My first-year vs. third-year lifestyle

Things have drastically changed over two years


As I settle into third year and my “almost done with college” crises become less frequent from every day to every other day, I can’t help thinking about how much my lifestyle has evolved (or devolved) since first year. 

First Day of Class:

First year: I arrive 15 minutes early after Google-mapping my way from Old Dorms to Gilmer Hall, sit strategically in the middle and I make small talk with a THIRD-year (gasp!) 

Now: I sit in the front because otherwise I’ll just people-watch. I turn around to the girl behind me before class starts. 

“This is Literature of the South, right? Sorry, I’m in three English classes.”

“This is Sex and Sentiment.” 


45 seconds into the class I quietly scribble into my notebook, “About sex as identity, not sexy sex.” 

Packing before moving in:

First year: Carefully analyze the Bed Bath & Beyond checklist my mom printed and went over at least three times. Pre-plan my outfit I’m going to wear on move-in day. 

Now: I get a trash bag and shove unsorted junk into it like I’m robbing my own house

Weekend Nights:

First year: I feel compelled to go to an event every weekend so I join an escorted pack to a Chi Alpha party and pretend to like “Cheerwine” and standing in a circle talking to people late at night.

Now: “You free tonight John?”

“I am doing a jigsaw puzzle right now if you choose to come we can do it together, but regardless of your decision, I am thriving.” 

Dining Halls:

First year: I go to O-Hill at least four times a day and always have faith I’ll see someone I know. 

Now:  "I still have an unlimited meal plan and I keep my social life alive by offering my friends guest swipes."


First year: I internally judge everyone talking about Econ 201 and Elzinga vs. Doyle and whatever the heck a Dutch knockout is. “Look at these people, selling their soul to career preparation,” I think. 

Now: (Text message to my Econ 3010 partner) “Yo bro, great points you made in discussion today, are we meeting up Thursday night to study the textbook content?” 


First year: I went through a hat phase, a beard phase, a leather jacket phase — and a phase of all three at the same time. None of it quite worked. 

Now: I’m going through a pretty steady phase of, “I did not bring enough clothes this year and will reuse my main pieces extensively.” 

I've finally settled into my groove, I can get away with reusing outfits and guessing which class I'm walking into. As I am an RA, watching my first-year residents experience college for the first time reminds me of a nostalgic lesson — something along the lines of, "preparing for things and doing laundry more than once a month is never a bad thing."

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