My First Year Of College

Picture: My college announcement pictures by my parents 🙂

When I created this document months ago in hopes to sit down and reflect on my college experience as I was going through it, I had no idea the world would shut down and I would be experiencing my first year of college six hours away from my school. I wanted to create this post in hopes to share things I have noticed, done, and learned in the past few months, but now it also acts as a time capsule, capturing such an odd time in the world so others can view it in a few years to see what we went through and how the world has changed. Nonetheless, I still find myself making the most out of the situation and trying to live my best college life as best as I can while following safety guidelines. 

I hope this post allows those of you in college to connect the experiences that we have all shared, allows those of you gearing up for college to learn a thing or two about navigating college life, and allows those of you who finished to look upon what it means to be a college student in 2020 during a pandemic. 

Before I start blabbing about my first semester of college, I should make note that everyone experiences college differently. I have had a very positive college experience and I learn and function differently than some, so this experience is not universal. 

Here’s what you need to know, I am finishing off my first semester of my first year of college from my bedroom, I am a full-time student taking 15 units (5 classes) this semester, I am a Recreation and Leisure Studies major with an emphasis on Tourism and Travel and a minor in Event Management, and I am a newly initiated member of the Sigma Kappa sorority on my campus.

First things first, I always knew I would thrive in college. I have hundreds of classes at my fingertips and I get to take complete control of every class I take. I am so passionate about so many things, and those things are very hard to explore in high school. I’m also very fortunate to know exactly what I want to do post getting my masters, making classes very interesting and a lot of fun. All of my classes have been a complete joy to take part in. I’ve joked numerous times that I am going to end up with 22 different minors because I hold interest in so many things, even though I do not necessarily want a career in them. For example, I fell in love with Anthropology and Philosophy when I took them in my senior year in high school. In another life, I probably was an anthropologist at some point or sat down with some of my favorite thinkers like Kierkegaard or Bentham and debated human nature and various forms of ethics. In my first semester of college, I bounced on the opportunity of taking Anthro 120 because not only is it a major requirement, but it’s a passion of mine. This tied into taking Global Citizenship (a class I think everyone should take at some point), allowing me to make connections to politics, anthropology, economics, and travel, all things that I hold great interest in. I did a happy dance when I found out I could take The Meaning of Life next semester and continue to contemplate the actual truth of human existence. I have always loved learning and continue to say that I chose the right major and school because it’s all so fun. In college, take full advantage of the wide variety of classes your campus offers. Learn new things and challenge yourself, I promise it will be worth it.

Second, joining a sorority might be one of the best things I have done. I understand there are a lot of sorority stereotypes, but being in one breaks every one of them. I always knew I wanted to be part of Greek life ever since I discovered what it meant to go Greek, but I did not realize it would make as big of an impact as it has despite being all virtual. If I had not joined a sorority, I would be in an entirely different headspace. It’s very difficult to form connections with people in a virtual environment, so finding a group of girls who have nothing but support and care for one another makes a huge difference. I have met people who I see in my life for an incredibly long time. There’s no competition in terms of grades or who is better than who, like it was in high school. It’s supportive and loving, like a family you did not know you needed. Despite doing everything online, I have been more social in the few months I’ve been a Sigma Kappa than I have in a large part of my high school career.  They emphasize taking care of yourself and growing into the best version of yourself that you could possibly be. They care about academics, giving back, and growth, all things that I never thought I would find so quickly. It’s incredible what a group of women can do to help you in ways you did not know you needed, and for that, I am forever grateful. 

While college has been an overwhelmingly positive experience, not everything can be THAT fantastic. I have always been a workaholic which means I’ve been a pretty well-rounded student my entire life, therefore, in high school especially, I experienced a lot of people who expected everything to be easy and handed to them turning all of those group projects into something I had to take charge in and/or do a majority of the work (except for a very few exceptions). In college, nothing has changed. One would think that entering higher education would mean people want to work harder and put in the effort to prepare them for stepping into the workforce in just a few years. That’s sadly not the case. I have had group projects all on my back, people who expect me to hand them all of the answers/work, and people who simply don’t care to put in any effort. It’s unfortunate, but it’s also life. So if you think you are going to escape group project doom in college, sadly you are not. 

The last thing I wanted to touch on and emphasize is the importance of planning and staying on top of your game. I’m not saying you have to be as psycho-crazy about organization as I am, but I am saying keeping all of your ducks in a row and staying on top of it all makes your life so much easier. Part of me thinks that my enjoyment and ease in terms of distance learning has been so smooth and easy due to my organizational abilities. I triple check everything and ensure I’m doing everything I need to do while also staying ahead. If you have not purchased a planner or any other planning tool (there are so many, check out some of mine here), I suggest you start. It will make all the difference. 

I took a little bit more of a different route in this post, and I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you all continue to work hard, stay safe, and of course, don’t forget to stay vibin. 

 

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