Unless you’re a newbie to reading college lifestyle blogs (if so, let me be the first to welcome you), then you’ve probably noticed that there are a few basic types of post that every college blogger will have their own version of, one of those being a “# of things I learned in (insert period of time)”
Apparently I’m no exception.
However, as common as they may be, these posts are without a doubt extremely beneficial – both to the reader and to the blogger – because it allows the blogger to reflect on what he/ she had learned over a period of time and pass along that advice to readers.
Although I don’t rank as high as the rising college juniors and seniors (and even graduates) that do these posts, it’d be silly to argue that I didn’t learn anything in my freshman year, both in and outside the classroom. In fact, moving away for college and the life and responsibilities that came with that taught me a lot about who I am and who I want to be. Even with this list of what I learned, there are still many more lessons that I was taught. The most profound and life-impacting lessons, however, are the ones that I’d like to share with you all, in hopes that you learn just as much from them as I did.
1) Things Always Get Better
Going into college, I expected it to be amazing right off the bat. After all, college had always been one of my life goals, so finally having that opportunity felt like a dream come true. At that point, everything should be perfect, right?
My first semester of college was perhaps one of the stressful and anxiety-filled periods of my life. It seemed like every bit of bad karma that I had earned throughout my life had decided to hit me all at once, with Murphy’s Law in full effect. I was not the only one who noticed it; over time, my friends began to take note of it to, wondering why I was the one who always seemed to have all the bad luck. With all of this happening not only all at once, but as soon as I moved away from home, I began to wonder if this was what being an “adult” was actually like.
Even though it took a few months, things did begin to get better, partly due to time and partly because I learned from my mistakes. In my second semester, I spent more time with my friends, started my blog, and had a better class schedule (not only in terms of the class times, but also the classes themselves). So even if things seem to bad for a while (or almost an entire semester, like it was for me), just ride out the storm and know that things do get better.
2) Good Friends Are Important
When you go to college, you need good friends with you by your side because your college friends are the people who keep you on your feet when life tries to knock you down, and you do the same for them without a second thought. My friends have taught me what true friendship is, whether that’s as simple as eating breakfast together every morning or driving me to Walgreens when I have the flu.
3) Miracles Can Come Out Of Bad Situations
Like I said earlier, I had really bad karma my first semester of college. It seemed to reach its peak about a month into the semester, when I received an email telling me that the dorm that I was living in (which was extremely old and run-down) was experiencing a mold infestation and every resident would have to be moved out and relocated in less than a week.
Sounds terrible, right?
It was at first, but a few days after moving into a temporary, formally shut-down dorm, they announced that the displaced residents had the permission move to any dorm they wanted to (space permitting) without any extra charge.
I jumped at the chance, and ended up being placed in the newest dorm on campus, which was a big change from living in the oldest operating dorm. And if that wasn’t amazing enough, I was also placed into a 4-person suite (which you can take a tour of by clicking here).
It just goes to show that amazing things can come out if the worst situations.
4) Hard Work Pays Off
It’d be hard to argue that hard work doesn’t get you anywhere in life. After all, I didn’t earn a 4.0 GPA my freshman year by sitting around and doing nothing. I didn’t start a blog my just talking about it and pinning articles on it onto Pinterest. I had to get up and work hard to earn what I wanted, and in the end, that has paid off more than you can imagine.
If you have a hard time getting started, then begin by thinking about what your goal is. Write it down. Figure out the steps that you need to get there and write your game plan and your timeline. Now hold yourself to it. There’s no one stopping you besides yourself.
5) Take Time To Do Stuff That You Love
I think we all can agree that life kind of sucks if all you do is work, so make sure that you take time to do stuff that you love, especially in college. You can go to the movies, hang out with your friends, go swimming, write a blog, or paint a picture—the possibilities are endless. One of the huge differences between my first and second semesters of college was that in the second semester, I took more time out of my schedule to do stuff that I loved, such as art and writing. You won’t believe how much of a difference it made.
6) Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone
I’ll admit that I’m not the greatest at this, but college has definitely pushed me to and past what I thought were my limits. For example, I was a member of my campus’ student patrol unit; many—if not all—colleges have this across the nation, and they’re most known for escorting students back to their dorms at night. Having this job was a huge step out of my comfort zone, and I was a little nervous about starting the job.
Instead, what happened was that I loved the job and the people I worked with, and I can’t imagine having not done it. If I hadn’t stepped out of my comfort zone…if I had given in to fear…then I wouldn’t be as knowledgeable, confident, and as accepting of change and challenges as I am today.
7) Office hours Are Worth It
I finished my freshman year with a 4.0 GPA (woo-hoo!), but I’d be lying if I told you that it was a walk in the park. Achieving that took a lot of hard work, which included attending office hours several times thought the year. Each time that I went, my professors were more than happy to help me with anything that I was confused on and helped me reach my full potential. Sometimes, since you’ve shown initiative by attending office hours, your professor may even raise your grade.
8) Don’t Stress—Everything Will Turn Out All Right In The End.
I don’t know about you all, but I know that college stresses me out a lot. Between remembering everything that I need to take to class (and believe, me, as an art student, there’s a lot) and figuring out what in the world I’m going to write that essay about, college can be quite stressful. Sometimes this stress is good and keeps me on top of things, but other times it can be completely overwhelming. Each time that it begins to reach this point, I remind myself that everything will always turn out all right in the end, so there’s no use stressing myself out about it. After all, everything has worked out so far.
And you know what? It always does.
9) Learn From Your Mistakes
Just like everybody else, I’ve made quite a few mistakes in my lifetime, and college isn’t excluded from that mix. What I’ve learned, however, is that they only matter if I don’t take the time to learn from them. Learning from my mistakes is what allows me to keep moving forward, not make the same mistakes again, and work towards my goals.
10) Don’t Give In to Fear
This is very similar to what I learned about stepping outside of my comfort zone, but I also learned not give in to fear because giving into fear means that I’ll later have regrets.
For example, I was scared of starting a blog. It was outside of my comfort zone, it was unlike anything I had ever done before, and it wasn’t a hobby that I could learn from a parent or friend. I had a lot of self-doubt about blogging, such as whether I would be good at, if I would be successful, and what my friends and family would think. Most of all, I was scarred that it would be something that I would lose interest in after a few months. I had to combat that fear, and as a result I found a hobby that I love with a community that I adore. I can’t imagine having it any other way.
These were the ten major lessons that I learned in my freshman year of college, and I’m sure that I will be learning many more as I enter in to my sophomore year this fall. As good as this was to reflect on what I’ve learned, I hope that you’ve been able to benefit from these lessons as well.
P.S. As always, let me know if you have any questions or comments by writing me a letter back (in the comments below) or by emailing me at email@example.com. I can’t wait to hear from you!