May 7, 2015

Farewell Freshman Year - Advice for incoming freshman

You can sit on Pinterest for hours and pin "easy dorm room storage" and "how to save money in college" to your Class of 19 board, but I think what I have to say goes a bit deeper than that.

For my end-of-the-year post, I thought I could reflect on my year: the ups and downs and what I've learned. But I know all those things already, and I'm glad to have had the experience I did. I think it's important to speak to those who haven't started this journey yet. Your time won't be spent the same as mine. You may be closer to home than I was this year, you may (and probably will) have a different major than I and thus you'll experience a different set of classes and understandings. After reading this blog post, you won't be able to escape long hours of studying or get a 4.0 with my advice.  But, I think you should know a few things before you leave. Even if you "literally cannot wait to get out of this town", you should read this.. just for a few minutes. I'm not here to make you cry or try to pretend like I know everything because I've survived one measly year of higher education. Just trust me, because it seems like just yesterday I was right where you were.

1. If your mom sometimes buys you Chickfila or buys you the tissues with lotion when you're sick, make sure you thank her and cherish those moments. Not to make you sad (that's not what this post is about), but that's something you'll miss in college. The first time you catch a cold and have to call your mom/dad when you realize you have absolutely no idea what the difference between regular Mucinex and Mucinex DM is.. it hits you. There are certain things you'll have to do on your own that you'll wish your mom/dad/sister/brother were there for. Go hug them right now, I'll wait.

2. When you pack for college, you probably don't need half of what you packed. But no worries, when you take a trip home, just bring some back. I'm just noticing as I pack up, I brought way too much. Hashtag girl problems.

3. You may actually miss some things about high school. For example, class in college can be rather impersonal. It's not like high school where you sit and talk with Madison and Laura in AP history, eat lunch with Taylor, and always walk to your car with Emily. You may get lucky and have a sorority sister in your lab or something, but in a lecture hall of 300+ the world can seem very big and you can suddenly seem very small. Introduce yourself to the kids around you the first day - it's not weird. Get their numbers, form study groups, etc. It's very helpful - even if you prefer to study alone, you still have someone to text and say "hey, what problems were we supposed to do?" You get what I mean.

4. Throw away your preconceived notions about college. The night before my first day I watched Legally Blonde. The only thing that was remotely similar was the way a lecture hall looked, but I definitely wasn't asked about case litigations in my classes nor did I need a pink, scented resume. I think the biggest fib is that you have to pull all-nighters. You never *have* to pull all nighters. If you put off studying for your final till the night before or forget you have a paper due, that might be your exception. But never does a professor say, "Please stay up all night and write this paper and turn it in by 6:59 tomorrow morning". So don't worry about that.

5. Also, no preconceived notions about your living situation. I'm sure you're well-read on your Facebook articles on "What to Look For in a Roomate" and "Can You and Your Best Friend Live Together". Everyone will have a *different experience*, but everyone will have *an experience*. Meaning, the two girls next door to you may be best friends and always get along, and then you may actually see your roommate every three days. Whatever situation you find yourself in, just make the best of it. And if it's awful - you only have one year and there's two sides of the room. You can do it! (But hopefully, everything will work out just usually does!)

6. I think I've concluded that college isn't where you find yourself, but where you let yourself be, for all intents and purposes, completely and totally you. There's no status quo that you feel the need to stick to anymore, and you kind of lose thought for what other people think. Some people (beautiful souls, learn from them) are always like this, but for the vast majority of us, this blossoms in college. So whoever you are, be that, but always remain kind and respectful of all the other people around you. Everyone's got a lot on their plate, everyone's got lots of studying to do, and so on. It's beautiful to look around you as you walk around your university and see all the students bustling about. Remember that everyone has a different story, but take comfort that just like you, everyone is still figuring it out.

Don't be scared, this post wasn't to freak anyone out. Be excited! This was such a fun year, and it really flew by. I've really enjoyed getting to blog through it all and being able to document it like this. The fun only continues as I head into my sophomore year. Wherever you're headed, I hope this blog can help you in some way. Good luck with finals, don't trip at graduation, have fun on your summer vacations, and thanks for reading.



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