Here’s What Freshman Year Has Taught Me

Prior to taking my first steps on campus, I felt completely prepared to tackle the next four years of my life. However, I noticed my mindset quickly change as I was faced with the difficult reality of living far away from home in a completely new environment (this new environment consisted of an additional 20,000 steps to my daily routine, might I add). Yet, it was not the realization that I was definitely out of shape that took me outside of my comfort zone. Instead, it was the vast amount of schoolwork laid before my eyes. I can still recall my roommate and I complaining about how one assignment in college takes more time than a whole year’s worth of high school assignments. Clearly, there were many large, stressful adjustments. Although college has certainly tested me at times, I like to think that it has helped me become a stronger, more motivated woman. Here are some of the lessons I have learned throughout my first year of college.   

  1. 1. You’ll Meet Good Friends

    girl and friends posing

    One of the main things that imposed a lot of stress on me as I entered college was the pressure to find the right people. Although there was eagerness with the idea of starting over, there was also a lot of dread and fear as I wondered where to even begin. Everyone always told me I would meet my best friends in college, and well, they weren’t wrong. Between living in a dorm and attending classes, I was able to meet a great group of friends that made living away from home a whole lot easier. This goes to show that you can meet amazing people at any point in your life.

  2. 2. Appreciate Your Family

    Mother holding her daughter

    I have been extremely lucky to have a very good and supportive relationship with my family. However, this definitely does not make living far away from them easy. I try to stay in contact as much as I can, but it is often a challenge with a heavy college workload. Even though each day is a struggle not being with them, I have since learned to appreciate any amount of time that I do get to spend with my family. Movie nights and family dinners that did not seem exciting in high school are some of the things that I will never take for granted again.  

  3. 3. Being Healthy is Hard

    Crudites

    Throughout my first year of college, I have found it very difficult to eat healthy. Coming from a small town, the variety of food when walking around Madison can seem impossible to resist. After all, who wouldn’t want pancakes from Short Stack over a salad? Even when walking around the dining halls, I will usually gravitate towards foods that I don’t need. On top of this, I have trouble finding time to maintain a consistent workout routine while still balancing school and a social life. More often than not, I simply just lack the motivation. Although this has been a challenge, I have tried my best to find little ways to slowly incorporate healthy foods and workouts back into my daily life. 

  4. 4. Stress is Hard to Manage

    pug in a blanket

    I have had my fair share of stress growing up, but it has never amounted to the stress I’ve dealt with during my first year of college alone. From moving out and completely starting over to adjusting to an extremely difficult workload; it was a lot, to say the least. Something that is usually not mentioned with stress is how much it truly impacts your everyday life. I found it hard to sleep, was constantly getting sick and overall my mood completely changed. Since this played such a large role in my day to day life, I had no other choice but to work on solutions. My family and friends helped so much by letting me vent out my feelings and by giving advice. Along with this, I found it necessary to take some time every day to focus on myself and take a break from school. 

  5. 5. Change is Okay

    Change neon light signage

    Walking into freshman year, I had a plan. I knew I wanted to major in biology and later go to medical school to become a dermatologist. I wouldn’t believe anyone who told me I would most likely change my mind. How could I after all the time I had dedicated to achieving this goal? For so long, this was my mindset. It wasn’t until classes started that I realized I didn’t actually enjoy what I was doing. There were courses that stood out amongst others, but the ones that were not standing out were what I had chosen to go to college for. It wasn’t the easiest to come to terms with, but I have completely changed my path since I started school. I have since learned to accept change more openly as I am now happier than I think I ever would’ve been had I not changed my mind. 

     

Freshman year has clearly had its ups and downs, but each struggle has led me to appreciate life a little more and even helped discover who I am as a person. I am very grateful for where I am right now and the road I'm heading down. Who knows; I just may change my mind again. But, unlike in the past, at least now I can say that I am okay with that uncertainty.