A First Semester (ever) Reflection

I want to start this post off by saying how incredible grateful I am to have the opportunity to go away for college. I have made so many memories and met some incredible people. It's definitely been an experience that changed me - it helped me grow up. But I would be lying if I told you that it wasn't hard at times. In honor of the start of a new semester (as well as surviving the first semester - woo!) I gathered a few things that I just really wish I knew before going away to school, or maybe just things I wish I would have listened to.

1// You're going to be homesick.

In high school I was miss adventure. I always had a new travel destination and always wanted to do everything independently. I looked at it as a lifestyle choice - I never wanted to be in one place for too long. I never really even appreciated the amazing city I was from. That was until I went away to school. I love my school, I love walking to class in warm weather on a beautiful campus. But there is something extremely special about a place that holds memories. Your university, even if you live 15 minutes away, is new to you. You have never lived in a dorm/apartment/on your own and taken classes, and been a student here. But, you've grown up in your hometown. You've spent your innocent childhood and your trouble making teenage years building a collection of memories whether you wanted to or not. My advice to you? Take it all in. Being homesick isn't bad - it helps you to appreciate the things you have while you have them. It makes you enjoy coming home to your family who misses you so much. Another friendly reminder - it will pass. The homesickness will pass. But you have to let it. If you come home weekend after weekend, you will build a routine that will just enable the homesickness. Feel it, get over it, and then you can move on.

2// School is um, harder than you think.

Be prepared for hours and hours spent in your campuses library, or the local coffee shop. Although some majors are traditionally harder than others (sciences, pre-anything, engineering) all majors will require a lot more work than what you are used to. Sure, a 4.0 in high school was attainable after some work and a cup of coffee, but this workload isn't just a lot of things to get done. College doesn't have completion grades and easy gpa boosters. Everything is done for a reason now - this means that homework you were assigned? It will prepare you for the exam, so you have to work as hard on that as you would on the exam itself. That is, if you want to succeed. You also have to do work on the weekends, and no not just Sunday night at 8. Fridays during the day, as well as some Saturday mornings will be spent last minute cramming, or maybe getting ahead. However, if you play your cards right, and spend a little less time on Netflix and Instagram, its entirely possible to have your weekend nights off. Yes - Thursday through Saturday. As hard as college is its important to have at least a little fun every once in awhile.

3// You have to put yourself out there.

There are a lot of ways to make friends. In your dorm, in clubs and organizations, in classes, in the dining hall, out at parties - the possibilities are endless. But these methods won't work unless you do. Make an effort to hang out with your "class friends" or your "club friends" outside of these activities, so that when the meetings slow down or the semester ends, you will have built a lasting relationship. Study together, go out to dinner or make a coffee run, have a movie night or go to a party together. I know it seems simple, but sometimes with school and your personal agenda, you can forget what it really takes to form new friendships. After four years of high school and having a comfortable set of friends, the time and effort to make new relationships is often underestimated. People want to make new friends - we're all in the same boat. So put yourself out there and start off strong!

4// Life's too short not to study something you love. 

I personally enjoy learning. When college started up I was thrilled to be learning, and now finally learning about things that I cared about. Things that I would use in my future career. When I started up some of my classes I realized that I didn't enjoy them as much as I thought I would. I actually really didn't like them at all. The biology class I adored in high school seemed to be all too different from the courses the a biology major would take in college. I thought that this meant I just had to try harder to like them. Force myself to be interested. But I wasn't happy with what I was learning, and for that reason I wasn't doing as well as I should have been. You have to study what you are passionate about. College is only four years, but what you learn there could potentially shape the rest of your life. So learn about what makes you want to get out of bed for your early classes. I promise, you will have a better experience this way.

It's only four things, but each of them was something that influenced me enough to feel the need to write about it. Whether you're already in college and can relate, or you're preparing to go away and looking for advice, I hope you found this post interesting and useful.

Thanks For Reading!
xx, Adrienne

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