A Look Back on Freshman Year

Picture: A photo of my current philosophy read in my hammock, by yours truly

On Monday, I start my second year of college, and before I hop into a whole new adventure I want to share a reflection on the things I learned my freshman year of college that hopefully, you can take with you. I posted a freshman year update after my first semester, I highly recommend checking it out.

Freshman Year Advice:

  • Take advantage of the extensive course catalog. One of the most exciting things about college is the massive list of classes for all sorts of GE requirements. It allows you to get a taste of topics you are interested in to either determine what you might want to major in or explore your interests that span outside of your major. Life is too short to not explore the many things that interest you, and college is the perfect place to do so.
  • BE ORGANIZED. One of the reasons why this college experience was so smooth was because of the organization system I have laid out. It allowed me to plan ahead, break down all of my assignments into smaller chunks, and organize all of my priorities. I was able to schedule times for when I wanted to do leisure activities and not have to worry about forgetting assignments or working into the wee hours of the evening. It also helps to be organized because you won’t be that person that impacts group projects negatively. I could talk for hours about organization and productivity but that for other posts 😉
    • Speaking on organization, once you find your footing in terms of what you want to do, sit down and layout all of the classes you will have to take to graduate. This helped me find overlaps in requirements but also show me that I can graduate early due to the number of classes I have to take. It’s nice to see out what your education will look like so then you can determine how you will attain work experience and what the rest of your undergrad career will look like.
  • You are going to come across a whole lot of different people. I have learned so much from the people who have grown up differently than I have. It’s a beautiful experience to be able to learn from one another even when you are so different. That difference, oddly enough, becomes a unifier.
  • Not everyone is as academically driven as you wish. This is honestly the only negative thing I have to say about my freshman year. I am extremely academically driven, and I think even more so as I got into college. While I don’t expect everyone to have the same drive as I, it’s always nice when you meet people who work hard for their education. The reality is, you are going to come across people who want to cruise through college or allow you to do all of the work, but that’s the real world for you. From that, I have gotten better with my people and leadership skills. It sucks when you have to pick up the slack for someone and they still get credit, but you just have to know you are working even harder and you are the person benefiting from all that extra knowledge.
  • Put yourself out there in situations that push your comfort zone. I am the last person to recommend this, but college is about learning about yourself and pushing your limits (safely and responsibly of course). And while I was still in the comfort of my own home, I took the leap of faith and went through sorority recruitment. I never thought I would fit in a sorority, but I couldn’t be happier. I’m very introverted, but I knew I wanted to push that a little bit and embrace a little more spontaneity, and joining a sorority did just that. Of course, I haven’t gotten the full experience, but I’m so happy with the group of women I am surrounded by who allow me to fully embrace whoever I am and whoever I will be. While I’m not saying you should go Greek (although it is always a nice thing to try), I am saying to put yourself in places you may not think you belong, you might surprise yourself.
  • You are going to change a lot. Even though I was at home, in the same town I grew up in surrounded by my hometown friend group, I went through a whole lot of change. I can only imagine how much change I will endure when I move out. While I still have a lot of the same people I went into college with, I changed a lot internally and experienced a lot of growth and I am fortunate enough to have those friends with me through it all. I’ve become more independent, self-aware, and strong, especially as I’ve navigated adulthood. One of the biggest things I learned from all that change is to embrace it all. Embrace everything that flies at you, good and bad. It’s going to help you grow and blossom into the world.
  • You are not alone. Going into college is a rough and lonely time, but you are surrounded by people going through the same thing as you are. You will find a few people who will really help ground you and you can latch on to each other through the madness.

While this was quick, I think these are the most important lessons you can take with you into the world of college. If you are in college, what is the biggest lesson you’ve learned? And if you are heading into college, what are you most looking forward to? 

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