What I learned my freshman year of college

Hi readers!!!

So I have officially become the worst blogger on the planet right??

To be fair, it’s final season and I didn’t think I could be this stressed. But, I am really going to try and get back on my game and post at least once a week.

Now lets get to what I actually wanted to talk about.

I did it. I finished my first year of college and managed to get a 4.0 the entire year. Everyone is telling me to enjoy that while it lasts because every year wont be as easy as freshman year… pray for me.
But I did it. In college a year early, and I did it.
Theres been lots of change for me lately. I decided I’m staying in Lubbock for the summer instead of going home for 3 months. Because of this, I moved into an apartment all by myself, adopted a dog, and got a good job. Is this adulting yet?? Is having to spend $100 on groceries adulting?? I honestly feel like I am a fake adult. But thats alright.
I wanted to write this blog simply to reflect on how my freshman year went and what I have learned.

So here we go….

  1. Less is more. As a freshman you live in a dorm… you don’t need to bring everything you own. I promise that you wont wear that shirt you got freshman year of highschool. I will admit, I was overly thorough in my packing first semester, and I regretted that when it came time to take it all home. Second semester was better but seriously, less is more.
  2. Freshman Fifteen IS a thing and theres absolutely no excuse for it. You don’t think its happening but then you step on the scale for the first time in a few months and….whoah. Just because someone isn’t down your throat about making healthy choices doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make them. Opt for a salad one day instead of pizza. Its all about balance right?
  3.  ALWAYS wear shoes in the bathroom. Flush the toilet when you’re done. Wash your hands before you leave. You’d be shocked how many people on my floor this past year chose to ignore these fundamental bathroom rules. You live in a dorm where people go in and out of that bathroom all day… yeah they clean it but… ew. nuff said
  4. Go to class. Yeah you can skip a couple every now and then but try your hardest to go. Think about it like this… yeah it might only be an hour but that hour just on that day just cost you maybe $50. You wouldn’t take a fifty dollar bill and just throw it away right?
  5. Create a resume. If you haven’t needed one yet, I can assure you that you’ll need one soon. When you’re a freshman you can still put all of those high school achievements and leadership positions on there, so take advantage of those while you still can!
  6. Do extra credit. I was shocked to find in college that not all grades are treated equally. Whereas at my high school an A- was a 4 when calculating your GPA, in college that A- is a 3.67 – so a B+ and a B- impact your GPA very differently, know that even an extra 5-10 points can make all of the difference in the long run.
  7. Don’t buy your books from the bookstore – unless you like wasting money, that is. Unless its one of the online ones you have to have an access code for, these are annoying and you can’t get around spending a pretty penny on those. But first look to see if your school has a facebook page specifically for selling old textbooks. If you can’t find the books you need there, check online. This past semester I rented my books off of Chegg, and I saved over 800 dollars by not buying my books from the bookstore. Amazon is also a great place to look.
  8. The syllabus is your best friend. Your syllabus is there for a reason – read it, reference it, worship it. At the beginning of every semester your professors will hand you a packet that tells you step by step how to pass their class, yet so many students ignore it. As soon as I got all of my syllabi second semester I copied all of my upcoming due dates into my planner and simplified my life so much. I know in high school its not as serious but in college THIS is the most critical thing.
  9. Take advantage of your school’s gym. Your membership fee is already paid for as part of your tuition, so you might as well utilize it because you’re paying for it. Using the gym means you’re going to get in shape, stay healthy, and avoid the freshman 15!
  10. Don’t be that person. Come to terms with the fact that you might not be a superstar anymore. In high school you may have been the smartest/most athletic/funniest/etc. person in your class. In college, no on a cares. No one likes the kid who only wants to talk about their high school glory days, I promise you very few people care how many AP classes you took in high school or how many trophies you won in extracurriculars. Those conversations have a time and place, but if you continually force the conversation in a direction simply so you can brag, friends will be far and few in between.
  11. Don’t let one aspect of your life define you. Be yourself. Yes you should join clubs and social groups and get involved. But stay true to yourself. A lot of kids will get into a club, hear the stereotype about that club, and let that control their life. Just be true to yourself. It will be better in the long run.
