What I Learned from My First Year of College

My first year of college was a fairly successful one, grade-wise. I ended the year with a 3.51 GPA, which is really great for a freshman. I learned a lot of life skills and lessons in my first year and here’s what I want to share with you.

1. Orientation weekend is important for friendship formation. I didn’t really meet anyone except a couple people who lived on my floor. One of them left in November and the other isn’t really that good of a friend anymore. We hang out and eat lunch, but that’s about it. I was really lonely for the first couple months and I wanted to leave. I hated the school, my profs, and the people on my floor. I wish I would have been more outgoing and met more people. Just remember that everyone is in the same lonely boat as you and everyone is looking for friends.

2. Classes: Go to them…every day. I know it sucks waking up at 8 a.m., I mean, how did we do it in high school? College magically makes it harder to wake up for 10 a.m. class, I don’t know why. I got A’s on all of my assignments in one class, but I ended up getting a B in the class because I didn’t go to class most of the time. I went maybe twice a week, usually only once. You miss out on valuable information, instruction, due date changes, etc. One time, I didn’t go to class and the prof gave us a week’s extension on a paper that should have been due the next class meeting and I didn’t know about it, so I ended up not sleeping most of the night trying to finish it when I could have been sleeping. Please, go to class.

3. Go to more campus events. It’s the best way to get to know the campus and the groups that are available on campus. You also meet a lot of great people. I wish that I would have gone to more events than I did, but there’s nothing I can do about it now.

4. Choose good friends. The first two weeks, you’re going to make a lot of friends that you won’t be friends with by Christmas, but that’s normal. When you do find those people you want to keep around, make sure they’re good ones. Be yourself when finding friends. These people are going to be your small gang for the next four years. Make sure they can handle your bad jokes, lame obsessions, favorite TV shows, and share similar interests. I’m really happy with the friends that I’ve made. They really do make or break your college experience.

5. Make good choices. I watched a lot of people make some some really bad choices and got in trouble because of it. There’s always the floor drunk, but there are more problems than alcohol and drugs. Don’t cyber bully, you’ll get a restraining order. My friend and I found out the hard way. Just be a nice person and stay on everyone’s good side. Strive to be the girl-next-door. Be kind, courteous and tell lame jokes.

6. Do what makes you happy. If you’re in a situation that makes you unhappy, change it. You aren’t a tree. You don’t have to put up with things that cause you distress. My roommate was nice, but she did a lot of things that hindered my learning environment and my sleep patterns.I waited as long as I could to see if it would stop, but in the end, I had to leave and it was the best choice I made all year. I was happy again, in a new building with my friends, and back to my routine. Sometimes you have to remove yourself from a situation in order to make your life better.

College is great! You get to finally be yourself, be independent from your family, and you’re one step closer to your dreams. Everyone’s scared at first, so you’re not alone! Make smart choices, have good friends, and go to class. You’ll do just fine!

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