What I Learned From my First Semester of College

I know most of you don’t want to read a freshman’s account of the past six months, but maybe my wide-eyed views can remind some of you why you came here to begin with. I didn’t like high school, it was the hardest four years of my life, guess that’s a good sign I didn’t peak. But every time I go back home there are moments where I am reminded of who I was, how I acted, how I was treated, and how pathetic it all made me feel. Coming to the University of Utah, only thirty minutes from my old hallways, I found a different world. Here, I found friends and got closure, but really I am just happy. Here’s a list of what I learned from my first my first semester in college.

1. Some people are still stuck in high school.

If living in the dorms has taught me anything, it's that people either easily adjust to a new lifestyle or stay true to what they know. Some people are going to act petty, be dramatic, and expect you to be a person that’s easier for them to befriend. But the beauty of this is you don’t need to put your energy into those people.

2. The only expectations you need to follow are your own. 

In a school with over thirty thousand people of different backgrounds and social dynamics, everyone is looking for something different. Their paths are going to look so different than the one you’re on. There is no preset plan on what you’re supposed to do here, and comparing ourselves is only going to blind us from what we want to do. 

3. You’re going to miss your parents. 

You’ve been living with one or two guardians for your entire life up until now, and as much as we all want to deny it and pretend we’re independent young adults, it’s just not true. The hard days, the ones where you call your mom or dad before they call you because you need to hear their voice will be much harder. The luxury of a home cooked meal, your own room, or a car for some of us is missed, but missing your parents is one of the most difficult parts of starting college. 

4. People get closer here quicker.

Probably due to the constant close quarters 
and consistency of who’s around you, friendships tend to grow faster. I know this phrasing is weird but what I’m trying to say is that, trust tends to be earned here because there are so many opportunities to do so. However this a double edged sword, as it is just as easy to lose that trust. 

5. You do not need to be friends with that person.

I touched on this before but you’re going to a big school, and unlike high school, if you don’t want to see that person, you don’t have to. People sometimes don’t mix well together and that’s ok; that can even be your reason for not continuing a relationship. If someone acts childishly about it, then they’re the ones being dramatic and you did the right thing. 

There’s so much more, but many of those lessons have been personal for me. Honestly, I believe the people who do the best here are the ones who act for themselves. Adjusting takes time, but the maturation that happens first semester is rapid and inevitable. 

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