4 Lessons I Learned During My First Semester at College

Finally, my first semester of college is drawing to a close. I have never experienced this many consistent ups and downs before, let alone over just four short months. Between August and December, I survived the freshman plague, attended a fraternity date function, had an allergic reaction (to what? I wish I knew), met a kid from Arkansas, possibly developed a caffeine addiction, and miserably failed a calculus test. This is just the beginning of a never-ending list of firsts I have already experienced during my time at Wake. With all of these experiences, I hope to share some of my newfound wisdom on how to navigate the first semester of freshman year.

1.  Relationships

Forming new relationships is the most important part of life at college (especially during the first year), but also arguably the most terrifying. I don’t think any part of high school can truly prepare you for the feeling of walking into a room full of people and not knowing a single soul. You may not be able to tell, but everyone else in the room is just as scared as you. If there’s someone who catches your eye, approach them! It won’t kill you to strike up a conversation and see where it leads, I promise. Now that a new chapter of your life has begun, the world is your oyster. You are free to surround yourself with people who make you feel fulfilled and appreciated. Take the time to build a support system with mutual trust and understanding of one another, as this is absolutely crucial for flourishing in all aspects of college life.

2.  Frat Strats

 Now that we covered the basics of college social interactions, let’s talk about the fun part. Parties (while they're not mandatory for a good time) do provide a new aspect of socialization for most freshmen. These parties include loud music that makes your head hurt and cramped and sweaty basements. Somehow this combination of two seemingly miserable things makes for some of the best stories I have ever lived to tell. However, in order to fully enjoy the fun parts of a party, you have to utilize some very important fraternity strategies (which I have deemed “Frat Strats”). Here’s a summary of the key strategies: always travel in a pack, always look out for other people, and always have a game plan for the night. If you follow these three tips, your nights will be even smoother than that one fraternity brother who keeps hitting on freshmen. 

3.  Schoolwork 

 Ah yes, everyone’s favorite part about college. One thing I have definitely experienced is the inconsistency of workload in comparison to high school. There will be days where you’re flying high with no responsibilities and others where you feel like you there is no possible way to complete your two essays, thirty homework problems, and ten-minute presentation, all while preparing for an exam that could make or break your GPA. Just typing that out broke my heart a little, I won’t lie. Anyways, when you feel as though you are drowning in work, the best thing to do is write it all down and make a plan. Carve out time for studying and working, without taking time away from sleeping, eating, and physical activity. By creating a plan and sticking to it, you’ll be able to complete your work without burning yourself out.

4.  Dorm life

 When you receive the email informing you of which unlucky soul has been assigned to sharing a room with you for the next year, many thoughts cross your mind. Do they snore? Do we like the same music? Will we get along? Honestly, if your roommate snores, good luck. There is no perfect way to ensure a healthy relationship between roommates, but my most crucial tip is to respect each other’s space. Keep the room organized, have quiet time when needed, and be understanding of what makes both of you comfortable. 


 Shoutout to everyone who made it through their first semester of college, hopefully, you bounce back from your sleep deprivation before next semester.