What I’ve Learned In The First Month as a Badger

I was going to write an article about how the first month of college has given me a new-found sense of confidence but as I’m writing this, I’m feeling extremely heartbroken over someone who gives zero hoots about me. I may not have confidence right now at this current moment in time, yet I do have to say this: everything that I’ve been through thus far has been so freaking mind-opening, which makes me confident in future decisions I make and different things that I do.

Let’s remember this: I’m a freshman who, at the time of writing this, has only been in Madison for about seven weeks. So, I’m still a dumb kid; that doesn’t mean that I haven’t learned a thing or two. One thing that I’ve learned is that schoolwork is different than high school work. Yes, I can see all of your faces cringe in unison — I’m there with you, but I’m not wrong. In high school, I mostly did my homework on time and to the best of my ability. Towards the end of my career, I tended to do homework just to get it done — not to actually really build up my skills. Unfortunately, that habit followed me up to the big leagues. As a result, in one of my classes, I received a grade on my midterm that wasn’t so high and I thought, "Man, I messed up." I realized that when it came to academics, my mindset was just about getting “stuff” done to get a good grade. However, in order to succeed in higher-level college, I have to… wait for it… learn. Like actually sit down and absorb the information and be able to retain it and heck, even teach it. College isn’t a game where you can go through the motions; you have to work hard, times ten, to do well. 

Another aspect of life that I’ve gained some confidence in is the ability to be on my own. In high school, I hated being alone; whether that would eating alone or sitting in class with no friends, it just made me feel terrible. Yet in college, even though you’re with so many people (hopefully a good group of friends too), schedules don’t always align. That forces you to study, walk to class, do laundry, eat and even go to clubs by yourself. I remember the first time I was at Union South by myself: I was having a semi-anxiety attack because I had no idea how to function without another human being. As the weeks went by, I’ve learned to really appreciate my time alone. It gives me a sense of peace and control over what I do. Living in a dorm forces me to be with people 24/7, so I’ve learned to enjoy my own presence without anybody else, instead of dreading the thought of being by myself. 

This is going to sound stupid, but the ability to think has made me feel good about the future. Like I said, I’m dumb and I make a lot of questionable decisions, like downloading Bumble “just for the heck of it." However, I’ve had to think about things that I never would have thought to think about (cue cringe face number two). It’s the simple things of figuring out how to navigate your way in an unknown building by yourself to the complexities of deciding if you really need ice cream for the fifth time this week. In all seriousness, I’ve had to handle a new city and lifestyle by using my brain and attempting to think logically. Like if I get on the right bus (other than the 80) and make it to my destination on time, I pat myself on the back. Or if I decide to study instead of going out with friends, I then give myself a standing ovation. I’m learning to prioritize my time and figure out what needs to be done and how it will get done. 

Overall, I’ve learned to be more independent and take ownership of my actions. I’m still learning and will always be learning. The fact that I’m able to acknowledge what I’ve done gives me a sense of confidence of, “Oh my gosh, I can be an adult.” Life hits you hard, but I’m confident that when I do get hit, I can make a perfect tweet about it, then carry on.