I cannot believe my freshman year of college was four years ago. Sometimes it's hard for me to remember everything that happened that year, but I do remember some of the "big" things I learned my freshman year, and a lot of those "big things" were life lessons that helped me grow as a person. Here are some of my big ones:
Not everyone has the same background as you.
You'll meet SO many different people your freshman year of college, and not everyone will have the same background as you. My high school was small (around 1,200 people), and everyone knew everyone and their families, so it was like a bubble. My parents went to high school with most of my friends' parents, most of us went to kindergarten together, and 98% of us came from middle-class, two-parent homes. When I started college, it was very different. I was in classes with people who grew up in subsidized housing, whose parents had private planes, people who had single moms, people whose parents let them spend crazy amounts of money every month, and people who were there on full scholarship. It's important to realize that not everyone has the same background/manners/family that you have, so try to appreciate these differences.
Know your limits.
I'm not just referring to alcohol, though that is important, as well. Make sure you know limits in all areas. We've all seen that girl (or guy) that's a mess at a party, and it's not cute. I've definitely been guilty of drinking too much at times, but it's important to learn your limits and not be that mess all of the time. This lesson also refers to knowing your limits when it comes to guys, going out (don't go out every single night of the week!), and the amazing food at the cafeteria.
Actually go to class.
This seems like an obvious one, but it's so tempting to skip classes, especially if they don't have attendance policies. Attending class is essential to getting good grades!
Learn to study.
I had to study for my AP courses in high school, but it was never a lot. In college, I had difficult courses that required more study time. I found that flashcards work best for me (see my study tips here), but I had other friends that preferred rewriting notes or reading over the text again. It's important to learn what works best for you, because you have five or more classes each semester, which can be a lot!
Find an organization system that works for you.
I live by my agenda, to-do lists, and wall calendar (see this post and this post). Without these tools, I would never be efficient! However, my system may not work for you. Explore different organization options and find out what works for you, then stick to it!
Failing is not the end of the world.
Failing stinks. Honestly, I don't know if there's a feeling quite as bad as failing. I am a perfectionist, so I still have a hard time with this lesson, but I've learned a lot about failing since freshman year. If you're not doing well in a class, talk to your teacher about how to improve or grade. Or ask your advisor if the university allows you to take the course again and replace your bad grade. I promise, there is always a way to fix something! It's not easy, but you can make up for that failing grade/class/test/quiz.
Manners and thank you notes are important.
Most of y'all know I transferred from a small private university to a larger school after my freshman year. I won't say much about my first school, but it's known in the area for having rude, demanding students that treat faculty like hired help. It was an eye-opener for me and made me appreciate my manners more. Every semester since freshman year, I've written most of my professors thank you notes and given it to them at the end of the course. One professor told me she cried when she read my note, because no student has ever thanked her for all that she's done. I promise please, thank you, and thank you notes go a long way!
Your parents are the best.
I've always been close with my parents, but seeing so many different ways people were raised (and I don't mean that in a bad way), I am so thankful for my parents. I'm thankful for the lessons they taught me, my strict curfew during high school, and their support. College made me love them so much more.
What are some big life lessons you learned during college? Have a fabulous day!
Miss Southern Prep