Thursday, August 25, 2016
What I Wished Someone Would Have Told Me as a College Freshman
College is a unique time in your life. You're away from family, friends, and your comfort zone for perhaps the first time. You're venturing off into the unknown. While it can seem really scary, don't let it frighten you. Embrace it. Welcome it. Staying in one place is not good for anyone. Change is hard, but change is good and change is natural.
You'll be pushed out of your comfort zone and stretched beyond your limits, but it won't break you. You will find an inner strength you didn't know you had and you'll discover new depths of your soul. You'll find excitement in the adventure, but there will be disappointments and heartbreaks too because life isn't perfect.
For the first time in your life you'll be surrounded by people 24/7. Yes there were always other students around in high school, but you didn't share a confined space with them, have all your classes with them, eat all meals with them, study with them, go to sleep and wake up with them. It's important to take time away for yourself. Drive to the beach and go for a walk by yourself. Find a room where you can meditate by yourself. You need to make yourself a priority because no one else will.
School is important, but it's not the be all end all of life. Life goes on whether you got a 2.9 GPA or a 4.0 GPA. No employer is going to ask you why you got an A- instead of an A+ on your freshmen year chemistry final exam. Study hard, do your homework, but also have a life. Ten years from now you're not going to remember all the Saturday nights you spent studying in your dorm room. You're going to remember the spontaneous Saturday night that you went out to a hockey game with your friends, then went dancing, and had iHOP at 2AM. Those are the nights and memories you will hold onto.
If you need help ask for it. No one can read your mind. Go to your professors office hours, that's what they're there for. They won't yell at you or bite your head off because you don't understand something. Most likely they'll be glad you came for help. While you're there get to know your professor. Maybe they grade really hard, but at the end of the day they're human too and they were once a college student. You never know how a professor will be able to help you in the future because they are chalk full of knowledge and connections.
Take chances and don't be afraid to fail. Want to join the water polo team? Do it. Want to join the knitting club? Do it. Want to join the debate team? Do it. If you end up sucking at least you tried and you probably made a few friends in the process. No one is going to hate you for trying.
Don't be afraid to do things alone. If you want to go to the hockey game but your roommates don't, then go alone. You never know who you will end up meeting. Don't be afraid to talk to someone while you're there too. Sometimes by doing things by yourself you end up learning more about yourself than you would of had you gone with a friend.
Put down your phone. I know you think life will end because you don't tweet every 15 minutes or you didn't see your best friends latest instagram post, but it won't. I promise. Some of the best memories are made when no one has their phones around to capture the moment. A picture can capture a moment, but it can't capture the feelings in the moment. Memories can.
Learn the art of conversation. Everyone is so glued to their phones these days that the art of small talk is dying. Have one meal a week with friends that no phones are allowed. Just talk. Find out how their classes are going, what's been happening in their lives, did they resolve the fight with their roommate? It may seem hard, but you'll find you learn far more about a person by talking to them than you do scrolling through their instagram account.
Make time for your family. I know you're off having fun making friends and doing new things, but make time for your family too. Call your mom/dad/brother/sister/great aunt whoever it may be call them. Don't text them. Call them. They want to hear your voice. They want to hear you talk about your classes, your friends, and your nutty professor. Even though they might not admit it, chances are they miss you. When you can go home for the weekend. It might be more fun to be at school, but surprising your mom for her birthday would mean more to her than any gift.
Maybe most important of all, learn to love yourself. Make peace with your past. Learn from your mistakes. You're not perfect and no is expecting you to be perfect. Do your best and learn to accept the outcome. College is just another brief chapter in your life. Make the most of it because before you know it you will be walking across the stage accepting your diploma. Enjoy it while you can because you can never get moments back.
Posted by Rachael Miner