I’m back with a listicle! I can’t believe it, but I’m already done with my freshman year of college! It went by so quickly and I can honestly say it has been an incredibly stressful, yet amazing year. I met some great people, explored some cool cities, and made a billion memories. Through it all, I learned more about myself, my school and adult life in general.
1. How to actually study.
Yes, I know, I should’ve known how to do this beforehand. I definitely underestimated the struggle that is studying. In high school, simply skimming the textbook and writing a few notes were enough for me to at least score a B on my exams. However, I have learned the hard way that real studying actually involves a grande Starbucks cold brew, a hundred practice quizzes, a bunch of highlighters, and a few mental breakdowns throughout the night. (Just kidding… Not really.)
Additional note: Read the fricking syllabus.
2. Freedom is genuinely terrifying.
I will always remember the odd realization I had on move in day, when my parents hugged me goodbye in my dorm room and then left to drive six hours back home to northern California. The second they closed the door I immediately burst into tears and then thought to myself, “Oh my god, I am on my own.” I quickly had to compose myself, because minutes later my roommate was going to walk in and I did not want her to meet me and think I was some emotional, unstable mess. The next day, we spontaneously decided to ditch the Welcome Week events and go to Melrose! It felt a bit strange, like I was sneaking out, and the entire time I had to remind myself that I’m a responsible college student, Im free to do whatever I want and that I don’t actually need anyone’s permission to go out.
3. Budgeting is hard A.F.
I never realized how difficult it is to save money. All of the trips to Target, late night boba runs, and weekend adventures definitely add up. Before you know it, you’re eating cup of noodles alone in your dorm room, while watching your friends post cute pics of brunch on Snapchat.
4. No one cares about who you were in high school.
Seriously, no one wants to hear your stories about how you went to the coolest parties in your town or how popular you were. Also, no one is going to judge you if you were a little weird or if you never went out. Once you get to college, people stop caring and are a lot more accepting of differences. You’ll become friends with people you thought “high school you” would never be friends with and honestly, those are the best types of friends.
5. College is the perfect time to leave your comfort zone and try new things.
College will change you. You’ll do things you never expected you would ever do and you’ll grow as a person, but only if you are willing to put yourself out there!
6. The world won’t end if you don’t get straight A’s.
I learned that it is acceptable to fail, as long as you pull yourself back up and don’t give up. I also learned that you don’t need to be the best at every subject and that your failures do not make you stupid.
7. Freshman 15 is inevitable… but it’s okay.
I thought this was a myth. I’m not sure why I didn’t believe in the freshman 15, but I can confirm that it is real. In college, you have the freedom to eat whatever you want. Once I got over the excitement of unlimited fries in the dining hall, I learned that I really need to take care of my body. But, I also learned that gaining weight isn’t the worst thing ever and isn’t something I should totally stress over.
8. You can’t truly become independent, unless you learn to appreciate your alone time.
Alone time in college is rare, but important. It’s when you really grow and start to understand yourself. Whether it is studying alone in the library or going by yourself to a Yoga class, you need to cherish and prioritize that “me” time. Put yourself first, girly!
9. No one knows what they’re doing.
This is one of the most important lessons I’ve learned. Throughout my first year of college, I questioned everything. I questioned my major, the relationships I made, and even my school. I questioned every single decision and wondered if anyone else was struggling like me. I thought all of the people around me had it all figured out and I felt completely alone. But, I found out that no one has it all together. People switch majors, change career choices, transfer schools, fail classes, etc. College isn’t easy and there isn’t some manual on how to do it. It’s okay to cry, it’s okay to be unsure of yourself, and it’s okay to make mistakes. We’re all just a bunch of stressed out young adults, pretending everything is fine.
P.S. I also learned that most problems can be fixed with a little dancing and singing with your roommate.
10. Friends are everything.
First quarter, one of my professors asked me how I was coping with the transition from high school to college. I told her that I was feeling homesick and that I didn’t feel comfortable yet at this university. She told me to stay positive, wait it out, and find my “people”. I’m so thankful I took her advice!
Without the friendships I’ve made, my first year of college would’ve been a billion times more difficult. My friends are the people I cry to, vent to, and can spend hours talking and laughing with. On finals week, one of my friends stayed up all night with me to review and make sure I pass my exam, and another friend also pulled an all-nighter and drove me to Starbucks at 5 AM, to make sure I was awake for my 7 AM final. They cure my homesickness, push me to be spontaneous and adventurous, and keep me motivated. My freshman year of college taught me that I am smart and capable, but I am also stronger with the support of my friends.