First Year College Reflections

As I’m winding down my first year of college, I want to share all of the things that I have learned this semester, as well as this year.

Contrary to my first semester, this one was much busier. I ended up taking 17 credits as opposed to the 14 I took last semester. That being said, the classes were a lot better (except for textiles, but that’s another story for another time) since they were more major specific. I learned from my classes that I am a more hands-on learner and absorb information better if taught then immediately applied. My newswriting and merchandising technologies class did a wonderful job of conveying this principle. Those two were hands down my favorite classes this semester.

While classroom learning is great, the majority of learning, especially in college, is done outside the classroom. For someone who in the past, could not make an impression no matter how hard she tried, this semester I made several strides in becoming recognized for talents and ideas. I was blessed with the opportunity to work as the blogs editor for the content marketing team next year for the Collegian. Additionally, I was recently offered the position of features editor for The Fashion Report next year as well. Not only that, I got my first retail job working as a sales associate over the summer at Forever 21.

Now that I’m done sharing what I have to look forward to, let me just get into some of the things I learned from being in college. The first and foremost important I learned was to not be afraid to put myself out there in terms of new friendships. I learned that once you come to college, it’s OK to show your true self right away and that the people that want to friend you and hang out with you will enjoy your personality, even if it’s loud and boisterous (speaking from personal experience here). In high school, we are too consumed with being liked and fitting into the right group of friends, but in college, the right friend group somehow manages to come to you.

The second thing I learned was to take in every single experience you possibly can. Embarrassingly enough, this year was the first time I went hiking all because I had never done it and was curious. Curiosity was something I definitely explored this year. I took a liking to hockey and football, two sports I would never gravitate towards. This summer, I’m looking forward to doing outdoor activities, all because I want to try it out. The biggest limitation for me has been the “I can’t” or the “I don’t” mentality. Once that is discarded, the possibilities are endless.

Going along with that, opening your mind up to new people and things without judgment will get you so far. I found myself becoming interested in so many different things just because I took the time to learn about them. It goes for people too; living in the dorm causes you to meet so many new people with different experiences. You live with them for an entire school year and become close and find out what is important to them and eventually, it starts to rub off on you too.

Coming from someone who likes to be in control virtually all the time, sometimes you have to give up that control and just go with the flow. I learned this lesson when I went to Boulder last month; nothing was officially planned, so going with the flow proved to be the way to go and it didn’t end up disastrous. Spontaneity is definitely a word I suggest learning because college thrives off of it.

In terms of rooming and roommates, be chill. Learn to go with the flow and be flexible. I hit a snag with mine last semester and we were just incompatible. This semester was a lot better, as my roommate was a lot like me in terms of habits. That being said, I learned that I had to take more responsibility and be more cognizant of my actions when it comes to living with others, something I never really had to learn when I was living at home with my family.

My family. While I missed them terribly, I also loved living on my own. I could do whatever I wanted as long as it wasn’t illegal and didn’t get caught. At times, I almost forgot that I was the boss of myself and I could do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. The reason being on my own was a great experience was that I completely immersed myself into college life. While I am pretty close to home and the temptation to go home for the weekend was there, I forced myself to stay at school. The weekends are the time the most bonding takes place, so by all means stay at school and focus on your relationships there.

In terms of friends, like anything else, you realize who your true high school friends are based upon how much they make the effort to stay in touch with you. My mentality has always been that friendship is a two way street and both people have to be making the effort. I have a better idea now who my true high school friends are just based on how much people have tried to reconnect with me over breaks. I appreciate the effort made. As for college friends, I found the group of people in my dorm that I love hanging out with. I hope we remain friends in the next several years. I would hate to lose what we had this year, which is my biggest fear for the upcoming year since we are all going to be living in different places. A friend once told me though, that it would be no different than in high school where we all lived separately and still managed to get together which gave me peace of mind.

Going along with friends, I was able to get involved in a church group up here. Since I am no longer under my parent’s roof, my faith and religious involvement is all dependent upon my will. I found that this year, I got closer to my faith and gained a better understanding of it. I also rekindled a few of my friendships that have been dormant for the last several years, while making a bunch of new friends. The Greeks make for the most interesting friends. I always enjoy hanging out with my Greeks.

The last ,major thing I learned this year that time has a way of working everything out. I can’t describe it, but sometimes there are signs that serve as answers. If there is conflict, sure enough, time will fix things.

Bottom line, I could not ask for a better first year of college. I love all the friendships I have made and feel so in my element in terms of what I’m studying and how I’m applying it. I’m looking forward to an amazing summer and can’t wait to come back to Ram Country for year two in August!

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