They tell you about the pure and unhindered eagerness to be independent, and how it feels to finally be unchained from the childhood that kept you sheltered from the wild nights and unlikely friendships. They tell you about the people you meet, the places you go. The intriguing, the impressive. The ecstatic, the preposterous. Yet, there are many things they, perhaps, forget to reveal.
Like the many nights you might cry yourself to sleep, silently of course, because you no longer share a room with only your shadow. The seemingly unfeasible and unsightly bags under your eyes. The, not only physical, but mental exhaustion that haunts you incessantly during the day and watches over you at night, waiting. Waiting to consume you the minute the alarm lets out its roar.
They forget to mention the everlasting and excruciating fear of failure, the days where you not only feel drained, but lost. Feeling the pressure to be everywhere at once, to make a thousand friends, to succeed inside and out of the classroom, to make money, to be well rested, to have a perfect body, to have the perfect life. They don’t tell you all this.
But that doesn’t make them wrong.
Because you see, when the time comes, you will soon come to realize why the bad has been universally forgotten: In college, I promise… you will find yourself. You will no longer feel the dying need to be omnipresent, to be popular, to be invincible.
You will peacefully abandon the effort to be liked by everyone; and give up trying to please the irrelevant—just to see slight nods of approval. You will accept the fact that not every friday night will be life-changing, and you will learn to like this.
The calm is just as important as the rage. You will not feel ashamed of the ordinary, the boring, the much needed time to yourself. You will look in the mirror at your tired eyes and be thankful for your restless nights—the nights where your passion and goals overshadowed the desire to sleep. In the midst of constant stress and busyness, you will have more fun than you ever thought possible.
You will discover parts of yourself that surprise you. You will connect with improbable, do the impractical…hell, you might even fall in love. You will spend a Saturday night with a strong buzz, dancing in the lights, and you will feel utterly and unshakably free.
Hopefully you will soon begin to realize that. That they were right all along. All of them.
I only hope you see this before the time passes. I hope you see that the best is indeed, now—amidst the sadness, amidst the chaos, amidst both the thrilling and the dull. I urge you to find something beautiful in the turmoil, to find something soothing in the ache. I urge you to not only appreciate the greatest times, but also the worst—for from these moments, you will grow, you will learn….and soon you will welcome hardship with open arms.
Because you know now, whatever destiny decides to throw your way, you will not cower in fear. Instead, you will fight.
And when the All-Powerful decides to act in your favor, you will acknowledge this gift. and savor the goodness like it is the last thing to ever touch your lips. I can only hope that, while you are here, you make the damn best of it. Because, before you know it, your time is up. And all you’ll have left are the memories, memories that will soon become stories. And I hope that, when you tell your story, you will tell it with pride. I hope it will make you smile from ear to ear; I hope it will make you light up—a glow that not a single listener will overlook.
One of the many lessons you’re going to learn is that making mistakes is inevitable.
This year, you’re going to make a lot of mistakes, but for the first time, you’re not going to be afraid to make those mistakes.
You’re going to take a lot of risks.
You’re going to accept that teaching assistant position. You’re going to host your own radio show. You’re going to be an editor for the school paper, and you’re going to make more strides with your career than you ever imagined.
But with those positions, you’re going to struggle to learn how to teach others. You’re going to mess up on air, and you’re going to stay up until 4 a.m. writing two articles a week.
But in the end, you’re going to come out from all these struggles a stronger person because you were able to conquer them.
You’re going to make a lot of stupid decisions when it comes to relationships.
You’re going to fall for someone and end up hurt. A couple times actually. You’re going to chase someone who isn’t worth your time, and realize way too late that you’re better off without him. At the same time, you’re going to learn a valuable lesson. If someone is dumb enough to walk away from you, you have to smart enough to move the fuck on. That’s something you didn’t ever have to deal with as a freshman.
You’re going to lead guys on without even realizing it. It’s a two-way street. You’re going to get hurt and you’re also going to hurt others. You’re going to get creative with your excuses and realize that being straight up with people saves others a lot of their own time. Again, another lesson.
You’re going to party a lot more. You’re not always going to have your core group with you for protection. Instead, you’re going to get drunker than you’ve ever been and make mistakes upon mistakes with people you don’t really know.