  12. Ask for help! If you’re really lost or confused do not wait until the day before an exam or the last week of class to see your professor. In college if you don’t help yourself, nobody is going to go out of their way to help you like they did in high school. Office hours are there for a reason – use them and use them early on. Professors love when students ask for help or visit them, makes them feel good about their job. *Also, being friends with your professor could help at the end of the semester when you need that B+ to be an A!*
  13. Lock your door when you sleep. Even if you trust everyone on your floor not to steal from you, you can’t trust them not to barge into your room drunk at 3 am. Just trust me on this one.
  14. Clean. Clean. Clean. When your roommate is desperately sick, lysol wipes and hand sanitizer should be your best friend. Illness spreads through dorm floors incredibly quick, be proactive about sanitation and you may get lucky.
  15. College is the place to get free stuff. Pizza, Canes, T-shirts, Games, and so much more. Go to the different fairs and lunches that your school organizes – especially at the beginning of the year. Keep an eye out for University sponsored activities and I can guarantee that you’ll get some pretty cool stuff. At one of my schools events this year I got a free massage coupon at a local spa and 3 free Chickfila meals!
  16. You don’t have to be everyone else. Not everyone drinks, if you don’t want to – don’t. I promise no one that you care to be friends with will judge you for it. On the flipside, if you drink, great! Just don’t put partying ahead of school.
  17. That one failed test doesn’t define you. Its your first huge test and you totally flunked it… its okay. Breathe. Drink some water. Take a nap. Visit your professor and figure out what went wrong and do better next time. I promise the one bad grade won’t define your entire college career.
  18. “You Have a Package” E-mails are the Best. The best e-mails that you will ever receive come with a subject line of “You have received a package that is too large to fit into your mail box.” Those e-mails are literally like Christmas come early even if you are the one that ordered it and have been tracking it online.
  19. Get out of your dorm room. Go somewhere else, even if it’s just the dorm’s lounge that is on the floor below you. Studies show that freshman can tend to slip into depression due to spending all of their time alone. Get out, see some friends, take a walk, enjoy your time on campus.
  20. Use your school’s GPA calculator. Like mentioned before, your GPA in college is a lot different in college than it was in high school. In high school your GPA is typically based off of 6-8 classes, while your college GPA is typically based off of 4-5 classes. That one B or C+ can make a big difference on your overall GPA for the semester. I definitely recommend using your university’s online GPA calculator and figuring where your GPA will be based on grades you feel you can reasonably obtain.
  21. It can be difficult living with a roommate. While living with someone else can be great, sharing one small room together is difficult and issues can occur. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you don’t like how she is handling something within your room or you feel that you are being taken advantage of in some way.
  22. Be careful with caffeine consumption. Before I went to college, I had actually never drank anything that had caffeine in it. Crazy, I know. Once I got to college, I had to be careful to not lean on coffee or redbull to get me through my day.
  23. Use a planner. I’m being completely honest when I say I don’t understand how people make it through school without a planner. My planner manages when homework assignments are due, when review sessions and tests are, when classes are cancelled, when I have organization meetings, and so much more. I refer to my planner multiple times a day and I’m not sure what I would do without it.
  24. You learn to appreciate the littlest things. I never knew how much I would cherish the ability to eat a home cooked meal, shower with no shoes on, and the five hours to myself on the drive home.
  25. Know the difference between casual, business casual, and business professional attire. It’s amazed me the number of events there have been that have requested business casual attire and people show up in yoga pants and an oversized t-shirt. Make sure that you know what attire is appropriate for the event you are attending.
  26. Know your priorities. In college, there are lots of events being held that you can fill your free time with, but you need to know your priorities. A weekend long service trip may not be the best idea if you have three tests the next week.
  27. Enjoy every moment. Even though it can be very stressful at times, remember to enjoy your time in college. It is a wonderful time of making memories, meeting new friends, finding yourself and growing as an individual.
  28. Let yourself grow up. This is the weird age where you’re technically an adult but you’re also still a kid in your parents eyes. Let yourself grow up and start making something of yourself. Don’t be the kid that relies on their parents for every little thing.

Enjoy your freshman year. It’s the best/worst year of your life. You will learn so much and grow so much. Let life happen and be true to yourself!!

xoxo, laurel

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