Hi everyone! It’s been a while since I last chatted with you. I hope that you are enjoying summer! To catch you up on how I’ve been doing, I’m currently back home for break after a thrilling and exhausting first year of college. Guys, my first year was a freakin’ roller coaster. I learned so much about life in the span of nine months on my own than in the eighteen years that I lived with my parents. Thinking about it is scary and exciting because I still have a lot of growth to undergo.
I hope that you are ready for more blog posts about college because I have a lot to write about. For my first post of summer break, I thought it would be fitting to share everything that I learned during my first year of college. It’s a pretty long list, so grab some tea (or even better, boba!) and get comfy.
HERE’S WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE YOUR FIRST YEAR OF COLLEGE:
1. You’re going to meet all kinds of people and get a better sense of your own identity.
Have you ever seen a typical movie about college? Those stereotypes exist! In college, I met people who enjoyed partying, surfing, fashion, music, gaming, Greek life, athletics, and living (I mean studying) in the library (me lol!). Meeting people with different interests and perspectives isn’t a bad thing because it will help you realize who you are and what you value in life.
Before entering college, I suggest that you write down or make a mental note of what your core beliefs and values are. If you’re not careful, it’s easy to lose sight of your identity in the excitement of school because you’re away from home and the environment that you’re comfortable in. Peer pressure is very real. I’m not saying to be closed minded or that changing is bad. Just don’t change for the wrong reasons. Be wise in who you choose to surround yourself with. Try to find at least one person that’s similar to you so that they can hold you accountable when you’re making decisions on your own.
2. Change should be natural and not pressured.
This one kind of adds on from the last one. Never change your personality, appearance, beliefs, or identity because you feel like you need to impress “friends,” a cute guy/girl, or because you feel that since everyone is doing it in college, it’s normal. For example, if you don’t see any value in drinking at the moment, then don’t do it! I admit, it’s easier said than done. There will be times when you will feel left out, but wouldn’t you rather be temporarily alone than experience momentary fun that you know you’ll regret later? Change should occur because you feel that it is for the better. It should feel natural and not forced or rushed. It’s not worth trying to change to the point where you do not feel yourself just to impress someone. If they really cared about you, they would accept you for who you are.
3. Feeling alone initially is normal.
In the beginning, you may feel really alone, but that is completely normal. Think about it. You got placed in a new environment not knowing anybody. It takes time to get to know people and find friends that you vibe with. Just have patience! Staying in contact with family and friends back home helps a lot in the initial weeks when you’re figuring things out.
4. Guard your heart.
Because you’re alone, it’s understandable that you’d want to put your complete trust in people right away. Resist the urge to do so, and guard your heart. You never know what someone else’s intentions are, especially in the first weeks of college since it is instinctive to act overly friendly. I’m not suggesting that everyone is like this, but there are people who will use you for their own success. Don’t let yourself get taken advantage of.
5. It’s harder to keep friends in college.
In college, it’s easy to meet people, but it is harder to make friends compared to in high school. In high school, friendships form through having the same classes with people and seeing them everyday. However, in college, you’re going to change classes every quarter. Unless you make an effort to keep in touch, you may never see the classmate that you’d sit next to. Most likely, your friends will be the people that live around you and people that you meet through church or clubs.
6. The key to living with a roommate(s) is communication.
You’re going to be living with other people who may have different personalities, ways of living, and habits than you. Although I was very blessed to be able to room with two sweet and funny girls, Abi and Shelby, that may not always be the case. From my experience and other situations that I saw, the best way to get along with your roommates is to communicate!
Before you even move in, you should tell each other your living habits, such as when you wake up, sleep, etc. If they do something that consistently bothers you, tell them in a reasonable way as soon as possible instead of letting it boil up and then exploding later on. Then, come up with some sort of compromise so that you both are happy. Furthermore, remember that unlike in the movies, you don’t have to be best friends with your roommate. You can’t help if you’re different from them. Just be respectful with one another.
7. It’s okay to collaborate and receive help from others.
During high school, I would never take the initiative to join a study group or receive extra help from teachers. However, I’ve learned that setting aside your pride and accepting the necessary help from others will only benefit you. Find a study buddy, go to office hours, and ask your professors or TA’s questions.