At the same time, you’re going to meet a lot of new people. You’re going to become friends with a lot of different groups. There’s going to be the friends that you party with. The friends in your classes. Your friends on your floor. Your friends through the paper. Your radio friends. The random friends you make through interviewing – which is the best types of friends — the random ones you make through college. But then there are the friends that always have your back, no matter how stupid you are.
I think the reason you made so many more friends this year, is that you were more comfortable with who you are.
Something that hasn’t changed is your perspective on life. You live your life with this thought: If it makes a great story, then just do it. But this year, you actually did.
You have a lot more stories during your sophomore year. Your life actually felt a little like a sitcom. Think about it. Every great sitcom involves dynamic characters making mistake after mistake, but learning a lesson by the end. Your life felt more New Girl than Gossip Girl, but you always came back to your dorm with a funny story. Were they embarrassing? Hell, yeah.
Most of them involved you embarrassing yourself in more ways than one. You blew up 72 balloons drunk for my roommate’s birthday. Her birthday also involved a plant funeral and a proposal. Great stories for the future. You also won’t forget the time you ate a pound of wings in 15 minutes or the time you bought that piñata for the suite.
You won’t forget any of these stories because they’re embedded as wonderful messy memories.
You were rejected and had to reject more people than ever. You took on tougher courses and became a stronger person because of it. You became the type of person who was confident enough to tell others what to do and or how to handle situations.
You’re a different person for sure.
And if it weren’t for all those messy experiences and a couple of risks here and there, you wouldn’t be the person you are now. Trust me, this year is going to be the messiest semester of your life —but it’ll also be the best.
t’s time. At this point, you’re a couple weeks away from moving into college, or maybe you’re already moved in. I was in your shoes just last year- excited and nervous all at the same time. College is a great experience filled with opportunities, but there are a few things that you should remember!
Be grateful when your parents help you move in.
Even if they don’t put things exactly where you want them, thank them anyway. Chances are, you won’t seem them for a couple weeks or maybe even months after move in, so let them know that you are truly grateful for their help and that you love them. Otherwise, you’ll end up regretting your frustrated tone later.
Scope out where your classes are ahead of time.
Your stress during the first week of classes can be greatly reduced by taking time to find your classrooms ahead of time. That way, you can find them more easily and avoid being late on your first day.
Try to RENT your textbooks.
Campus bookstores are always expensive. Even their rental prices are crazy high! I always try to get my textbooks ahead of time through Amazon. Their rentals run as low as $20 per semester if you order them at the right time (I have found early to mid-July to be the best time to order). Also, if you end up not needing the book, you have at least a month to return it for a full refund!
Go to the Welcome Week activities.
Many colleges have different “Welcome Week” activities that range from barbeques with music and free food to sports. Even if you aren’t a big fan of pulled pork or dodgeball, go anyway! These activities are perfect opportunities to meet friends! Chances are, many of the people there are freshman looking for friends also!
Don’t neglect your studies.
College is full of awesome activities, career building opportunities, and parties. While all of these things sound insanely fun, remember why you’re at school: to get an education. I’m sure you’ve heard that before, and if you’re like me, you’re 99% sure you’ll be able to stay on track, but trust me, it’s easier to go astray than you think. Just make sure your priorities are always straight. That being said…
Still set time aside to have fun.
Go out with your friends to football games and professional development nights. Grab dinner together. Join a club. Be sure to set aside some time for fun to de-stress.
Set aside some “you” time.
In college, you rarely get time alone, and if you’re an only child like me, that will freak you out. It will be okay, though! Just set aside some time each week to be by yourself. You can read or draw or whatever you enjoy doing! It’s important to spend time alone so you’re sure to stay true to yourself! Don’t let others start to define you.
Be safe and cautious.
There will be a time where you will think that your campus is the safest place in the world and that you are invincible. Or your friend won’t be able to walk you home, and you’ll feel the urge to walk alone. Although 99% of the time you will probably make it back to your room safe and sound, there’s always a chance. Crimes happen on college campuses more often than most people would like to acknowledge. Always be cautious. Carry pepper spray, and keep it somewhere accessible. Stay in groups at night; and take advantage of safe walk programs on campus.
Last but not least, call home.
