What I Learned During My First Semester of College

Though I will admit struggling through an enormous amount of readings, gearing up for the cold and taking midterms week after week has been sometimes overwhelming and not particularly fun, I am still so grateful for all the memories of these past few months. Here are the lessons that stick out the most to me.

  1. 1. You are a person first. 

    While your life right now may be a conglomeration of classes, extracurriculars and possibly even a job filling your calendar to the brim, it's easy to forget that none of these things define who you are as a person. Because college (and school in general, let's be real) is a large time commitment, it's easy to neglect other things. Keep yourself healthy, and don't let your own personal goals fall to the wayside while you're going at it professionally. Find time for things that you enjoy and fulfill you.

  2. 2. You don't have to abandon your wisdom to fit in. 

    Even if you feel like you're going against the norm, you should do what's best for you. Not big on partying? No problem, check out one of the many movies offered at Union South every weekend. Like waking up early even though it feels like everyone stays up? Go for it, you’ll have a head start to the day. If you end up knowing yourself better and outgrowing some people in the process, then so be it. You deserve to find friends who make bring out the best in you. This leads us to the next one...

  3. 3. It's only a matter of time until you find your people. 

    This campus is huge — there are over 30,000 fellow undergraduates alone! You will never get the chance to meet let alone know everyone. The friends, however, that you make have the potential to continue having an impact on your life long after college. Even if you haven't found friends for life yet, don't worry. Doing things you enjoy including organizations, classes and events will give you a better chance of finding like-minded people.

  4. 4. Acknowledge your subconscious feelings to move on. 

    How many times have you sat down to work on something, only to find yourself distracted and ruminating over something trivial, or with a feeling in the pit of your stomach? Whatever the case may be, it is helpful to clear your mind before beginning on a task. One way I find helpful to do this is by journaling out my thoughts, though you may find exercising or even drawing to be the best option for you. Don't hesitate to reach out for help and make a counseling or therapy appointment if needed.

  5. 5. Future you is still you — with the added perspective of time and experiences. 

    Every decision you make now is shaping the future you in a tiny but distinct way (no pressure here). So, don't wait to do something until you're ready, because you will never feel like you are. It's also easy to fall prey to the fantasized, hopeful notion that putting something off will make it easier to tackle or (for my fellow perfectionists) that you'll do it better. 

Whether you've come across my article for a laugh or an insight, remember that you exist beyond your responsibilities and the confines of this university. After all, there is life after college.