For Freshmen. By Freshmen.
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Sep 10 2016
by Ashley Flaws

8 Things on My Mind as a New College Student

By Ashley Flaws - Sep 10 2016
I’ve been at college for a little over two weeks now, and I’d like to think that I’m getting the hang of things and not sticking out like a very obvious lost, confused freshman. I’ve definitely had my moments, using my GPS to get to one of my classes on my first day, panicking when I couldn’t find a meeting I was supposed to be at and straight up having to ask random people for help because let’s face it, I’m clueless. Being on your own in a completely new area with completely new people is pretty scary to deal with at first, but if you’re anything like me, you’ve managed to keep most of your doubt-ridden and insecure thoughts to yourself. Take comfort in the fact that you’re not the only one thinking these things:

1. "Please be my friend."

This thought is on my mind about a zillion times a day as I desperately try to navigate the sea of new people that I see on campus, in my classes and in my residence hall. Socially awkward as I am, it’s weird for me to have to make new friends, especially when I have never been very good at small talk. It’s especially hard when I see a large group of people together, wondering if I will ever be able to make that many friends. If you’re like me, don’t worry if you can only make a couple friends or acquaintances right away; we still have four years to make some progress.


2. "Have I met this person before or does my brain just think they look familiar?"

Honestly, this is such a struggle that I never even thought about before I came here. Meeting people during orientation, Welcome Weekend and now that I’m actually on campus, it's hard to differentiate between people I have already met or people that my brain just thinks look kind of familiar. I’ve learned so many names through so many different icebreakers that I can’t possibly remember all of them, and I know it's probably going to lead to some awkward situations down the road when I can’t even remember if I’ve met someone, let alone remember his/her name. Just keep in mind that when in doubt, saying “hey, you!” will always help you out.


  3. "A cheeseburger a day keeps the Freshman 15 away, am I right?"

I hear a lot of people complaining about college dining hall food, but I actually have enjoyed it so far. Unfortunately, that is because I have been eating items from the grill, including cheeseburgers whenever they are available. I love cheeseburgers and also having two desserts per meal, and I’m not about to deny myself these little joys in my life. However, I’m also not about to exercise when I have absolutely no motivation to do so. Even if you’re like me and can eat pretty much anything without gaining weight, it doesn’t mean that you’re healthy. It would probably be a good idea for all of us to work up some motivation and work out a little more, just to be safe.


4. "Is homework literally going to take over my entire life?"

I cannot believe how much reading there is in college! Teachers always warned me to do my reading in high school to get prepared for college, but I didn’t realize that they were right and not just trying to scare me into doing my work. As an English major, I feel a bit in over my head with all of the reading I have to do, but nothing is worse than reading from an actual textbook. Some textbooks have only a third of the material that I actually understand, and it is never enjoyable reading words you don’t know. It feels like a lot right now, but I’m sure that it will get more manageable once we get into the groove of things.


5. "Where did all of these smart people come from?"

I’ve been around smart people before in high school, obviously, but college seems to have a whole other breed of people. I’m hoping that a lot of them only seem smart because they are upperclassmen and are used to college classes. If that’s the case, I hope that I can sound that smart someday, too, but for now, I’m realizing that I may have to step up my game a little bit. Thinking critically and outside of the box is definitely a skill that most upperclassmen seem to have mastered, so we can only hope to learn from them.


6. "Send help, my bed is taller than me."

Lofted beds are definitely the smartest option for saving space, but are we really safe six feet above the ground? Especially if you’re used to a bigger bed, there’s pretty much nothing stopping you from rolling right off. I’ve gotten in the habit of sleeping right up against the wall (mostly because it’s the farthest my charger will reach my phone) so that I won’t have a restless night and literally fall to my doom. Climbing up and down from our beds may not be ideal, but oh well, at least we have room for all of the stuff that we definitely over packed.


7. "Is my roommate going to hate me if I keep locking myself out?"

Thankfully, I have yet to actually forget my keys, but I have been having some struggles getting my door unlocked. For some reason, I just can't seem to figure out what should be as simple as sliding the key in the doorknob and twisting. I've had to knock on my door probably at least once a day after admitting defeat to being able to open the door myself. If you're a little slow with doorknobs or do forget your keys, practice will make perfect. By the end of the year, I'm sure we won't be getting on our roommates least not for that reason. 


8. "Okay, I think I’m going to love it here."

Now that all of the worry and panic is going away, I’m starting to realize that I really am enjoying my time here. Yes, it’s scary, but it’s also new and exciting because I know that there will be so many opportunities for me here. If you’re just starting out at college, give it some time. If you’ve been at college for a little while now, trust yourself that you made the right decision in coming here. Look around your campus, and instead of feeling overwhelmed, think to yourself, “yes, I made it.”


But seriously, please be my friend.

Lead Image Credit: Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar Animation Studios

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Ashley Flaws - Drake University

Ashley Flaws is a student from Webster City, Iowa attending Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. She has been in love with writing ever since second grade when she wrote a story about a boy and his cat. Since then, she has moved on from writing cat stories and is majoring in English and magazine media with the hopes of editing for a magazine someday. You can find her watching Netflix, eating junk food, obsessing over adorable, fat dogs and probably wearing the color pink.

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