An End is Near: Lessons from Freshman Year

As the semester nears an end, it is safe to say that I have learned a lot this year. I learned how to do the menial, dreaded task of laundry without my mom’s help. I learned how to plan out my meals so I do not starve during my lectures. I have learned how to manage my time, not pull all-nighters, and actually read the syllabus when the professor says to. But most importantly, I have learned about myself. My first year of college was easily the best and worst of my life. Here are a few of the lessons I have learned so far:

  1. Experiment. College is a time to reinvent yourself. I have learned to experiment with as many things as possible: Food, friends, extracurricular activities, style, and study habits. Oftentimes, high school habits bind us to acting and portraying ourself a certain way. Being independent in college has allowed me to experiment with new student organizations, that I would typically not have joined in high school. It has taught me to push myself out of my comfort zone to grow in new ways.
  2. Make mistakes. Yes, we want to play it safe in college, get a killer GPA, and graduate to find a stable job. However, college is one of the only times in your life that you can make mistakes and learn from them. Run for positions in unique organizations, embrace public speaking opportunities, go on spontaneous road trips. You will run into roadblocks along the way, but college is all about seeking the unknown and using that as an opportunity to learn something new about yourself.
  3. Be yourself. As cliche as this sounds, college is not like high school where cliques form and people conform to those groups. People in college are more open-minded and outgoing, so it is easier to be yourself. Do what you want, act how you want, and be true to yourself. As you figure out who you are, your likes and dislikes, you will learn to present yourself to other people. If you just be yourself, people see this genuineness, and appreciate that about you.
  4. Don’t be afraid to talk. People are always emphasizing the importance of networking. I have learned that it is not about how many people you talk to, but how many people you get to know well. It is not about the number of faces you know, but able the relationships you have formed with people. Being in college, you are exposed to so many people ranging from other students to professors. Seek out people, and do not be afraid to make conversation with them. You might end up having a lot more in common with them than you anticipated!