8. Getting good grades takes a lot of dedication.
It’s not easy to get an A, but it isn’t impossible either. Stay tuned for a blog post in the future of how to study effectively in college. I’ll link it here when it is up!
9. You’re going to have to manage your time wisely.
Your whole life, your parents would probably tell you what to do and be the ones to provide meals for you. Everyday, you’d go through the same routine such as wake up, go to school, come back home, do homework, eat dinner, then sleep. However, college is so different because first of all, you’re going to have different classes everyday and those classes may not be one after another. You are able to schedule your classes at different times of the day instead of having first period, second period, etc. For example, I would start my day at 11AM and not have a class until 2PM. One quarter, I had class from 7 to 8:20 PM. You’re on your own when it comes to scheduling your day so that you can fit studying, eating, and recreation in. Make sure that you balance your time wisely!
10. College can bring you closer to God.
Before college, I had a misconstrued view of what it meant to be a Christian. I knew that Jesus Christ was my Savior, but I was so caught up with upholding the image of a “good” Christian. Instead of building a relationship with Christ, I focused too much on how I appeared to others and following the rules. I would read my Bible just to say that I read it without attempting to understand how it could be applied to my life. Furthermore, I would unconsciously judge a person’s standing as a Christian by their appearance and clothes. However, that all changed when I went to college and witnessed how strong the faith of other people who didn’t exactly dress or worship the same way as I did was.
I’m still learning about what it means to be a Christian, but so far I’ve realized that it’s about humbling yourself and having complete faith in God. It’s about accepting that you as a human are flawed and incapable of going through this life alone, so you surrender your insecurities, fears, and anxieties to a God that is loving and perfect. Why? Because you know that He will provide what’s best for you.
Being alone in college, I went through a period of the most fear that I’ve experienced in my life. I was in a circumstance where I had zero control of what was going to happen. I tried so hard to make sure things would go perfectly, and the more I did, the more fears of the future consumed my thoughts. I went through several breakdowns before I decided to just let go and surrender my anxieties to God. Instead of overthinking and trying to make things perfect, I decided I would trust in God to catch me if I fall or get hurt. Isn’t that what faith is about? Accepting the “what if’s” in life because you know that even if they happen, God will be there for you.
Until you experience it, what I am describing may not make sense to you. Think of how good it felt as a kid to not have constant worries because you knew that your parents were there to care for you. Same thing goes with God! We are His children and trusting in Him during the good and bad will give you this inexplicable peace.
Pray when you’re unsure and when you’re afraid and when you’re happy. I’ve learned that you’re not going to get an audible or direct answer from God, but if it is in His will, doors will continue to open and things should feel right and be supported by your family.
12. Don’t be so quick to judge others.
You will never know a person by their appearance or through a picture on social media until you actually meet them. Most pictures on Instagram are unrealistically perfect. When you see a person’s account, you might think that they are living a dream when in reality, they are currently experiencing pain or sadness like all humans do.
13. No one is perfect.
As humans, it is inevitable that we are going to make mistakes. Instead of living in regret and beating yourself up, take each experience as a learning lesson that ultimately helped you grow as a person. College is the best place to make (unintentional) mistakes and grow because it will be easier to pick yourself up now than later when you’re an adult with major responsibilities.
14. Things move really fast in college
My school operates through the quarter system. In one year, there are 3 quarters which consist of 10 weeks each. With midterms and quizzes, the weeks are going to go by super fast. Make the most of each moment because by the end of the school year, you’re going to wonder where all that time went.
15. Haru Haru. Take it day by day.
Nowadays, it’s easy to look at pictures on social media and use them to define what a happy life means. However, there is no cookie cutter mold for life. Stop trying to control the future so that it lives up to certain expectations. Planning the future is okay, but constantly stressing about things not going according to the plan can be dangerous. True happiness comes when you let things fall into place on their own. It’s scary not knowing the future, but that’s part of the fun! If you knew what was going to happen next, the moment wouldn’t be as genuine.
My whole life, I’ve been a perfectionist, thinking that my life would go according to this certain plan. I would finish college, graduate medical school, then meet my future husband, travel together, and have a family. However, this year I had to realize that planning your life 10 years from now to detail is unrealistic because we are constantly meeting new people, changing, and growing everyday. Live your life day by day or haru haru as someone important to me taught me.
