Now that my time as a freshman living on-campus is over, I look back at the past few months and realize I had learned and experienced a lot that I don’t think I would have if I had stayed at home. From my first boyfriend, my first college party, my first break-up, and to the first time a close friend passed, my freshman year was a full of firsts, along with ups and downs. Here are some things that I have learned that I would like to share.
Take advantage of what you’re already paying for.
You’re paying thousands of dollars for college, so let that friend peer pressure you into working out at the Rec that you’re already paying for. And yes, get that Smoothie King afterward to treat yourself. Take advantage of Moody’s 24/7 buffet and grab some late-night snacks, whether that be fries, cereal, or a waffle. You can sit and gossip with your roommates or check out the people passing by. Take advantage of Cougar Woods and their dining events that sometimes even include great wings, or DIY mac and cheese. Plus, don’t forget to attend events on campus. Go watch some movies at the Student Center, like Toy Story 4, or hit up the parties in the park (Homecoming, Winter Wonderland, etc.), as I like to call them.
Manage your time.
Eat with your friends, study with your friends, work out with your friends. You need to eat, and you want to hang out with them later anyway, why not kill two birds with one stone? Don’t forget to call your family. Multitasking is important, so maybe call them when you’re walking to and from class so you can practice your mother tongue or just check-in to let them know you’re alive. You can also FaceTime your family while you’re cooking or cleaning, to let them know that you’re actually a responsible adult. What I don’t suggest you do is put off studying to DIY decorate your door for a Halloween contest with your roommates for four hours on a Wednesday, after going out to Target for an hour to get supplies, because that’s not good time management. But in the end, we won first place, so you win some, you lose some. Just don’t forget you’re still in school!
Life is better with friends, and I think they make the college experience a little less boring (and a little bit safer). They can drag you get out of your comfort zone, help you with your math homework, or simply be the best advice-giver/wing-woman you’ve ever had thus far. Voting, for example, is much more fun with friends. They’re also great companions when you find yourself crying and eating ramen on the floor at 1 AM after a break-up. Sometimes, friends have some good food that they’ll share if you ask nicely. Find good people to surround yourself with, and be a good friend as well.
Try new things, meet new people, explore your campus, and get out of your comfort zone! Check out all the food trucks, or find your favorite campus coffee shop. Talk to people! People are so interesting; you never know, you can meet your new best friend, your future spouse, or someone who can change your life. Get to know your campus! Take a friend and explore all eight floors and the basement of the library late at night, or head up to the top of a parking garage and do a sunset photo shoot. Walk around campus and find your favorite spot to de-stress. I’ve personally enjoyed sitting on the edge of the fountains while talking to friends in the dark, or sobbing over the death of a friend. Or on those nicer days, picnicking in the grass on a painting date or reading a book might be nice too. Who knows what you might find when you go exploring!
Life is short.
You never know what’s going to happen next. Like a worldwide pandemic shifting classes online or losing a loved one. So say yes. Say yes to late-night food trucks in rainy 40-degree weather to get those fries. Say yes to going out and partying until 3 in the morning. Say yes to getting brunch the next morning. As cheesy as it sounds, you only live once, so make the most of your college experience. There’s no right or wrong, do it your way, however you like to do it.
Before we moved out, my roommates and I made a bucket list of things we were hoping to accomplish before the semester ended. We never got to it, but hopefully we will soon. Here is a list of some things we have yet to do around campus, that you should do too:
- Go to the Baffler art museum – it’s free!
- Go swimming in the leisure pool at the Rec and take a dip in the hot tub after.
- Hit up the game room and learn to play pool or go bowling with friends.
- Chill on the top floor of a parking garage at night and look up at the stars.
- Throw a party with good friends and good food for a good time!
Featured image from Pexels.