I just finished my first semester of college! What? I could swear I just graduated from kindergarten.
But, no. I just finished my very first semester of college in a new city, around new people, with new classes. All of the “newness” required an adjustment. I survived; I am alive.
I wanted to write about my first-semester experience, but to make it somewhat organized I am going to section off this post into four categories: College Life, Health, Academics, and Miscellaneous.
This was the biggest change, obviously. College life is SO different. I may be naive, but I didn’t realize how different college would be than living at home. In college, there are many different dimensions. You can party. You can study. You can stay up late on a weeknight. You can do anything. As an introvert, it was so weird to see people socializing on a Monday night. To me, Monday nights are reserved for books, paper, and pencils — studying. However, as I have grown this semester, I have learned that it is all about balance — which I am still trying to find. You need to prioritize important things; such as school, but sometimes grabbing hot chocolate with a friend is also necessary. I am extremely rigid, and the concept of hanging out with people on a weeknight still makes me uncomfortable. I have this switch in my head that says I must be productive 100% of the day. This mindset, however, is dangerous and exhausting. Sometimes unwinding is the most productive thing you can do. As the next semester comes, my goal is to find time for people too. Yes, academics and extracurriculars are important but so are relationships.
I am sure you are familiar with the infamous “Freshman 15.” I am proud to say that I didn’t gain it — but I am more worried that I may during winter break. 😀 I don’t live in a dorm, which is partially the reason — I didn’t have easy access to college food and I had to walk. A lot. Instead, my eating habits remained pretty similar to my pre-college self. From a mental health standpoint, however, I did end up catching the first-semester blues. I missed my family, my home — the familiarity of my “old life.” These feelings made the beginning adjustment immensely difficult because I had to learn to make friends and adapt to a new setting. Although these experiences are not exclusive to me, as most people are trying to adjust to this new phase. All in all, I am at a point now where I am learning to appreciate college and becoming grateful for the time I have had at home; this is all just a part of life.
If you can’t already tell, I am extremely academic oriented. I care about school — too much. Entering college, I thought everything would be unbearably difficult. I thought that it would be impossible to talk to professors. I thought I was not prepared. However, as this semester comes to a close, I was completely wrong. I love to learn; I love my classes. This attitude didn’t make the content any less difficult, but it made it bearable. I truly enjoyed every class I took this semester. I also learned that professors are not monsters — at least the ones I had; they are people who possess a zeal to teach. Again, this is not to generalize all professors because I am sure there are monsters out there, but I was incredibly blessed to be around inspiring individuals. In order to reach my academic goals, I had to make a study plan (which to some may be excessive), but I found that organizing my schedule around exams and deadlines allowed me to be the most efficient student. I am so proud of all that I accomplished this semester, and I cannot wait to continue to learn and to grow as college and life progress.
This semester was eye-opening for me from an individual perspective. I have learned so much about myself. One thing that I did not know was that I really do not know how to have fun. 😉 I know. Weird. It’s true though. I am really just not a “group-fun-person.” I’m working on it though. Additionally, this semester I joined Student Government, the school paper, the Liberal Arts Council, and a religious organization. These organizations have allowed me to have a platform to spread my voice and hopefully elicit a change on campus in the future — and engender valuable friendships. I have also discovered what I want to do with my life. I have always questioned my aspirations, but I really feel like I have a semi-solid plan, which makes me even more excited for the future — we will just have to see what happens. My first semester of college has really transformed my way of thinking; it’s crazy how just a few months can really alter a person — intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually.
I am incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to pursue higher education, which tragically is not an option for many. I hope that this pursuit will allow me to produce positive change — somewhere.
I know this blog has been on the back burner for the majority of this journey, but I am working on it — and can’t wait to post over winter break. Also: I turn 18 in 10 days — time just keeps moving!
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