16. Don’t grow up so fast!
Growing up is inevitable, especially when you’re making decisions on your own in college. As long as you’re striving to be in God’s will, there’s nothing to be afraid of. However, just because you have to learn to grow up does not mean that you have to be super mature right away. In college, a lot of people want to do adult things immediately. We’re still kids though! It’s okay to maintain that innocence and have a pure kind of fun in college because once we graduate, we’re really going to be forced to grow up. Enjoy your youth while you have the chance.
17. Be prepared for a lot of walking and being outdoors.
College campuses are way bigger than high school ones. Be prepared for lots of walking throughout the day if your classes are far apart from each other. Something that I like to do is listen to music while I walk. Before college, I disliked being outdoors and walking. However, college gave me an appreciation for being outside and just sitting on the grass to unwind.
18. You don’t have to take everyone’s advice.
I learned the hard way that you do not have to listen to what people tell you. Although, I believe that you should always consider advice given to you by your loved ones and people that have similar beliefs. In college, I continued to listen to the advice of people whose perspective’s were different from me despite the fact that I was uncomfortable. I ended up getting hurt. Nonetheless, I do not regret what happened because I learned so much. It’s always important to be open to what others have to say, but don’t feel obligated to do what they say just because you are inexperienced. Do what you know is right.
19. Learn to love others and forgive.
Even though you may meet people whose actions you disagree with, it won’t make you feel better if you hold grudges against them. Instead of treating them like they’re less than a person, be respectful and show them kindness. You never know how their day has been or what they’re going through.
20. Find something to remind you that life is bigger than school or whatever problem you’re facing.
My reminder was the ocean, which I had the privilege of seeing every single day of the school year. It reminds me that there is a God who is capable of making something so deep and vast and filled with complex creatures. This same God is more than able of helping me get through a problem that I am facing.
21. Comparison is the thief of happiness.
Don’t compare yourself to other people’s happiness, success, and values because we all experience different situations in life. Everyone moves at different paces. Your chapter 1 might be someone else’s chapter 30.
22. Dreams take hard work.
It takes a lot of dedication, patience, and hard work for a dream to come true. We often dream of having the best relationship or being the best version of yourself. However, you’re not going to have the perfect relationship or become the ideal person you want to be in one day. It takes time, but in the end it will be so worth it.
23. Keep a grateful heart instead of expecting things from others.
A lot of the time, we as humans feel so entitled and take things for granted. Instead of living to help others, we tend to expect things from them, which often leads to disappointment when they don’t live up to our standards. It’s easy to get caught up with school and forget about how blessed that you are to even receive an education. I’ve learned that keeping a grateful attitude helps is so helpful for staying upbeat and positive.
24. Make time to talk to your family.
FaceTime them and show them that you care because things are always different when someone leaves home. In college, you might be having so much fun because you’re meeting new people and experiencing a new independence, but back home, they are missing you. Think about the effort, patience, and love it required them to raise you for the past 18 years. Your parents are probably the reason why you are able to go to college right now. Show them that you appreciate and know the sacrifice that they are making for your future.
25. Have fun, and do what you enjoy.
One of my regrets from my first year is that I took time for granted. I focused too much on maintaining good grades instead of setting time aside to enjoy college and the people around me. I’ve learned that although grades are very important, so is your well being. In college, remember to take breaks, appreciate the view, have fun, meet people, and join clubs. In the long run, you’re not going to remember the grades that you got in college but the experiences that you had. Would you really want all of your college memories to be of you being cooped up in the library alone? Be spontaneous because the best way to grow is to do something that scares you (in a good way) and that is outside of your comfort zone.
If it’s your first year of college this fall, it’s going to be so much fun, I promise you! These are some things that I learned, but your experience may be completely different from mine. I truly hope that you found at least one of these tips helpful. My vision for this blog is to not only inspire others through fashion but also in school and hopefully even in life and faith. By no means am I an expert at any of these things. However, I want my blog to be a resource to others because I know that at times it can be tough when you don’t have family or friends to help guide/advise you in things such as college. If you ever have questions or just need someone to talk to, always know that you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m here for you! 🙂