Well, here we are. It's officially fall, classes are in full session and the steady rhythm of school has set back in. Yet, after high school, this isn't any ordinary year for the college freshman. You've moved to college! There are many differences between the first month of college and high school. After completing my first month of college, here are seven things I've learned.
1. Living on your own, even with a few other people, really highlights the responsibilities of an adult.
When I look back at the past month I've spent living in a dorm, one thing that really stands out to me are the chores that are done to keep the place up and running. I see my roommates and I rotating who takes out the trash, constantly cleaning dishes, disinfecting the bathtub, sweeping the floor, etc. Even if you did chores at home, being in this new space really illuminates the actions that need to be done to keep a home going.
2. Everyone is on their best behavior during orientation.
Orientation is awesome! You meet so many new people, there are fun events to go to and you get a chance to get a feel for your new environment before adding the weight of classes. However, once that week is over, once you've finished your introductions, people's normal habits begin to bleed through. For the most these aren't bad habits! However, some negative personality traits begin to show or people aren't as nice as they made themselves seem to be when you first met them. At the end of the day nobody is perfect, but that doesn't justify rude behavior.
3. Time management.
This is a skill that needs to be learned VERY quickly. There's a lot of stuff going on. You have classes with homework, friends to hang out with, places to see, adult responsibilities to do; it's a lot. Learning how to manage your time effectively is extremely beneficial. You deserve to have the best college experience you can, but to do that it's going to take a little bit of strategic planning.
4. Remember to eat.
This may seem silly, but along with time management you need to plan out times for you to eat. It's very common for college students to forget to eat during the day with their busy schedules. It happens, but it's not healthy. If you find yourself with this issue, set an alarm during a break you have between classes, plan a lunch date with some friends or simply keep some granola bars in your bag to munch on throughout the day.
5. It's okay to feel emotional.
This past month has been extremely transitional. You've moved to a new place, said goodbye to your friends and family and have completely plummeted yourself into a new life. That can be a little overwhelming sometimes and it's okay to feel homesick. Drastic events such as this heighten those emotions as we're learning to be on our own. If you need to take a moment to let your emotions be, it's okay. That doesn't make you a baby or a loser; it makes you a human being with emotions. And if you're having a hard time, I promise, it will get better.
6. Never walk home alone.
Being a young woman, sexist behavior is not new to me. Yet it becomes much more likely to happen when I find myself walking home alone (especially at night). No matter if you're coming home from class or a night out with friends, really try to not walk home by yourself. Grab some friends to walk home with you, get in a car or stay at your original location. Whether you're on an enclosed campus, a small town or a more urban area, anything can happen and your safety is important. Make a game plan before embarking on your trek home: better to be safe than sorry.
7. College is awesome.
After experiencing my first month, I've learned a lot. There will be some major highs and some major lows. That's growing up. It's hard, but we'll make our way through it. At the end of the day I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.
When it comes down to everything, college is going to have its ups and downs, but during those ups and downs you're going to gain so much experience, knowledge and memories you will carry on with you for the rest of your life. So sit down, strap in and enjoy this wild rollercoaster that is your college experience.
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