Sunday, April 27, 2014

Freshman Year: What I Learned

This time last year I was just a timid High School Senior. 
The most important thing on my mind was prom. I quickly dodged any and every question regarding graduation, where I wanted to go to college and  more importantly what I wanted to even do with my life.

Just what did I want to do for the rest of my life? That was a huge question for me and something just too vast to wrap my head around. I'm not going to lie, that question still intimidates me.

Many tears were shed during my college process and I was never scared of anything more in my entire life.  I just didn't want to admit to myself that it was time to grow up.  My last week of High School was hard. My graduation was hard. Saying bye to my friends was hard and moving 6 hours away from my family was hard.

Yet as the famous phrase goes "Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it" and in retrospect I find truth in these words.

If all those moments weren't scary for me, I wouldn't be where I am right now.
 So, to timid Sarah from 9 months ago, I want to tell you just what you learned during your first year of college.


Sarah, this is lesson one. Like everything else  you will survive. Give it two weeks and the rest is history. Quite possibly the greatest thing you will learn all year - you will survive. Seriously. 

Another lesson that just can't be taught in a classroom, it will be hard to keep in touch with people. Your friend's stories will be vastly different than your own. Gone are the days of gossiping about high school events. However, you live in the era of technology! You need to start investing a little bit of your time to shoot someone a text or even- dare I say it- call someone. Stop being lazy and tell someone how important they are to you. It will make both of your days great.

Teachers will no longer baby you. You know, guide  you through every single project, test and homework assignment. Most teachers plop a syllabus on your desk and it's solely up to you to keep up with what is due. Stressful? Of course it will be at times, but you have been organized and you will stay organized. Yes, even if you don't want to be.

While on that topic, teachers may not baby you, but they want you to succeed. They will put in their own time and effort to help you BUT only if you do the same.  There will be classes you hate ( Ahem, 8 am public speaking) and the funny thing is that you'll realize those classes are more beneficial than you think. Reach out to teachers,  your RAs and your peer and academic advisors if you need help or better yet want to network yourself. 
Wait- that's actually possible? You better believe it, Sarah.

Things will be stressful at times, but there is still time to have fun. Go out and do the activities put on by your school. ( Sarah, you won't believe how much money you'll save on going to the movies!) Go join clubs even if you are unsure about them. The worst thing that happens is that you don't like it. If you're not having fun, let it go. Clubs allow you to meet so many great people. Everyone comes from a different place and you can learn a lot from them.

 Keep your sights on things that may seem out of your reach. Keep making goals for yourself.  What  do you want to accomplish in a month, semester or in the grand scheme of things? You will get there. I know you will. Your biggest obstacle is yourself.

The last important thing you will discover,  when you practice the before mentioned lessons, is just how at peace you will be.  You learn to let  the little things go. You live in a beautiful place and you need to enjoy it. Life is too short to only cling on to the negative, sad or even stressful things you may face. Focus on what makes you happy.

Look at the sunset as frequently as you can- one day it will no longer be that scenic. Get up early and get the most out of your day. Enjoy your alone time. Enjoy the time you get with your friends. Enjoy this great opportunity you have been given! Put effort in everything that you do and you will  be surprised what doors  will open for you.


College has treated me very well so far and I have to admit, I'm a little sad that I have to leave it for four months. I've learned more in and out the classroom than I could have ever imagined.  There are so many things I've done that I didn't think were possible a year ago. 

And this is just the beginning.


1 comment:

  1. As your former neighbor, I am quite impressed to read about your experience and wisdom. Amazing how lofty an undertaking seems until you are actually going through the experience. In retrospect, what I learned the most about college was becoming an independent adult living away from my family making decisions by myself for myself. Only the best of luck to you as you really begin the journey of adulthood. Success seems to be in your future!!
    Beth Chassin


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