The wind has swept in a bitter chill here in Philadelphia. The winter coats have officially been dug out of the wardrobes and trunks, scarves securely wrapped around the necks of shivering students with thirty-pound backpacks strapped to their straining shoulders. In a few short weeks, the beginning of a new chapter will be in sight. However, before I reach that beautiful light, I have been reflecting on my first quarter of college. Here are twelve things that I personally regret so far:
1. I didn’t immediately get to know my floormates.
During my school’s “Welcome Week,” I had ample time to go out into the common area where nearly all of my 30 floormates were hanging out. I distinctly remember the sudden panic I had when I could not recall most of their names. It was an eye-opening experience, and thankfully, I slowly developed friendships with everyone on my floor over the course of the quarter. However, I still feel a slight hesitation on their part, most likely due to the fact that the bond is not as strong as it could have been.
Takeaway: Start socializing sooner than you think.
2. I didn’t put any effort into clubs.
I put effort into sorting out and picking the clubs that I was genuinely interested in. However, once it came time to actually attend meetings, I found myself drained from classes and not having the energy to even get out of bed. Signing up for five different clubs was completely unrealistic for a freshman stilling learning the ropes. I am glad that I eventually found my niche and joined the school newspaper.
Takeaway: Take on activities that will fit into your everyday schedule and not cause you further stress.
3. I dropped a course that would have helped me in the long run
On the first day, I had five classes back-to-back. It was a tough day and led to me dropping German, my last class of the day. I do not regret dropping this course, but I do regret not replacing it with a four-credit course that could have counted towards my graduation requirements.
Takeaway: Give it a little time before making any rash decisions.
4. I didn’t check in on my family as often as I wanted to.
My first week in Philadelphia, I called home almost every night. As the weeks dragged on, the phone calls lessened to the point where I was calling home only if I absolutely needed to. Otherwise, I would send a text every so often. My relationship with my siblings is not as strong as it was when I was at home.
Takeaway: Keeping in touch is nice, and a nice break from studying.
5. I skipped a class on a subject that I was not confident in.
Everyone has that one subject that is an absolute drag; mine is math. I attended every single class up until the moment I overheard my professor say that he does not take attendance. Since that moment, I skipped twice, both being the day before an exam. I do not recommend it. You will inevitably see a slip in your grades, and skipping one too many times will lead to a habit you cannot shake.
Takeaway: Every time you skip a class, you're throwing money out of the window.
6. I didn’t participate in class.
I chalk this up to being nervous. This is my first quarter with new professors in a completely different environment than high school. Even when I knew the answer, I was so afraid I would be wrong. In a classroom of twenty-something students, it is nerve-wracking.
Takeaway: Professors remember those who participate. Participation may or may not help your grade.
7. I didn’t take advantage of office hours.
When people say that office hours are the best, they are not joking. I finally went to my English professor’s office hours and found that he will read my essay and make recommendations. How awesome is that? I really wish I had taken advantage of this for all of my professors as these are great for ideas, papers, and any questions you might have.
Takeaway: Your professors are here to help you. Use those office hours to ask questions or just talk!
8. I didn’t use the meal plan as often as I should have.
The sudden realization that I am paying a ton of money for a meal plan hit me when I saw that I still had a ton of meals left with the quarter coming to an end soon. The worst part? Meal swipes do not roll over to the next quarter.
Takeaway: Money matters in college. Use your meal plan! You don't want to have to pay out-of-pocket for food when you're already paying for food.
9. I didn’t take advantage of the library and all of its resources.
Did you know that your school’s library is a magical place that has all of the answers you seek? Neither did I until I stepped foot into it well into the quarter looking for a quiet place to do work. As an English major, I’m ashamed of myself.
Takeaway: Show some love to your library.
10. I stayed up too late and felt it the next day.
This one took me awhile to grasp. Netflix also played a large role in this. Trust me, getting four hours of sleep is not enough. There were times I found my professors shooting me worried glances after I stared at a wall for ten minutes straight.
Takeaway: Late nights are for the weekends. All-nighters are never fun.
11. I rented books I should have bought, and bought books I should have rented.
I quickly learned that if you expect yourself to write in your books, buy them. Having to write out all of my notes was a major pain in the neck. Buying my math textbook was a horrible idea because I maybe used it once. Thankfully, I carefully chose which books I will buy and which I will rent for next quarter.
Takeaway: Do some serious research into what you should buy and what you should rent. Ask people who have taken that class for advice.
12. I didn’t appreciate the weekends.
I go to school in a city, a place that is always buzzing. I spent most of my weekends laying in my bed and watching Netflix. While there is nothing wrong with needing some lazy time, I also realized that a few subway stops away was Chinatown and Fishtown and a million things to do and see and taste.
Takeaway: Appreciate your area, explore your area, and when in Philly, run up the Rocky Steps.
Undoubtedly, the first quarter was a bit rough. It took some navigating, but I finally got to a comfortable position as a college student. Here’s to the next quarter.
Lead Image Credit: Pexels