Behind the Scenes: Freshman Year of College

*Walks out of last exam with a “I nailed it” attitude*

It’s weird to say I’m done with the first year of college. It seems like a few months ago I was moving into my dorm. I think I learned more in this one year than my four years in high school. These are some of the top things I learned while at college:

#1 Coffee is truly God’s gift to us.
How does one survive without coffee? I used to hate coffee, but it quickly became my first choice for caffeine to survive all nighter study sessions. Coffee in the morning is amazing. There’s no better way to start the day. Basically, coffee at any time of the day is the best coffee.

#2 I’m that neat freak.
Oh yes. I’m that person who needs everything clean. Why this became a thing in college is beyond me. You should’ve seen my room in high school. yikes. A clean room is a place I can relax and be happy. Also, cleaning has become a therapeutic activity for me. There is so much satisfaction from seeing something come clean or walking into a neat organized room.

#3 They weren’t kidding when they said manage stress.
Competing for a spot in a program that only accepts 16 students is stressful. By the end of the first year, while trying to maintain a 4.0 GPA, I was exhausted. My biggest advice to anyone going into Freshman year: de-stress & take time for yourself. Spend a little time every day doing something you love. Prepare for your classes & minimize stress as much as you can.
p.s. a few mental breakdowns are okay & normal

#4 Strive to do your best work & that may not mean an A+ on everything.
Set high standards for yourself but don’t get too discouraged when your best wasn’t A+ material. At the beginning of my Freshman year, anything below an A was inacceptable to myself. Until I became obsessed with trying to get a perfect score on every assignment or test. It’s okay to not get a perfect score. It’s okay to get below an A. Don’t be so hard on yourself.

#5 Perfectionism is a real thing.
With striving to get perfect grades came perfectionism. I wanted to do everything perfectly. Perfectionism is stressful & exhausting. I have learned life is messy. Sometimes you embarrass yourself, sometimes you fail & sometimes it doesn’t turn out how you wanted it to. There is so much beauty in the mess though. Embrace your mess & differences.

#6 Being independent is awesome/terrifying.
Going away for college teaches you a lot. You learn how to do everything for yourself. Going to the grocery store for the first time to shop for yourself is fun, but after awhile you wish your mom was still cooking for you. Having to call the doctor’s office because you’re 18 now and they can’t talk to your parents. Driving four & a half hours to college & back home by yourself. (If this is also you: make an awesome Spotify playlist to listen to on the ride. I made a country playlist that was over 5 hours long. None of the songs repeated and I learned every song really quickly.)
Basically, being independent makes you feel like you’re really an adult.

#7 Be yourself & don’t care what others think.
I don’t know why it took me this long to figure it out. People will love you for who you are. You don’t need to worry about other’s opinions or what people will say. The people who really matter will support you in anything you choose. Be weird & have fun. Don’t be afraid to try something new “because you might embarrass yourself”. Don’t let shyness stop you from making new friends. & Don’t hold back parts of your personality because you’re a little different from everyone else. I don’t know if it’s just a normal high school thing for everyone to try to be the same or if it’s because we grew up in a small rural town. But I had major culture shock when I went to college. Everyone was different, dressed in their own unique style, had their own talents that they pursued, and accepted others who were different from them.

#8 Making new friends is awesome!
S/O to my Element family! Meeting new people & making new friends is one of the greatest joys in life. I have met some awesome people who challenge me to be a better person everyday. Everyone has a different story & things that make them unique. Surrounding yourself with awesome friends will make the stress of school easier. Don’t be afraid to step out and ask someone to grab coffee. Be intentional & pursue friendships that will make you a stronger person.

#9 Church is what gets me through the week.
Find a good church. & Keep searching for one until you find one that fits your style. Element has really challenged me to grow & use my gifts. I love serving with my team every Sunday. I have only ever found one other church, in my hometown, that feels like home on Sunday’s. I think it’s important to find a place where you fit & can grow. Find a church that makes getting up on Sunday morning exciting. Find a church with awesome people.

 

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