All the unexpected lessons I learned my freshman year of college
College is a strange time. You’re basically an adult and even if you don’t really know what you’re doing, you’re expected to take care of yourself. However, more than likely you will be put into situations that you do not know how to deal with. This is a list of things I learned my freshmen year of college that might help you transition from a scared and eager high schooler to a confidant college student.
Always have your key with you
You don’t want to be stranded in some random dorm room at 3 am, leaving you no other choice but to sleep on the floor because you can’t get back into your own building.
It’s okay to spend a weekend in bed watching Netflix
You have years of going out and partying ahead of you. You don’t need to go out every weekend. Everyone needs to unwind sometimes
Wash your sheets
Do this often. It will make you feel clean and help you sleep better.
Don’t stress about making friends
You will find your people and they will love you. Sometimes it takes longer than you might expect. That’s totally OK.
Choose a major you actually enjoy
Don’t make this decision based on what looks good or what will earn you the most money. Be practical, sure, but make sure that you study something that really matters to you.
You don’t have to pick a major right away
Don’t worry if you don’t know what you want to do. Take this year to explore different interests knowing it’s okay to you change your mind.
Talk to your professors
Go into office hours if you need help. Go into office hours if you don’t need help. Professors have connections and knowledge. Connections and knowledge are good.
It’s OK if you don’t get along with your roommates
You can just get along, not be BFFS. But if it’s a real clash, you can spend time in your friend’s room or, if it’s really bad, you can ask your RA to transfer dorms.
Call your family
They miss you and I know it doesn’t seem like you will miss them, but trust me, you will. You will get homesick and there’s nothing like talking to your mom about how you two are going to binge watch Parenthood together when you come home.
Balance your time
School and grades are important but they’re not the only reason you are in college. You will learn so much stuff inside and outside of the classroom this year. But you will remember and cherish that one night you and your friends got caught in the rain going to a party more than you will remember the grade you got in your freshmen year stats class.
Find something you are passionate about and let it consume you
This can be a club, a sport or any other sort of hobby. Don’t be afraid to try new things, you never know what might come from it
If you get sick go to the health center
They may or may not be helpful, but there’s something about knowing they are there to help that makes you feel better.
It’s okay if you don’t have a grand romance within this first year
You did not come to college to meet the person of your dreams. If it happens, that’s great! But you came to learn, to meet new people and have new experiences. It’ll happen in due time.
Find a study spot on campus
This will make your life a lot easier when you are trying to get away from distractions so you can write your 20 page research paper.
Don’t skip class too often
It will be easy to convince yourself that you don’t need to go to your 8 am Spanish class when that alarm sounds, but it is important to show up most of the time.
Take it all in
Before you know it, you will be finishing your last final of your freshmen year and moving out of your dorm. It goes by fast, so don’t forget to pause, and enjoy the moment.
It’s okay if you don’t know what you’re doing
Most of us don’t and we all made it. You will learn and you will grow. College can be a scary transition, but it is all worth it in the end.
Anna James is a sophomore at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon. She is a competitive swimmer and competes for the L&C pioneer swim team. You can find her on instagram @annajames4 and at her blog http://www.tumblr.com/blog/littlevoicebigideas
[Image via Universal Pictures]