I knew that when I came to college I would learn a lot, but I did not expect to learn SO much in just the first few months. Here are ten things that life as a college freshman has taught me so far.
1. College is not like the movies.
Movies portray college as one non-stop party, and that is not the case. It’s like when you were a kid and expected to enter High School Musical when you hit the 9th grade, but boy were you wrong. Oh, so wrong. There are these things called classes that you occasionally have to go to. There is actually a lot of down time before the parties start too. In that down time there is a lot of gossiping, Netflix or Hulu (pick your poison), homework and eating. You will often be bored out of your mind and in that case, might decide to do your laundry. No one goes out every night, and if you do, that might get tedious very quickly. I will tell you this: college parties are not what you imagine. There will be plenty of hot guys, but you won’t meet any of them.
2. The food is good and exciting, for the first 2 weeks.
At Penn State there are multiple dining halls and many options. And although there is a different menu every day, I find myself picking the same things over and over again. I get pizza, salad, fruit, and one desert. It’s very well-balanced as you can tell, but I’m starting to realize that I need to try new things. College is the time to try new things and experience everything that you can before life happens…so eat that weird dish on today’s menu, who knows, you might love it.
3. You find out who people really are when they are intoxicated.
My mom told me that people show who they are when they are drunk and I believe that completey. I am friendly, my friend becomes outgoing, my roommate laughs continuously, and our guy friend just does “The Whip” multiple times. As you can see, my motley group is pretty great. The story I’ll tell you is the story of how I thought I met my person. You know what I’m talking about? The person you are with that knows what you’ll say before you say it and knows everything that you are. I thought I met her, UNTIL I saw her for who she really is. I had to decide what I wanted in my life and I had to let her go. I learned a lot about myself through this experience. I learned what I cannot accept in a friend. When you get a feeling trust it and trust yourself.
4. There is no way on this Earth that you cannot go to class and still pass (that rhymed).
I promise you listening to your professor talk and explain things will help you. Reading the textbook is nice but listening to the professor is better. If that is not enough then think of it this way: you pay about $40,000 for the year, so do the math and figure out what that one class costs you. If you don’t go to class, you’re basically throwing that money out the window. Don’t waste your money. Go to class.
5. You know you’ll be broke but you don’t know how broke you’ll really be.
You will never have money.
6. Oh the people you’ll meet…
The best part about being at a big university is that you will meet so many people from so many different places. I have met people from Turkey, Brazil, Greece, Lebanon, Egypt, Canada and Spain. Not only that but I also have friends from all over the country. I have friends from Minnesota, Long Island, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California, Texas and so many more. It’s the best way to learn about places that you’ve never visited. You’ll never see the same person twice, and if you do, walk a different way.
7. You’ll get lost often (physically and mentally).
When you’re on a big campus you feel like you are a small piece moving along the board. My first week I got lost countless times. The first time I got lost it was right before night class. Turns out, the building was right in front of out University’s landmark. It was one of those face-palm moments, but hey, it happens. In addition to being physically lost you can feel lost mentally. When I say that I mean maybe you don’t feel like you belong or you’re not where you’re meant to be. I felt like that at first, but now after 5 weeks, I can confidently say I feel like I do belong. The college I initially wanted to attend did not have the majors that I needed to succeed in my field. I had to give up what I wanted for something I wanted more. When I got to Penn State it still felt like I was not like everyone else, but after going to football games and classes I realized I was exactly where I needed to be.
8. Invest in a bath robe.
I left my bathrobe at home (on purpose) thinking that since I was on an all-girl floor that I had no worries. I moved in early and thought “Hey, no one’s here really.” WRONG. I was walking from the bathroom in a towel and a guy walked on to our floor right in front of me. Just my luck. He looked at me and said “Oh my gosh! I’m so sorry!” Then he scurried away. He didn’t play it off and simply walk away, I am telling you, he scurried. This made me think Am I that bad to look at in a towel? That was cute he covered his eyes. Bring your robe. Just bring it.
9. You meet the most people Sunday in the laundry room.
Sunday is when most people do laundry, and when the laundry room is on the girl’s floor, there tends to be a lot of bonding. One night I heard some noise come from the laundry room, and when I say noise I mean some curse words and angry grunting. I yelled, “Do you need help?!” and a boy replied with a discouraged “yes.” I don’t talk to him on the regular but it was magical and he was shirtless. The laundry room is also where I met my friend Jerry. He is going to be my best friend here, I just know it.
10. Your family will miss you, call them often or Skype/FaceTime.
A lot of things will be changing in your life and you will feel like nothing makes sense. This isn’t the case for everyone but certainly for some, so don’t be afraid to talk to your family about it. If you fail a test, tell them. If you aren’t making friends, tell them. And if you are just having a bad day, tell them. It might not be what they want to hear, but they want to know how you’re getting along. Call them, text them, Skype with them. I promise it will make you feel better, and your family feel better, too. My roommate actually was on FaceTime with her parents and watched a TV show with them. Now that’s quality time.