As a recent college graduate, I still remember how intimidating it can feel walking onto campus and into a classroom on your very first day.
Pictured: Melissa freshman year and senior year, moving in.
Freshman year is filled with many new experiences and a lot of firsts. You begin to figure things out on your own, sometimes the hard way. Going into freshman year, there are a few things I wish I had known.
1. Making friends can be difficult. Some lucky people walk into their dorm room, meet their roommate and hallmates and become best friends within the first few days of being there. That is usually not the case. With all of the planned activities for orientation and the beginning of classes, you'll most likely find yourself meeting all types of people and trying to figure out which ones you click with. If it’s a few weeks in and you still haven't found your group yet, don’t freak out! Everyone tries to create this illusion that within the first few weeks of freshmen year, they’re having the best time of their lives and have made their best friends. While it may feel like everyone has it together, I promise you they don’t. My freshmen year of college I struggled with finding good close friends until the end of first semester. I had a lot of acquaintances, but it took a little longer to really find people I felt comfortable with. Sometimes, you meet your friends right off the bat and other times it takes a little longer.
2. Your freshman year friends do not have to be your forever friends. I remember feeling relieved and excited when I had finally found friends my freshman year, however I also remember feeling very outside of my group. While everyone was nice and friendly, we had extremely different interests and I often felt left out of conversations and sometimes a little judged for things that I was into that they were not. It was not until my sophomore year, when I joined my sorority, that I felt like I had really made a deep connection and lasting friendships with people who fully accepted me as I was. Obviously, not everybody has this experience. Some people love their freshman year friends and stick by them for all of college. But, if you find yourself not loving your freshman year friends, just know that it's never too late to meet new people.
3. It’ okay to skip things. I wish somebody that you don’t have to go to everything. You are going to find yourself getting invited to a multitude of events your freshman year, from activity fairs and school sporting events to social activities. You’re going to want to go to everything. While it's great to put yourself out there and go to many new things in your first year, it's also okay to take time for yourself and say no sometimes. Balancing homework, new classes, new activities and friends can be overwhelming. Sometimes you just need to say no. With Snapchat and Instagram we all have this fear instilled in us that if we skip this one event were going to miss out on everything. Skip the activity sometimes and sleep in if you’re not feeling well. Speaking from experience, it's much better to miss one thing then to go and have a lingering cold for the entirety of freshman year because you just didn’t wanna miss out.
4.It's okay to change your major. Sometimes you are convinced you know exactly what you want to do. You come into college thinking i'm definitely going to be a (fill in blank) major! You get into class very excited but as the weeks go by, you realize you don’t actually like what you’re learning. That is one hundred percent okay! One of the best parts of going to college is that you get to take a variety of courses to figure out what you like and what you don’t like. You might find that bio is not for you but business is. You might find that biology is not for you but business is, or that you really enjoy your art classes over your math classes. As you get older sometimes your interests change and that’s normal. The same can be said if you come in undeclared. You may not know what you wanna major in at all at the start of college. As you start classes, take note of which ones you really enjoy and which ones you never wanna take again. Eventually you’ll be able to pinpoint what it is that you like and want to do. So don’t sweat it!
As you begin your college journey remember that it’s going to be a little awkward at first; it is for everyone! Eventually, you will think of this place as home, so take it all in while you can. (Oh and one last tip, never wear your lanyard around your neck, it's a tell tale sign you're a freshman.)