I would be lying if I said I enjoyed my first semester away at Texas A&M. I was lonely, anxious, stressed, and, well, unhappy. I had such high hopes for college. I imagined endless fun and engaging classes and instant friends.
I was laughably wrong.
My expectations for school really didn’t match up to how it actually was, and because of that I was generally unhappy my first semester. Here are the things I wished I’d known before journeying off to college.
1.It’s normal to have an adjustment period.
I thought my transition into college life would be so easy and painless. I have always been an independent person, so I assumed I would immediately thrive in college. However, I 100% did not. I had a really, really difficult time adjusting to a place without my best friends and without knowing almost anyone. If you find yourself depressed and lonely, know that you’re not alone. Reach out to someone and make plans because the odds are that the girl across the hall feels just as awkward as you do.
2.Meet people in your classes.
Not only is it a great way to find study buddies, you’ll also meet people who probably have something in common with you. I found out in APRIL that someone who has become one of my best friends was in one of my classes the semester before – before I even knew her! If I had just introduced myself to more people, perhaps we could have become friends sooner and perhaps I would have enjoyed my first semester more.
3. The freshman fifteen is REAL
Prior to heading off to college, I lost about 40 pounds (Pro tip: working at a gym helps you get really fit). However, once I got to College Station, I found that my routine of working out 2-3 times every day (yeah, I was that freaking fit) was not sustainable. I couldn’t meal prep like I was used to doing and I couldn’t lift weights and fit in an hour of kickboxing every day. So needless to say, my weight increased more than a bit. Be careful about what you eat and definitely hit the gym when you get the chance, but it is so much more important to focus on school and truly enjoying your first year in college.
4. Relationships aren’t forever
I expected that my friends back in Houston would always be there, but I made my new friends and they made theirs, and that is OKAY. There will always be one or two people who will always stick with you through thick or thin, but most people in your life are only meant to stay for a season. Additionally, you can never be too sure about your boyfriend or girlfriend – even if they put a ring on it.
5. Dorm life is ROUGH
I completely disagree with people who say that you ~have~ to live in a dorm to get the college experience. Not everyone is cut out for the dorm life. I certainly am not. I was blessed with an AMAZING roommate and a really nice living situation in the nicest dorms on campus. But no amount of luxury could have given me the privacy I need as a person. At the end of a long day, all I want is to be able to go home and be by myself. Such is the life of an introvert. Additionally, I felt suffocated on campus. Yes, it was convenient, but when I was campus I just went back to my dorm because it was nearby rather than actually hang out on campus.
If you think that dorm life might not be for you, then it is okay to look for better alternatives. However, I made sure not to find a place by myself for next year because I knew that if I lived alone, I would never leave and would become a hermit. I also didn’t want to live in an apartment, so I found a space in a newly built house off campus with some awesome girls I’m not already friends with. I get to be in a house again AND make new friends, and I am so excited.
6. Don’t buy books from the college bookstore
It is SO much cheaper to get them from Amazon or from used book websites! Also, if you don’t preorder, it takes an eternity to actually receive them. I found myself in a situation where I needed my books for class and still hadn’t gotten them!
7. Avoid Friday classes and 8 ams (if at all possible)
You just won’t go. Trust me.
Just trust me on this one.
8. You will change your plans
I’ve thought that I wanted to run for office for my entire life, but over the course of this year I went from politician to medical attorney to media attorney, and I know that my plans will continue to change. Nothing is ever set in stone, so use your freshman year to figure out your skills and – more importantly – what you enjoy doing.
I’ve found that the things you do to procrastinate are great indicators of what you should be doing with your life. Think about that.
What sort of things surprised you about college?
And to all you incoming freshman, come in with an open mind! Make your college experience your own!