whole life out 30 years in advance, but at this age, no one totally knows where they’re going, what they’re doing, and anything can happen.

Be polite

I came to college thinking that this was something that everyone inherently knew and exercised on the daily, but boy was I wrong. I am a firm believer that the phrase “nice guys finish last” is utter BS because if everyone was more polite to one another, the world would maybe not make me want to crawl into my bed and never come out.

Being snappy and rude may be a great way to relieve your own selfish anger or irritation at the moment, but a small moment of basic human decency goes a long way in everyone’s day. Strangers deserve nothing less than to just be treated like people, because wouldn’t you want the same for yourself?

So, whether you’re a graduating college senior ready to (not really) embark on the chaos that is the “real world,” or a high school senior psyched for your first year of college, I hope you take these lessons to heart. Good luck on finals and have a stellar summer, Aggies!