College in a nutshell: Ramen noodles, late nights, lots of homework, fun times. Last week, I officially finished my first year at Grove City College, and that feels so scary and exciting both at the same time! I feel like both semesters have absolutely flown by and I can’t fathom that we only have three years left because it seems like so short of a time. I always pictured college as a really far-off thing in the future where adults went and did adult-y things and learned lots of new information that would change their life. Well, I guess now we’re adults and it’s not cool at all—honestly I wish I could stay 19 forever!! But anyway, I need to stop rambling…Here’s a few main things I learned from my first year!
First, the serious stuff:
Take every opportunity possible to meet new people and invest yourself in friends.
Last year I remember hearing before leaving for college that I should do my best to meet as many people as possible my first semester at college, and following that advice has truly made my Grove City College experience incredible and has also changed my outlook on life. As Christians, our primary purpose in life should be first to glorify God and second to invest in peoples’ lives and take care of our friends. I may get some backlash for saying this, but just saying you’re not really a “people person” is unacceptable in God’s eyes. I mean, we all have those days where we just want to curl up and become a burrito and avoid responsibility, and that’s okay, but since peoples’ souls are the only things that matter after death, why should we not pour our lives into people?
I have developed a love for meeting new people and a hatred for being alone by myself, and this is coming from a girl who was always an introvert until this past year. It’s eye-opening to learn others’ views on life, their unique struggles, and their theology. I have learned to love individuals deeply as brothers and sisters in Christ and when I tell them I love them, which is often, I truly mean it.
Don’t shortchange yourself. Get involved and break out of your comfort zone.
So, for those of you who don’t know or have forgotten, I was homeschooled my entire life and obviously therefore lived under a rock. After coming to college I felt like every single day I was challenging myself with a different way of doing academics, time management, waking up for 8am classes, social interactions, and, um, *cough* eating in a cafeteria. I learned quickly that it was in my best interest to get involved with groups and musical ensembles, get a job, and practice saying yes to any opportunity or event that would stretch my abilities further or grow me as a person and force me to act like an adult.
BIG word of caution, though: Please be very careful about what exactly you say yes to. There are people whom I have hurt this past year because I have had to back out of commitments in order to literally save my sanity. Say yes to commitments but only if you understand the full ramifications of committing. I am still working on this a lot, but am definitely making progress in learning how to find that perfect balance between having not enough and just the right amount of stress.
Sleep is for the weak.
But really, though. I have begun to devalue sleep the more I do homework and hang out with people. And honestly, it’s actually okay, generally speaking. I have learned to prioritize my time in a way that I am happy with. I guess that’s a lot of what college is actually about—-learning to correctly prioritize your time in a way that glorifies God and makes you feel fulfilled. I know people that, in my opinion, have glorified God by doing well academically and socially, but have also slept longer than I ever thought a human being could sleep ( shout out to my lovely roommate). It’s all about finding a way of spending your time that works for you, and for me, that meant less sleep as it sank lower and lower on my priority list. But hey, that’s absolutely okay as long as you’re using your time wisely.
Be open to learning stuff about yourself and be open to changes in your personality.
You learn very quickly after coming to school aspects about yourself you didn’t realize fully before. Your personality will also change as you become like the the people you hang out with. People will point out things about you that you didn’t see in yourself beforehand. Personally, I have learned that I pretty much hate movies/TV shows, I’m super gullible, and people tell me I’m both energetic/too happy and reserved/quiet at the same time. Also, you’ll realize that you are becoming just like your mother more and more every day (gulp).
Okay, now for the less serious stuff…
The Freshman 15 is a real thing, don’t be fooled!
Honestly, what more could I say about this? I didn’t gain a full fifteen pounds but let’s just say my pants were tighter than they should be by the end of the year. Don’t eat desserts all the time; restrain yourself if you have an enormous sweet tooth like yours truly. Eat salad because it’s green and green=good. Also, take care of your body by exercising when you can or playing a sport.
Don’t put popcorn in the microwave and then forget it’s there and freak out when something starts burning
Am I talking from experience? Of course not…
Make sure if you sleep on the top bunk as I did the whole year, you use a well-secured bar to hold you in.
Otherwise, you could hypothetically end up falling out of bed while trying to turn off your morning phone alarm, clutching at your closet on the way down. This could potentially cause your full closet to fall on top of you after you hit the ground, which could make your roommates wake up and have to get it off of you. Hypothetically, hitting the floor could also cause you to have a concussion and be made fun of for the next million years.
Go outside in a thunderstorm in the middle of the night and walk around. Sing often. Make up inside jokes. Pray with others. Do crazy, creative, spontaneous things.
You see, college is really a strange time in life. We have to grow up and be adults, but at the same time this is the last four years where society tells us it is okay to do crazy things. We might mess up sometimes and make mistakes. Or we might do everything right. But don’t be so uptight about what you can and cannot do, as long as what you do glorifies God. Have fun and make good memories that will stick with you long past graduation!
My freshman year was absolutely fantastic! Hopefully my sophomore year will be just as good as this year or somehow even better. Comments? Questions? Thoughts from your freshman year? I’d love to hear them!