Going to college is a HUGE step for anyone. It is all so exciting with orientation, picking classes, finding the perfect roommate, decorating your dorm, etc. In between the excitement of first semester, I have learned things that really opened my eyes. I lived in a small town and went to a LARGE SEC university (and let me just mention that it was out of state too) so I definitely was an outsider. Here are 10 things I learned my first semester of college.
1. JOIN A CLUB!
So I heard this a TON while at orientation, BUT they were right. I joined a sorority and one of the choir ensembles on campus, and It really made me feel connected on campus! One thing I will say is sorority recruitment is an experience that everyone should experience! It is not as scary as people make it out to be (well at least for sororities. I don’t know about Fraternities) and if worse comes to worse, dropping from recruitment or the chapter is always an option although I would give it a chance. During Welcome Week, there should be an activities fair much like the scene from Pitch Perfect to help find where you belong.
2. BOND WITH YOUR ROOMMATES!
This one seems pretty obvious, but as I walked around campus, I noticed most people do not hang out with their roommates as much. Soon, I started noticing that I really didn’t really hang out with my roommate either. This one is important because you LIVE together and ultimately, your roommate and also, your suitemate will be the ones that deal with you day in and day out so they know you better than anyone, but they may not try to do much to help you in situations if you barely have scratched the surface of each’s other personality.
3. Make friends is class
So this could apply to almost any college, but I really noticed it when I left my small town. I did not have my friend that were good at biology right down the road anymore. Ultimately, I made one significant friend and turned out she was in 3 of my classes and the same major as I was so we helped each other with everything and on the days we had a break between classes, we would grab lunch and had talked about whatever was going on. Also, having friends in each class helps when you are sick one day and can’t make it to class, your friend you have can keep you caught up and help you when you get back. P.S. Getting their phone number wouldn’t be a bad idea 🙂
4. TRY to only be in your dorm when doing homework or sleeping
So I did not do a lot of things while in high school mainly because in a small town, there isn’t much, but in college, the possibilities are endless. Your dorm isn’t going anywhere and there is so much you can do! Try to do your homework at the library because you meet people there but I personally did my homework in my dorm because it was the only place I could concentrate. Go to a party at least once and see what it’s all about (personally it wasn’t my scene but for others, it is). Go to a football game or basketball game or whatever sport you are in to (this has been my personal favorite). Grab lunch with someone you just met because who knows? They may be your best friend before the semester is over (speaking from personal experience). Your dorm is 4 walls, a bed, a dresser, and a desk perhaps so go and see something you haven’t seen before. Literally the sky’s the limit!
5. LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!
Coming from a small town, my parents let me roam almost anywhere. So I went to college brave and excited! I came and went as I pleased until I started getting emails from campus police stating “RAPE” or “GROPE’ or “THEFT.” At first, I was okay because I knew that stuff happened back home, but It would never happen to me. Then my best friend was attacked because she was alone with one of her friends. I remember saying it would not happen to me or someone close to me just that morning and I was just shocked. This is when I stopped walking around by myself at night unless I could help it and this showed me to be very cautious of my surroundings and watch for sketchy people because “We aren’t in Kansas anymore” Another thing is be aware of safety procedures like blue lights on campus!
6. Call your family every once in a while or MORE.
Being independent for once was one reason I chose to leave Small Town, USA, but then after a little while, I missed my family. So I began calling them and face timing them whenever I could because we missed each other and I was an hour ahead of them and they didn’t know my schedule so I would always call. Plus, Call your family because they are probably the ones paying for you to go to college. I urge you to call especially if you have younger siblings. I have two younger siblings and I didn’t realize how much I missed them or they missed me until we facetimed for the first time and we all were smiling from ear to ear. Plus, you will miss home so any time you start feeling homesick just call and talk to your family. It will be a great remedy. This is one of those things I learned my first semester of college that didn’t take too much time to figure out.
7. Talk to your RA.
So let me be honest, my RA was nice but I did not really bond with her. I talked more with a RA on the first floor because he was usually the one at the desk when I needed something. Anyways, knowing an RA helps especially when you are stuck in a situation that you don’t know how to handle plus they usually know all the great places to eat and other activities close to campus. Your RA is usually a student like yourself so they are willing to help you find places on campus and will do stuff with you. I know a friend of mine and his RA went with him to get his tattoo. I’ll let you decide how close you want to get with an RA though.
8. Learn to sleep with noise.
This is the most crucial of things I learned my first semester of college. Small towns don’t have a lot of noise unless you own a farm or live close to the train tracks. This is something I had to learn because people on my floor did not know the meaning of quiet hours. So do what you have to do here. I personally had to just lay there until I finally went to sleep. I also found some herbal tea that put me to sleep too. Some people told me to buy earplugs but I felt that was little too much. Basically, this will be up to you on how you deal with it, but sleeping through noise also helps when you are trying to catch a quick nap between classes or while studying for a final.
9. Go to the Dining Hall for at least 1 meal a day!
This is probably so random, and as you read this, you have no idea why I would say this. Anyways, I have a meal plan that gets me meals from the dining halls plus some dining dollars to use at the restaurants on campus. So the dining halls may not be a personal favorite of most people (including me) but you meet people there. I personally hate eating by myself because from a small town, you always knew everyone so you always had someone to sit with. This is how I have learned about many different areas from around the U.S. because of the people I met while at the dining hall.
10. Losing High School Friends is okay.
So this is probably more serious than most of these, but this is one that really hit me hard. I am sure you noticed that I was always saying “meet people” and all. That is because I realized this point. My group of friends in high school consisted of me and 4 other people, one of which was my boyfriend. At first, everyone kept in contact decently but we all had to remember we were busy and 0n different schedules. Then slowly, you could just see the effort of trying to talk to each other was in a downward spiral. By Thanksgiving, I barely heard from any of them and plans to hangout when we were home never really worked out.
My boyfriend and I broke up as well. I learned that I basically outgrew them and they outgrew me. Yes, it hurt but it is okay! This just allows me to fully focus on what I want to do with my life. It may seem like the end of the world if this happens to you, but take the good memories and push on to your larger goal. Do not stress yourself out over them; you probably are not going to see them unless you go home. That is why it is important to meet college friends. All the things I learned my first semester of college were so useful.