Your parents have most likely seen you almost every day for the last 18 or so years of your life. This is hard on them. Give them a call to check in once in a while, and let them know that you love them
Above all, I hope that you will go as far as to tell them that it was the ‘time of your life’. But don’t worry about that too much. I think that you will. After all, they all do.
50 lesson University life tought me in my first year
Recently finishing my first year of undergrad, I compiled a list of the things I really learned after paying thousands of dollars. Move aside Masaka and Ssaza, this is where it’s at.
- You will, without a doubt, hate everything you came to school for, at least once.
- Your parents were wrong.
- Suede, although pretty, is such a useless material.
- Your parents were right.
- Take chances. Always, always, take chances.
- It is possible to survive an entire day on a bagel and a carton of chocolate milk. Sometimes, just the bagel.
- All those habits you thought you were going to kick? Nice try.
- Sometimes, you just don’t want to be kissed.
- Engineers, regardless of what school they attend, are dangerous creatures.
- It is possible to watch a movie every night.
- Yes, T.A’s do hit on their students.
- Don’t come to university with the expectation that people are any more mature than they were in high school. They aren’t.
- Turns out, fulfilling your dreams requires a lot of paperwork and a high GPA.
- Never say never.
- You will miss people with every fiber of your being and not realize it till you hug them after months of absence and remember why you liked them in the first place.
- There’s no graceful way to eat a pita wrap.
- Being away from everyone you’ve gone to school with since you were 4 helps you sort out those worth coming home for and those worth forgetting. That is, if you didn’t already know.
- There will be students from other faculties in your major’s class who will do better than you on everything. It does not mean they are actually better than you. Numbers on a transcript have no relevance to passion. It’s okay.
- Nothing will make you make you feel more like a student than when you’re fishing through your wallet for spare change so you can buy a hot dog.
- You know nothing. But you also know absolutely everything.
- Never, ever, EVER turn down free food.
- No decent guy refers to the number of girls he’s slept with (be it in one night or cumulatively) as a “kill count.”
- Cover your boobs.
- Never interrupt during a discussion.
- “I used to be in Commerce, but then I realized I had morals, so I switched to Humanities.”
- Remember money? Remember how nice it felt to actually have some?
- Sex is beautiful. It’s a merging of limbs and ideas, a physical way to express your joy in the fact that the two of you love each other.
- Sex is dangerous. It is secrets and fears translated into desperate movement in the hopes that the body you’re clinging to, the face you’re looking at in the half dark, stranger or friend or someone in between, will help you understand something. It will not.
- When you go out of your way to so desperately look for something, it will go out of its way to make sure you don’t find it.
- It’s okay to cry.
- Your problems aren’t as big as you make them out to be in your head. Doesn’t mean you should disregard them completely. Just know you don’t have it that bad.
- Holding doors makes all the difference.
- Know that some people don’t realize that it’s possible to love someone in different ways.
- That one Double-Double was actually a Triple-Bypass-Why-Is-This-So-Sweet-Holy Shit-Why-Did-You-Buy-This.
- There is no set time to eat sushi.
- That look high school seniors give you when you wear your university sweater.
- The ones you loved and thought had left were just taking their time to find a way back.
- One of the best papers you’ve written all year will receive a failed grade because you were under the word count and you only talked about Russia. It’s an excellent paper. Deal with the shitty grade.
- Take a look at the people you last spoke to (via text, MSN, phone, etc) before heading off to bed. These people are who you really care about. These people are important.
- Just because someone is good to you, does not mean they are good foryou.
- Saying “fuck it” doesn’t work. “Fuck it” doesn’t write your essays or do your labs or edit your videos or get your lecture notes. “Fuck it” isn’t good to your GPA or your friendships or your sleep cycle.
- Everything worth knowing leaves scars.
- “It depends on the context.”
- There is something about the applause your professors receive at the end of the semester’s last lecture that will always make you well up with pride.
- Procrastinating on your schoolwork is a communal activity.
- When in doubt, cite it.
- The friendships you suddenly make at the end of the year, standing in line to buy coffee or over piles of exam notes, are more genuine than you give them credit for.
- Maybe you shouldn’t reread 1984 when you should be just doing readings.
- Always tell the truth. Even if it’s dirty and unpleasant. Do it. If the person doesn’t thank you then, they’ll thank you later, to your face or silently to themselves.
- Always reflect.