Freshmen Year in a Nutshell: Change is Good

It feels like just yesterday my parents dropped off a scared 18-year-old girl, for her first year of college. I can still vividly remember the morning I woke up, packed up my whole life (literally I packed so much stuff) and left my hometown. The rush of emotions that took place the moment I was saying goodbye to my two sisters as they were getting ready for school, feels as though I experienced them last week. After saying that last tearful goodbye to my parents on that hot summer afternoon, my life changed forever. I was now officially a college student, all on my own, set out to define my college experience, and that’s exactly what I did. Some experiences were amazing, some not as much, but overall, I would not change a thing.

 

Everyone told me that once I came to college, the people who I spent my first week with, would end up being the people I’d spend the rest of my time with. Initially, I thought it was crazy to think that close friendships could develop that fast. I’d never experienced anything like it. I met these girls, went to all the welcome week activities together (10/10 recommend freshmen take advantage of welcome week), and then boom, one week turned into a month, and one month turned into 6.

 

 

            Photo courtesy of the author

 

In college, you experience a lot of stress which can affect your emotional, physical, and mental health. It helps to have people around you who can understand what you’re going through and hold you accountable for your own self-care. That’s been the best part of my experience  in college. Having friends who care about my well-being as well as push me to take risks. I can truly say that I was blessed with them, and without their friendship, I wouldn’t have grown as much as I did this school year. Yes, there was definitely some conflict within my group of friends, it wasn’t all peaches and cream, and along the way, I lost a friend. However, I believe that all of that happened for the best because it taught me how to effectively deal with conflict. I also learned that it’s important to speak out against anything that you believe is unjust, even if it’s amongst your friends. I came out of it with two amazing friends and an empowered sense of self. I want to thank my two beautiful best friends for their kind hearts, supportive nature, and driven personalities, you two really impacted my freshman experience.

 

 

      Photos courtesy of the author

 

Not only did I learn from my social atmosphere, but I gained knowledge from my academic environment as well. When I first entered college, I failed to realize just how challenging the courses were going to be. I didn’t realize that each class requires a certain amount of time as well as different methods of studying. I was so use to the high school classroom environment where I could study a day or two before, and get an A. When I failed my first math test, it hit me like a ton of bricks. That failing grade brought me to the realization that if I wanted to be successful throughout my time at Virginia Tech, I had to put in the work. As I started to change my study habits, I thrived academically. I truly loved what I was learning and my major in Sociology helped me to decide what career path I wanted to pursue. It also opened my eyes to a plethora of social justice issues that I wanted to change. I enjoyed experiencing all of my courses overlap with each other. Although the academic adjustment was hard to get used to, eventually I found my rhythm, and was able to find a balance between a social life, academic life, and extracurricular activities. My academic experiences within my first year in college taught me that it’s  up to me to decide what kind of education I want to receive. If I wanted to make the most out of my college education, I needed to make connections with my professors, take advantage of the resources around campus, and seek help when I didn’t understand the material taught in class. It was definitely a huge transition from high school, but I was committed to adapt to it, and adapt in a way that was suitable for me.

 

Pexels:https://www.pexels.com/photo/design-desk-display-eyewear-313690/

 

 

Overall, my first year of college was a roller coaster. That scared girl who was tears saying goodbye to everything that was familiar to her, turned into someone who embraced change. Sometimes I wonder how my experienced would’ve  turned out if I chose a college closer to home, however, looking back, I made the right choice. I needed to learn how to be on my own and deal with problematic situations by myself. There was not one thing I would change because my entire experience shaped me into the person I am today. To all the ladies out there who are stepping into a new area in their lives, whether it be graduating from college, and entering the workforce, or continuing on with their education, you can do it! Change is scary, but it’s a great thing! Embrace it! From a girl who herself hates to the encounter unfamiliar things, it was the best thing for me to just tackle it straight on. I took the bull by the horns and conquered my freshman year. Good luck to all of you, and finish the last month of the school year strong!

 

 

legally blonde college GIF

 

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Xoxo,

 

Elizabeth