Leaving the protective shield of highschool was a challenge as much as it was thrilling. Though the easiest classes wise, freshman year gave me a run for my money (literally). It also taught me much more about people and myself.
1. First college friends may not last: Although this is not accurate for everyone, I think we have all come across people our freshman year that, lets face it, didn’t make the cut into our sophomore year. Whether it was bad influences, transferring, or just plain drifting apart, many of us admit to having friends our freshman year that we no longer hang out with. Being someone who has had friends that lasted years, this was difficult for me to let go of and accept. However, the new friends I had met are still my friends now..roommates actually.
2) Finding a new sense of self: My last year of highschool was a doozy. I had went through a lot emotionally and going away to school was just another step on the ladder I was climbing to become a new person. Freshman year is why I am who I am today. I battled lost love, lost friends, little sleep, and money stresses. I quickly realized the person I was and wanted to be in life. There was a new sense of belonging I hadn’t felt before. There was also a confidence I lost in my highschool days that I began to get back.
3) No money: This isn’t anything new. We are all aware that college doesn’t do well for our wallets. But freshman year was a real wake up call. I entered college with a really big idea about places I was gonna go and things I was gonna do. Came the time and I had no money to do them. Parents can tell us all we want about money struggles, but until you’re forced to yet another meal at your grade D dining hall with the same bad pasta dish they had the night before, you don’t really understand. Until you are (shamefully admitting) scrambling money together from everyone in order to get a bottle of alcohol for your frat night out. I’m pretty sure one time I paid for a subway token with nickels.
4) You miss your family: Yes. Your crazy, nosey, overly loving family. You miss them. There is no longer your mom or dad to sit at your bed while you cry about your test that you barely studied for or about your boyfriend that you had recently parted ways with. There’s no home cooked meals. There’s no annoying pestering about being a “dirty stay out” when you walk in from a party at 2 in the morning. And there’s definitely no “I told you so” or screaming while you’re throwing up because you couldn’t actually handle the 7 shots you took. You can call, sure. But it was never the same. I had to handle those moments. ME, a 17 year old who just learned how to do my laundry. I had to handle these things, alone…besides the help of some new friends.
5) College is prime time: There’s no more messing around. You have entered a whole new realm of responsibility and change. You have given yourself the ability to decide what your future holds and how you’re gonna get there. You’re handed a schedule with what you should be taking for your major (which you may change 1-2 times). You realize that your future is going to be filled with applications and internships that will lead you to your future career. This is real. It’s not a game anymore. And believe me, this part of learning continues throughout your whole undergraduate experience.
College is great. Freshman year was filled with excitement, a broken heart, and a new-me attitude. It was also filled with bad decisions and even worse food. But I wouldn’t change it for the world. I wouldn’t change it because everything that happened was a learning experience. And let’s face it, there are a lot of pretty good stories too.