10 Things I Learned in my First Semester of College

I am currently on my winter break after my first semester at Stonehill College. Let’s just say I love being a college kid. I have made such great friends and I’m looking forward to taking more classes, especially within my major. College was not only about the academics, but adjusting to living without my parents, and being responsible for myself: establishing more independence. I learned many things just from my first semester that I couldn’t learn anywhere else.

10 things I’ve learned are…

  1. You don’t get tired of being with your best friends all of the time. They are like a second family because you are now at your home away from home. Find these people; however, sometimes they find you. I had friends in my room all the time and did homework with my friends when I could allow myself a little distraction. You’ll want days full of laughs and your best friends will almost guarantee that. You’ll never get sick of it.
  2. You are more independent than you may think you are on move-in day. I have always been a homebody, so I thought moving in would be a scary adjustment. It was scary, I won’t lie, but it was a very smooth transition for me, even though I never spend long periods away from home ever before. literally ever. I realized I was completely confident taking care of myself, even though I had never done my own laundry until college. Oops.
  3. Sleep is a must. Personally, I am not someone who can function on little to no sleep. I need 6-8 hours to even wake up in the morning, let alone listen attentively in my 8:30. Do not procrastinate and pull all nighters writing papers. It really takes a toll on you.
  4. Do homework on Fridays. It sounds silly, but, trust me, come Sunday night when you can go to bed at midnight instead of 1am, you’ll be thanking me. Even if you can get a couple hours of work or studying in, it saves you a little less to do later in the weekend. The weekend flies by even faster than it does in high school. Take advantage of Friday afternoons if you have the free time. Some people are still in class, so you won’t be missing out on any fun.
  5. You learn about how true you are to your values. Before entering college, do not set extremely high expectations about how you will act and behave in college if you cannot commit to them. College is such a different environment that most people are familiar with when beginning their first semester. If you believe in something, stick with it.
  6. Freedom. Freedom to be yourself allows you to find out who genuinely cares about you as your true self. Not only freedom to possibly discover who you are, or become someone you always strived to be, you are on your own. You are the only person who is going to tell you to write that paper, or do that homework. Teachers and guidance counselors and parents make sure you do what you are supposed to, including simply going to class. No one is going to hold your hand and help you through in college; it’s all you. Go to class, do your laundry, and do your homework. You’ll succeed.
  7. Those people that care about you? Your friends? They are your rocks. Your friends care about you because they love you for who you are. They have your back no matter what; they help you at your worst and cheer you on at your best. Special thanks to these friends of mine, I wouldn’t have made it through without you guys!
  8. Take time for yourself. Although I never got tired of being with my friends 95% of the time,-okay maybe 98% of the time-I forgot to take time for myself. I am an only child living in my house-I have two older siblings living on their own-so it was a huge adjustment being around so many people all of the time. I didn’t take too much time for myself this semester, but I did a couple times. It allowed me time to reflect on what was happening in my life, and let me be left alone with my thoughts. It’s refreshing when you haven’t been alone for a long time.
  9. Bring your favorite chocolate treat to school. My sweet spot is for special dark Hersey kisses. When you are up late studying and have a serious chocolate craving, a couple Hersey kisses will do the trick. Satisfy the craving and you can continue your work.
  10. Breathe. It gets incredibly stressful, but everything will be okay. Remember that. Breathe. In and out. In and out.
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