I want to preface this by saying I didn’t have the best freshman year of college. Actually, it was pretty horrible. I heard over and over again that “everyone’s freshman year sucks” and “it gets so much better”, and I wanted to punch everyone who told me that.
However, now as a junior, I can attest to those statements being true. I know old me would hate me saying that now, but she needed some help, that poor girl. That being said, my experience as a sophomore was heavily hindered by COVID, but I still had a great time. But there’s manyyy things I wish I knew going into freshman year, and I’m here to tell you all about the scary professors, really pretty girls, and hot frat boys to beware of.
IM KIDDINGGG. Take a joke…college isn’t that bad, and my takeaways are a little deeper than that.
Really, college is an exciting time. You go in fresh out of little high school kickbacks and you leave being able to legally have a glass of wine at dinner, and hopefully with an “adult” job. The point I’m trying to make, is that college might be full of a lot of ups and downs, but I can ASSURE you it’s nothing you can’t handle, and it really is a time when you can create yourself to be whoever you would like, and you will change and grow buttloads throughout the process.
Here are 10 things I learned my freshman year, what I wish I knew:
(It might get a little deep but bear with me)
- Welcome the change of your interests as you change, because you’ll be changing A LOT. If you feel an interest arise in a new activity or hobby, try it out, even if it seems like something you would never normally do. Go and do a bunch of new things to find what your evolving self might enjoy. If you don’t embrace the shifts in your maturity during college, you’ll be miserable.
- It’s good to experience life from a new lens. College is where people from all over the country and the world come to one place. Most likely, you’ve lived in the same town, or a few different places, your whole life. Once you get to college, you’re guaranteed to meet people with all kinds of personalities, backgrounds, families, and stories. Embrace the diversity you encounter and try your best to learn as much as you can from different perspectives.
- You can do your love life however the fuck you want. If you want casual flings and hookups, then go for it. College is allowed to be a time to explore your sexuality and preferences. On the other hand, finding true love, even though it’s sappy and overdone, is one of life’s biggest blessings. Don’t let the so-called “college experience” make you feel like it has to be casual. So if you find yourself in the midst of a romance that feels like a movie, hold onto it and enjoy it.
- Your siblings, family, or friends can be your cap of water in a desert. Don’t be afraid to lean on your closest loved ones. It might take a certain experience to make you feel grateful for your family or friends, and it’s okay to let those feelings come naturally. When I was in a really tough place mentally my freshman year, my brother was just the lifesaver I needed, even after bickering with him for 18 years prior.
- Chances are you’re going to have to deal with really fake people. I wish I knew that not everyone was genuinely nice and real. I got lucky in high school because I never remember feeling extremely hurt or stabbed in the back by a friend. But when I got to college, I quickly realized that some people are outright rude, eager for attention, and desperate to fluff their ego with things like titles, cliques, and social media posts that make it look like they don’t live the same life everyone else does. It’s important to trust your intuition with people like this. Spend time with people who get you, who make you feel inspired and loved, and who you can’t stop laughing with. And learn that with fake people, their problem does not dictate your value, and it never will.
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- You could put your most true and honest and innocent self out there and still get rejected. It’ll fucking hurt, but you most likely wanted something you didn’t need, or something else is in store for you. When I rushed for sororities, I got dropped by the “top sorority” and I had never felt so rejected. Luckily, while I was crying in my car, I had my anti-college-social-life brother to reassure me that “everyone sucks” and “lions don’t sleep over the opinions of sheep” lol. I came out of that experience a much wiser, more enjoyable person. Feel the pain of rejection, be humbled, be patient, and continue to work on yourself and grow.
- You’re going to lose yourself sometimes. Recreate yourself as an updated version. College is hard, and a lot of people can’t handle feeling lost or being independent, so they latch onto groups and people and titles. You’ll grow so much if you can be comfortable in those feelings and then discover what it is that’ll help you find your way again.
- The thing you’re so scared to do really isn’t that scary once you do it. Whether it’s a job interview, adjusting to a hard professor, or changing your major, dive into and tackle those things because you’ll feel so much more powerful at the end of it. And eventually, that scary thing just becomes another thing you’ve mastered. College is a time to build your mastery.
- It’s so fucking okay to not be okay; to have a bad year, a bad semester, or a bad month. You’re on your own journey and everyone moves at different speeds, in different cars, going different directions. Tap into what you truly want, who you are, what kind of person you want to be to yourself and others, and what life you want to lead. Be open to discovering yourself and discovering new people and things because, like I said before, you enter college as a fetus and you leave a grown ass adult.
- Chill and have fun. After all that serious talk, this one is pretty important. Don’t take yourself too seriously, go to parties and dance with your friends, let yourself not be “complete” yet, try to enjoy the mornings after late nights with your friends, don’t freak out if you fail a test, and be able to take a joke. Sometimes if you just loosen up a little, everything will work itself out.
Oprah has a podcast where she discusses the question “What do I know for sure?” I find this insightful question to be a really important one; what do you know for sure? This list of 10 things I learned my freshman year are some things that I feel I know for sure. Just because these are the things that I learned in my first year of college, it doesn’t mean it’s what you will experience. If I have learned anything in life, I know for sure that everyone sees, feels, perceives, and experiences the world differently. No matter how much we can relate to and empathize with people, their experiences will always be their own. And so will yours. With that, own your experiences, feelings, thoughts, and ideas. College is a wonderful time to do the soul-searching that you might’ve been too young to do before, and will be too busy to do later, so take advantage of the fact that, in college, you can learn and explore yourself and the world around you.
If you’re going into your freshman year of college, I’ll leave you with this:
Take a deep breath and be yourself, follow your intuition, and be open to all of the possibilities. You can do great things, allow yourself to.