There’s got to be a rule book of some sort out there. And if not, I would be more than willing to write it. Though considering my savvy procrastination skills, that book would not likely be published until I’m 80.
Being the first born child in my family, I had no idea what to expect or what was expected of me when entering this chapter in my life. Little did I know, this chapter would be the most important four pages of my life. Somehow (and shockingly), I’m already on page three, but I will never forget that first blank page that’s filled with typos, white-out, and evidence of spilled drinks.
Disclaimer: I am by no means saying that I am an expert at college-ing, because I’m most definitely not, BUT, I will share what I wish I knew knowing what I know now.
1.Nobody cares who you were in high school.
The only exception to that is probably your freshman roommate because she definitely stalked you on Facebook to make sure you weren’t a total nut job or serial killer. And if you can’t admit you did the same to her, you’re probably lying.
I remember decorating my freshman dorm with a million pictures of my friends from back home in an attempt to appear as if I was a fun, likable person.
“Look at all these unnecessary photos of me and my friends at the beach along with this awkward picture of me in 10th grade with this jerk, but isn’t he really cute?”
I don’t know who I was trying to impress because in reality, I didn’t even like half the people hanging on my wall. So by the end of the semester, I took them all down. I realized people only care about the person standing in front of them, not where they came from. So don’t even bother printing out those 300 photos. Take new ones.
2. Get involved.
I never did. It took me three years to do so, and I regret it. There’s so many opportunities to meet new people and gain experience that it’s almost stupid not to take advantage of what’s right in front of you. Clubs, sports team, or hell even an on-campus job could make such a difference at the end of the day (or potentially in four years). You’re paying a fortune anyway, might as well get a bang for your buck.
3. Make mistakes. Learn from them. Make some more.
I can’t stress enough how valuable I cherish my own teachable moments. As a freshman, you’re supposed to slip-up; it wouldn’t be normal if you didn’t. How were you supposed to know the dining hall didn’t open until 10 a.m. on weekends? (as your staring at the locked doors in the same outfit you wore out the night before). Once I arrived to my 8:30 a.m. class at 9:30 a.m. with 15 minutes left and I didn’t realize until we were dismissed. I’m not ashamed, I was a freshman, and that’s a liable excuse in itself.
Though the most important mistakes you will make are the ones that involve tears. Hate to say it, but those reveal the most crucial lessons you will ever learn. I probably cried every other day as a freshman (not really but you get the point) but man, I realized the most important lessons are the ones you are able to teach yourself.
4. That upperclassman guy is not the sun.
As a freshman girl, you’re basically a piece of bread about to be dropped into a coy pond. It’s not a bad thing, but it potentially could be. I’m taking a taste of my own medicine as I write this, so I can say from experience; he’s not that special. There’s no time for a broken heart when you’re trying to balance University 101 homework and get to your passport event on time, am I right?! (sorry! Bonaventure joke.)
Pay attention to your peers; those awkward yet awesome guys who are right there in front of you (who you most likely have already friend-zoned). Guarantee those guys are the sun, even if you do consider them just a friend. Some of the best people you will ever meet, are the people you won’t have to impress.
One last thing; listen to your friends when it comes to this stuff. Maybe he could be everything and more, but in the chance that he’s not and you find your friends constantly reminding you of that, listen. At the end of the day, you only have yourself and the friends who will never judged you. Do the same for them.
5. Save your money.
Don’t buy that overpriced black dress online just because your grandma sent you money that morning. Walk down the hall and borrow an identical one from your friend. This goes for food too… Do you really need a large pizza AND cheesy bread? The answer is probably yes because who doesn’t want both, but realistically, you don’t need it. Your wallet doesn’t need it either because at the end of the week you’re going to wish you had that money for something else…and I’m pretty sure I don’t need to clarify what that something is.
I blew through so much money my first semester of freshman year simply because I could. You can guess how much I hated myself coming April when my bank account contained a whopping $0.58 cents. And you can guess how much my parents hated me even more.
Off brand, off brand, off brand.