I remember being in your shoes a year ago. Sitting in uncomfortable, tacky plastic chairs, looking out the window wishing you could just graduate already. Looking around you and thinking about how you probably won’t talk to any of these people after you graduate; except for that kid, he’s alright. Oh, and that girl, she was always sweet. Only showing up to the last few weeks of classes because if you didn’t, you weren’t allowed to go to prom.
Oh, I remember it. I’m not going to bullshit you and say that I want to go back, because I don’t. Sure, I miss seeing some people on a regular basis, but I don’t want to take back all the memories that I made my freshman year in college. However, I do want to give a few friendly tidbits of advice to those graduating and pursuing a higher education.
What you crave most is probably the independence. That’s what I craved most. I wanted to be able to stay out till whatever hours I wanted, and sleep with whoever I wanted (Yes, I fucking said that.), and not be bothered by my parents about making my bed daily and washing the dishes and vacuuming my room. I wanted to grow up.
I thought that I would have an easy time adjusting to the college life. I had worked since I was fifteen and payed for a good amount of my own things. But I didn’t take into account how hard it would be balancing a job with my social life and academics, or how fast my meal plan would run out, or how quickly laundry piled up when I didn’t have to be told to do it. I didn’t realize how much of a dent car insurance, nights out, and my cell phone bill would put in my bank account. I didn’t understand how much I appreciated sleep, and I never expected to meet people as spectacular, and even people as grimy as the people I’ve met during my freshman year.
Don’t go into college expecting it to be any specific way. Expectations lead to disappointment quite often. To be honest, nothing ever turns out entirely the way you expected it to. Go into your freshman year with an open mind, you’ll be surprised how much you grow in the eight or nine months you spend away from home.
You will meet people and become “friends” with them during your first semester classes, and you won’t even talk to these people during your second semester. In fact, you may even forget these “friends” names. In college, you will learn who your real friends are, and sometimes you learn the hard way by losing a few when you needed them most. My group of friends now is entirely different from the friends I made when I first moved into my dorm. Actually, I couldn’t stand my current best friends when I first met them, I thought they were irritating- But look where we are now! Don’t get too upset over the loss of new found friends, you’ll make more and through it all you’ll find who will stick by your side.
You’ll learn how to really budget your time. Yeah, it might sound good to have a beer or seven at the end of a stressful day, and sometimes that’s ok! Indulge when you can, but don’t fall behind in classes your freshman year, because they’re a big part of your GPA. Push yourself when you really need to. Don’t forget that you’re blessed enough to be getting a college education, not everyone has the chance!
You’ll have your highs, acing an exam, killin’ a presentation, getting a free coffee from the campus starbucks, and having fun nights out with your friends. You’ll have your lows, where you may or may not cry into your pillow while eating Ramen noodles and chugging coffee as you cram for a test or an assignment. Stay humble, and try not to judge others for such things-you’ll be in the same position as them eventually.
You will feel awkward more than once and not know what to do with certain things on campus. How do I add money to my student points card? Where can I eat with this? How do I know which washer to start? Why isn’t the washer taking my quarters? Does anyone know what time the bus comes through between 11 and 12? Where do I go if I get locked out? The list goes on and on. Hey. Calm down. You will learn. You will be ok. Ask questions. Everyone’s been there.
You will have to get along with people you can’t stand, get over it.
You will hear people having sex at all times of day. Also, get over it.
You will make some very important connections on campus, and you should take advantage of every opportunity you have to do this. Go to club fairs. Talk to your athletic and student activities directors. Get in touch with alumni. You literally never know who could be a future connection to a job or internship. Get out of your bed, turn off the tv and get to know people. I can’t tell you the amount of wonderful opportunities that have opened up for me because I’ve made connections on campus. Don’t be afraid!
You’ll learn how to budget money and have to ask your mom, dad, or grandparents for money more than once. I hate asking for money, but my father and grandmother have always been willing to help. For that, I’m so grateful. I couldn’t have made it through my first year without them.
You’ll learn the importance of those you hold dearest, and you’ll thank the universe for them more frequently than you ever have.
You’ll feel like a shitty friend for not always talking to your friends back home. Don’t worry, we’re all busy, they’ll understand if they’re true friends.
You’ll learn an infinite amount of things that will do you good to know in life, and I hope that you treasure your freshman year just as much as I treasured mine. It flies by, so enjoy it. But enjoy the remainder of your high school experience as well. Your high school graduation signifies the end of one of the simplest times of your lives, and the beginning of one of the most important. Pick out the best of each day, and take on the rough ones with extra coffee. You’ll make it, and eventually you’ll miss a few things about it! 😉