Friday, May 26, 2017

100 Things I Learned my Freshman Year of College

Hello, beautiful! As you may already know, I recently finished up my freshman year of college - woohoo!

Next year, I'm going to be a sophomore - not exactly an expert yet, but still better off than I was before. I'm so excited to leave behind my ugly freshman year dorm and live in an apartment with one of my best friends and sisters! (Did I mention she's a fellow blogger? Check out my roommate's blog by clicking here!)

As excited as I am to move into my sophomore year, I would feel wrong if I didn't acknowledge how hard it's been to get here. My freshman year wasn't exactly all it's cracked up to be. I expected to dive right into social life, be the life of every party and still somehow wind up with a 4.0 GPA.

Needless to say, none of those things happened. In fact, my first semester at college was some of the hardest months of my life. I struggled to make new friends and overcome my anxiety, and I felt like I wasn't having the "typical college experience." Second semester was a thousand times better than first - joining Greek life helped a lot - but that doesn't mean it was easy, either. I made the difficult decision to leave behind the paper I devoted most of my hours to, and I still haven't nailed the 4.0 GPA I wanted.

Obviously, my freshman year was tougher than expected. Thankfully, yours doesn't have to be - because I'm going to tell you all the secret wisdom I gained this year as a freshman at Boston University. I would say I left this year behind with equal parts lessons and blessings - and now, I'm going to share 100 of those valuable life lessons with you! Ready or not, here they are:

1. Living in a dorm isn't all it's cracked up to be.
2. You might not be best friends with your roommate.
3. You don't have to make all your friends on your floor.
4. Don't compare yourself to others - everyone adjusts to college at different rates. 
5. It's normal to feel shy sometimes - everyone does!
6. The risks you take that seem scariest are always the best investments.
7. Know your limits BEFORE you go out. Don't learn from experience.
8. Join things! It's the best way to meet friends with similar interests.
9. But, don't limit yourself to making friends in your same major or school.
10. It's okay to miss home sometimes. 
11. No one thinks it's weird when you cry. Especially not in the library during finals week.
12. Communicate with your roommate.
13. Set boundaries.
14. You'll have to work harder to make alone time, but you'll find yourself needing it more than ever.
15. Skipping one class quickly leads to skipping ten more - it's best not to start in the first place.
16. Get your worst requirements out of the way early. I did, and now I never have to take math again!
17. Don't be afraid to ask for help.
18. Take advantage of all the resources you have on campus, from the career center to health services.
19. Actually use your meal plan - don't waste money on groceries (or Chipotle) you don't need.
20. Finding out your lecture has been cancelled is the most incredible feeling in the world.
21. Roommate contracts aren't weird, and might actually be a good idea for some.
22. In the end, it doesn't really matter if you go random or pick your roommate. You can't really predict what they're going to be like either way.
23. You might not love your school right away, but don't confuse the normal adjustment period with needing to transfer.
24. Don't sign up for 8 AMs if you're not a morning person.
25. Think of your education as an investment rather than a hassle or an obligation - you and your parents are literally paying for the privilege to go to school here. Don't waste it.

26. Make a monthly budget, but realize you're going to feel broke and you're going to keep impulse-buying Chipotle no matter what you do.
27. Call, text and email your parents on the reg. You'll both appreciate it.
28. All the things you used to hate about your hometown will quickly become the things you miss the most.
29. Whatever you do, lock your door.
30. Don't leave your laundry in the washer or dryer, or people will literally just throw it on the floor. Set a timer and go get it as soon as it's done.
31. Speaking of laundry, if you don't put it away as soon as it's finished, it will probably sit in the basket for a week.
32. Same with dirty dishes. Wash them now, or they WILL pile up.
33. Always sit in the front few rows of crowded lecture halls. It will keep you accountable and motivate you to show up to class.
34. Also, actually raise your hand in class. It's the only way the professor will ever learn your name.
35. Even then, your professors probably still won't remember your name.
36. You will technically have more free time than ever before, even if half of it is spent walking across campus and eating meals.
37. Always wear flip-flops in the shower, if you care about your health at all.
38. In fact, college is just one big germ fest, so you had better start taking your vitamin C now.
39. Close friendships take time. Don't expect to grow close to someone overnight.
40. Don't try to replicate your high school friend group.
41. At the same time, keep in touch with your high school friends and teachers. Even if you hated high school, it's important to remember where you come from.
42. I don't care if you were your high school valedictorian - you aren't special.
43. Hold your head high, but don't be a cocky bastard, either. Everyone here is just as smart as you are. Everyone standing here went through the same admissions process to get here that you did.
44. Getting straight As isn't realistic for everyone. Put in the work, but don't stretch yourself too thin.
45. Repeat after me: Bs are NOT bad grades! 
46. When you make a new friend, get their number. Not following up is what kills college friendships.
47. Be careful what you post online - or at least make sure your future employers won't see it. (This is especially true for journalism and political science majors!)
48. If you thought Facebook was over, you're wrong - get an account, because this is how you're going to find out about literally EVERYTHING happening on campus.
49. Don't overthink your friend group. Lots of people don't stay friends with their group from freshman year.
50. Don't worry about what the juniors and seniors are doing just yet. You literally just got here - you have all the time in the world to land that internship, study abroad or do whatever it is you want to do.

