What I Learned In My First Few Months of College

Here I am, about three quarters of the way through my first semester of college. I haven’t been here for long, yet but somehow it feels like a lifetime. I won’t pretend that I already have everything totally figured out, but I wanted to share some of the minimal wisdom I have gained from my (almost) 3 months of experience at college. 

 

1. Being In a New Situation Is Very Overwhelming

I am one of those people that hated High School. When I say I hated it, I mean I really hated every second of it. I spent all 4 years of High School waiting for it to be over, fantasizing about life after graduation, thinking that everything in my life will just magically come together and be perfect once I’m in college, that High School was the only reason for my unhappiness. What I’ve learned in college is that when you are unhappy for internal reasons, it is very easy to blame that unhappiness on your external situation. I remember being so frustrated when I was so unhappy after my first month at college. I was so overwhelmed, and felt like a failure because I didn’t make a ton of friends right away and I wasn’t going out as much as everyone else. It felt like High School all over again. I even thought I wanted to transfer for a while. Now, things have gotten a lot better. Being in a new situation like college can be a lot to take in at once. Especially if you are someone who is already prone to anxiety and depression, going away to college for the first time can really bring out the worst of that. My advice is to keep trying, give it time, and  don’t give up. Most importantly, get help if you need it because if you are unhappy for internal reasons, that will follow you wherever you go. 

2. Keeping A Lot of Food In Your Dorm Room Is Not A Good Idea

To anyone who’s nervous about the “freshman 15,” my best advice on how to avoid it would be to try not to keep a lot of food in your dorm room. Trust me when I tell you that when it comes to the freshman 15, it’s not even the dining hall food that will get you: it’s all the ramen and easy mac you make yourself in your dorm room when you’re too lazy to go to the dining hall, and the chips and oreos you snack on constantly throughout the day. 

3. Waking Up For 8am Classes Is Way Harder Than You Would Think

I had to get to school at 8am every day when I was in high school. Trust me when I say that 8 am in college and 8 am in high school is not the same thing. 

4. There’s More To Life Than Going Out

Don’t get me wrong, going out is always fun, and college is definitely the best time in your life to do those things, but that doesn’t have to be the only thing that defines your college experience. At the beginning of college, I felt so bad about myself because I felt like I wasn’t going out as much as everyone else is, and wasn’t doing the things I was supposed to do in college. Especially living in a dorm like Stoke, it’s not exactly quiet so I would hate hearing everyone else being loud and having fun when I had nothing to do, I would feel like I’m missing out. I now realize that going out 3 nights a week every single week can get exhausting, and you will get sick of it, it’s totally ok to stay in every now and then. And just because someone else goes out more often than you do, that doesn’t make them a cooler/more interesting person than you. If you need to take some time for yourself, do it. 

5. Making Friends In College Takes Time and You Can’t Force It

The beginning of the semester was very tough for me. Meeting so many people in such a          short time span can be very overwhelming. Especially when you don’t know who will become your friend, who will become your acquaintance, and who you can really trust and count on. It took me a very long time to accept that not everyone you meet will become your best friend. You might not meet your closest friends right away, and it might not be the people that live on your floor freshman year. I was very upset and frustrated with myself when I felt like I wasn’t making enough friends, and I wasn’t as close with certain people that I wanted to be. I definitely found myself running into a lot of disappointment because I tried to force some friendships that were never going to work out. Making friends in college is hard, you really have to put yourself out there and step out of your comfort zone, but you will eventually find your people, and it will all be worth it. 

6. Give College A Fair Chance

I was very unhappy at first in college. But, I gave it a fair chance. I really tried to like it here. I put myself out there, made an effort to make friends, joined clubs and got involved on campus, went to many events, and didn’t go home on the weekends even when I really wanted to. This may sound harsh but you’re not going to like it at a school if you don’t give it a fair chance. If you go home every weekend and don’t get involved on campus, you’re not giving the school a fair chance and you’re basically setting yourself up for failure. This is something I’ve seen happen to some people that I know, and I am so glad I didn’t give up on UNH and kept trying, because now things are really starting to get better for me and all the effort I put in was worth it.