Six Things I’ve Learned Since Freshman Year 

In the past four years, I’ve learned a lot more than I expected to. As an English major and French minor, I’ve learned about the workings English language, analyzing it in its many forms, and immeasurably more French than I knew when I arrived on campus. More than that, I’ve learned how to take care of myself, and how to really live my best life. 

Without further ado, here are six of the many life lessons I’ve learned since freshman year:

1. Find what works for you.

Freshman and sophomore year, I was convinced that to stay in shape I had to either go to intense exercise classes or go running. I absolutely hated both routines. I could never bring myself to wake up early, and often when I went for runs, I locked myself out of my dorm room. Finally, I discovered an at-home yoga practice that I not only tolerate, but that I love. It makes me feel good, and there’s no shorter commute than between my bed and the yoga mat. Learning to find what works best for me also reminds me not to compare myself to others. Body Pump might not be my style like it is for my friends, but it doesn’t have to be. 

2. Don’t over-commit. 

Even though I’ve been told to say no when I don’t have time to do certain things or to be places, it took wildly over-committing myself to learn this lesson. Even now, it’s hard, and I still make mistakes. For a long time, I thought that I if I didn’t have somewhere specific to be, I had free time. I forgot about saving time to eat, do my homework, and taking time for myself. I used to feel like I was disappointing people by saying no, but now I know that being honest about my time saves us both a lot of time and energy. 

3. Never underestimate the power of sleep.

Freshman year I valued finishing my work over getting sleep almost every time. Even during my sophomore and junior year I would put too much priority on finishing work early in the morning over being well rested for the next day when I would inevitably have to do the work again. I’ve finally learned that however important finishing your work for class is, staying healthy is at least just as important.

4. Plan ahead. 

Plan ahead but not too far ahead. It’s smart to keep track of due dates and club meetings, to relieve any unnecessary stress from those stretches of the semester. For example, if you find that you have two papers due on the same day, you have the time to ask for an extension if you need one or to plan in advance. 

That said, freshman year, I often tried to finish all my work at once so that I wouldn’t have to do anything for a day or two. This strategy almost never worked. I would stress myself out for no good reason and rarely reaped the benefits. Now, I do the homework or readings I need to do, but I still leave time to hang out with my friends and do things that I enjoy doing. 

5. Make time for yourself. 

Taking time for myself is something I rarely did freshman and sophomore year. Then, my roommate sophomore and junior year inspired me through her planned breaks to go to the movies, pleasure reading, and nail painting on Sunday nights. I realized I had more time than I thought once I started carving time out of my schedule to read for fun and stay up to date with my favorite shows. Now, I plan study breaks and fun activities in order to stay positive and to get the most out my college experience in Williamsburg. 

6. How to navigate the bus system in Williamsburg!

Learning to navigate the bus and trolley system in Williamsburg took me way too long to figure out, but now that I know it, nothing can stop me! 

Some of these lessons I’ve had to learn more than once, but all progress significant in becoming a better version of myself. I guess I’m ready for life after graduation!