51. If you're offered work study, TAKE IT. 
52. In college, you're going to be exposed to a ton of new people with tons of different beliefs and backgrounds. Get used to the idea that not everyone is going to be exactly like you.
53. You can't please everyone. Not even close.
54. Learn when to say no.
55. That being said, say yes to going out sometimes even when you don't want to. If you're tired or stressed, cooping up in your room will only make you feel worse.
56. Netflix and Amazon Prime are ESSENTIAL for college life.
57. Memorize and recite this phrase in every store you walk into: "Excuse me, do you have a student discount?"
58. Befriend an upperclassman - preferably someone in your major who can mentor you through choosing classes, picking professors, etc.
59. You should make an appointment with an academic advisor at least once a semester.
60. Nobody expects you to know what you want to do with your life, so don't put that pressure on yourself.
61. Changing majors once or twice is normal and, at most colleges, isn't even that big of a deal as long as you do it early.
62. There's no shame in bringing your stuffed animals to college.
63. Communal bathrooms will reveal pet peeves you didn't know you had.
64. Whether you're rich or poor, college will make you more conscious of how much money your parents make than ever before.
65. Speaking of which, never take college for granted. You are incredibly lucky to be standing where you are.
66. Stay active. It'll be easier to stay fit in your forties if you start adopting healthier habits now.
67. But, don't waste your time dieting. It's college. Eat the free pizza, lady!
68. If the idea of your future COMPLETELY terrifies you, then congratulations: you're normal.
69. Picking out the cutest dorm decor feels like a big deal when you first get into college, but halfway through your first semester, you'll realize it doesn't actually matter. As long as you can see yourself using these same sheets for the next four years, you're good to go.
70. Study using what works for you, not the tips your favorite blogger tells you you should.
71. About a week into school, you'll probably realize you brought too many clothes to campus.
72. Rolling under-the-bed storage containers are LIFE CHANGING.
73. Find a spot in the library you can call your own.
74. Forget how dating worked in high school. Everything you thought you knew no longer applies.
75. No matter who you're with, just be yourself.

76. There's no more "cool" and "uncool." Instead of trying to be popular, focus on finding a group you fit in with.
77. Even so, there will still be mean girls in college. Some things never change.
78. Don't bring anything you care about to a frat party. That includes shoes. And jackets. And dignity.
79. Your parents aren't always right...
80. ...but, sometimes they are. Learn how to tell the difference.
81. You WILL hit rock bottom. Probably more than once.
82. Take responsibility for having safer sex. Never depend on anyone to tell you what's safe and what's not - only do what YOU feel comfortable with.
83. Whether or not you decide to #GoGreek, don't judge your friends in Greek life. Most sororities aren't like what you see on the news. More likely, they're just a bomb ass group of boss women trying to have fun, make friends and develop leadership skills.
84. When your parents call you an adult, you've truly made it.
85. You might get a little emo during your freshman year - and that's okay. Things are changing quickly; you're growing up. A bit of a mourning period is to be expected!
86. Start thinking about your summer plans BEFORE May rolls around. The earlier, the better when it comes to summer jobs.
87. The one thing I regret the most about my freshman year is forcing myself to do things I wasn't passionate about so I'd have a more impressive tagline on LinkedIn/better experiences on my resume. Don't make the same mistake.
88. You might think people are done competing over grades, boys, etc. in college...they're not.
89. ^ Don't let these people drag you down to their level.
90. Room with someone you know if at all possible.
91. That being said, you might THINK you know someone, but you don't REALLY know them until you live together!
92. It's common to struggle with your mental health in college. Luckily, there's SO many resources to help you manage any challenges you may face!
93. Don't be afraid to ask for help, whether in school or in life or anywhere at all.
94. You are never alone during your freshman year of college. Even the people who seem the most put together struggle with the transition.
95. Call your mom at least once a month. Don't put it off - just do it.
96. Whatever you do, don't start a kiss list.
97. Never pay full price for anything.
98. There will be a thousand events on campus paid for by your undergrad student fee and you will never be able to go to them all. Don't let them guilt you about it.
99. Mute your freshman class on GroupMe. Just trust me on this one.
100. College is what you make of it, so ignore all the advice anyone has ever told you and focus on creating your own unique college experiences! 

What's the most important thing you learned your freshman year of college? Let me know in the comments below!

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