What My Freshman Year of College Taught Me | Taylor Talks

1:44 PM

Hey guys!

About a week ago, I wrapped up my first year of college, which is pretty insane if you ask me. It's crazy when I look back and realize how quickly these past eight months flew by, even more so when I reflect upon all of the amazing and ridiculous things that occurred within that somewhat short time frame.

Let me first tell you how terrified I was to start college. I'm pretty fortunate to have made an extremely close group of friends during high school, friends that accept all of my weirdness and craziness. So when it came to be August and I began packing up my suitcases and bins for college, I realized how difficult it really was going to be to leave my comfort zone behind and move to a new city where I knew absolutely no one.

I was terrified. 

I genuinely had no faith in myself. Despite the great friends I had made in high school, I thought I was too socially-awkward to ever make such good friends in college. I pictured myself eating meals alone in my room (which did happen, but more by choice), spending long nights watching YouTube videos (which also ended up being a rare and wonderful experience), and crying hysterically on the phone to my mom (which also happened. And it'll probably happen to you too). 

But here I am, and I can honestly say that college has brought me a multitude of wonderful people and character-building experiences. I'm not going to deny that I struggled a lot along the way, but even the worst things that happened ended up turning out in the end.

So, what did my first year of college teach me?

1. Being social is essential, especially during the first couple of weeks.

My roommate and I on the first night of recruitment.
Photo taken by me.

I'm going to preface this by saying that, while I'm crazy once you get to know me, I'm extremely shy upon first meeting people. College forced me to change this. My first night on campus, the school threw an ice cream social, which was basically an excuse to force all of the freshman to hang out together. 

My roommate and I bounced from person to person, introducing ourselves and acting like the social butterflies that we really weren't. And although it was absolutely exhausting, it worked. I met a lot of people, and although I didn't exactly make any best friends that night, it did teach me that sometimes pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone can be beneficial.

This later applied to sorority recruitment, where I also was somewhat forced to push myself to be more social. As I moved from sorority to sorority, I became an expert in small talk. My fur vest? Yeah, that became a conversation starter. My hearing loss? Believe it or not, I'm pretty sure that awkward topic helped me get into my sorority. 

Basically, college is going to force you to be around people all the time. And you can't just expect to be around people and not socialize. It's going to be exhausting, both mentally and physically, but it'll be worth it when you discover your communication skills have made the dangerous leap from socially-awkward to social butterfly.

2. Alone time is also essential.

Unwinding with some beautycrush videos and magazines.
Photo taken by me.

As I said above, being constantly surrounded by people is draining, especially for introverts like myself. I remember sitting on my bed the first week of school and panicking because I felt like I wasn't going to have any time to myself anymore, the complete opposite of my earlier worry that I was going to have too much alone time. When was I going to watch the latest beautycrush haul or creep on old classmates on Facebook? It sounds dumb, but it was a huge predicament.

Luckily, my first semester schedule wasn't too demanding. I was taking 6 classes (16 credits), and didn't have many extracurricular activities taking away from my free time. A normal day consisted of me going to classes, finishing up at around 1-2 p.m, working out, grabbing food and returning to my room to do homework (my roommate was usually there, but we were best friends and respected each other's need for silence).

Second semester changed everything. I took on 18 credits, later 19, and simultaneously got a job and pledged a sorority. My days were nonstop, usually starting at around 7:30 am and concluding at around 11:30 p.m.-12 a.m. I'm surprised people didn't run away from me in fear; I was pretty much the walking dead. All of these commitments put me in direct contact with dozens of people at a time, meaning I always had to be "on." Relaxing wasn't an option; there was always work to be done or people to talk to. Daily breakdowns became expected, and I'm forever thankful to my roommate/bestie for not hating me during these messy times.

Although this business was obviously difficult, it taught me to value alone time. The "lonely" meals I ate by myself in my room became some of my favorite times, and I even started working out alone, something I previously never would have considered.

3. Don't doubt your own independence.

At home, my dad would (voluntarily) do my laundry, and my parents would take turns doing most of the cooking. I made my mom make my appointments for me because I thought I was too awkward on the phone, and I dreaded doing things by myself.

College made me realize how utterly capable I am of doing all of these things, and more, by myself. I did laundry 1-3 times a week, and I yearned to be able to cook food again. When I needed something, I called the person myself without any outside assistance. I learned how to better communicate and learned that making mistakes is okay. 

The only bad part about all this newfound independence is returning home, only to be babied by your parents (love you, Mom and Dad!). Yes, I do wash my face. I'm 19 years old, for God's sake.

4. Prioritizing is key.

Because big girls use markers, not pens.
Photo taken by me.

Although I'm super Type A in some regards, I had never been particularly organized until college. College turned me into a crazy, list-making, excessively-planning freak. I had several journals in which I would write all of my upcoming plans and assignments, and I would even sometimes number them according to how soon they needed to be taken care of.

Unlike in high school, where I often forgot to hand in assignments or take care of necessary appointments, prioritizing helped me to get stuff done. It sounds stupid and/or obvious, but do it. Buy a hella cute notebook, use pink gel pens --whatever-- as long as it helps you keep your life together.

5. Put work first, but make time for (lots of) fun.

Impromptu milkshake? Yes, please! 
Photo taken by me.

While at school, I realized how quickly I was advancing towards the "real world." Soon, I would be working 10-hour days at an office job and juggling countless doctors appointments. Gone would be the carefree days of childhood. College is a super awkward in-between time in a person's life, but it's essentially one of the last opportunities to let loose and enjoy yourself before things get serious.

So if the opportunity comes by to do something fun on a Thursday, Friday, or even a Monday night, finish that paper to the best of your ability and throw on a cute outfit and go hang out with your friends, because these kinds of nights don't last forever.

I know you won't believe me when I say this, but everything works out, so instead of being nervous about college, embrace the unknown. 

Talk soon!


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