My first year of college is OVER! How crazy is that? Somehow it feels like I only just started, yet at the same time it feels like I’ve been here forever. College is a completely different world than high school, and it definitely took some adjusting! Even still, this year has been the best so far, and I can’t wait to return to campus this fall.
How do I event begin to describe my year? All the crazy shenanigans, new friends, long classes, track practices, and overtired days… it was definitely a learning experience. If you want an idea of what Freshman year at Tufts University looks like, check out the top 10 things I’ve learned this year!
- Everyone is just as lost as you feel.
They may not always show it, but trust me, they are. So put yourself out there! Chances are everyone else feels just as awkward and tired as you do, and any stupid mistakes you make will likely be forgotten by the next day.
- You don’t have to be the same person you were in high school.
Change is natural and good! You don’t have to change your name (though you can if you want to), but if you want to try a new sport or club, go for it! This is the time to explore, so don’t limit yourself to who you used to be.
- Get involved doing what you love.
First week of school, everyone is friendless. Not the best feeling, I’ll admit, but the best and fastest way to may some friends is to find likeminded people and spend time with them. You could put out a Facebook survey, but you’ll probably have better luck getting involved in activities outside the classroom.
- Sleep is far more important than you realize!
I learned this one the hard way. All of first semester I stayed up past midnight, and I ended up constantly sick with a cold. (So many new germs!) Just because you have new freedom does NOT mean you should neglect self-care. Prioritize sleep, eat good foods, and don’t feel like you need to do everything on your own.
- Find workouts you enjoy!
A new setting, new schedule, and new responsibilities can make exercise seem like an impossible task. But trust me, you need it more than ever! Not only will it help you avoid the Freshman 15, it helps relieve stress, improves sleep, and even makes you smarter! Find something you enjoy doing, and make a habit of it. You may even find a new friend!
- Learn your study needs.
Friends and health are crucial, but college also is about school work! So find what works best for you. If you prefer to work around other people, the dining hall or common room might be great for you. If you need silence, head to the corner of the library. Also, explore the local coffee shops! I’m lucky enough to have a Starbucks nearby, and that definitely was my most productive location.
- Caffeine is your best friend.
I already knew this, and maybe you did too, but just for reinforcement (seriously, do not doubt the power of coffee) I am including it here.
- Keep track of your days.
I admit, I have almost no memory of a lot of supposedly memorable events from the year. No, it’s not what you’re thinking! So much happened in such a short period of time, and combined with little sleep and fast paced days, I simply forget everything that happened in the first few months at school. So start a journal! Take pictures! Whatever helps you keep track, or else you’ll find yourself forgetting a lot of those irreplaceable moments.
- It’s never too late to start over.
So you don’t like your class. You don’t like your major. You don’t like your friends. Hell, you don’t like your school! First of all, I’d say to give everything a second chance. It’s hard to decide in the first few months whether or not you really dislike something, or if it’s just the stress of the transition. But if you’re truly unhappy, do something about it! You should never feel stuck. College is about learning, exploring, and growing into the person you want to be. Never compromise on your happiness!
- Remember gratitude.
College is a huge privilege. You will meet incredible people, create some of the best memories of your life, and find access to hundreds of opportunities you wouldn’t have otherwise. Sometimes its hard to keep this in mind, so along with your journal entries, try writing down a sentence of something you’re grateful for. Not only will this make you a happier person, you may even realize how beautiful you life really is.
That’s about it! Of course I’ve learned a few other things (like how to do laundry, how long you can go without vacuuming..) but those aren’t quite so exciting. What have you learned from college? Let me know in the comments below.