1. So. Many. Responsibilities.
Homework, calling my parents, doing laundry, eating — the amount of responsibilities I have could be a Top 10 list of its own. However, along with all this responsibility comes independence, for which I’m grateful. While it is a lot to take on straight out of high school, it’s also exhilarating to be in — almost — complete control of my own life. Surprisingly, it’s easier to maintain a routine of eating well, exercising and studying when I get to decide my entire schedule. And regardless, college is preparing us for — shudder — real life, so we all, especially first years, should be positive about this drastic change.
2. It’s the perfect time to try new things out of the classroom
It’s important to spend time doing fun and stress-relieving activities when not studying. Even out of the classroom, there are so many different activities — from hiking to partying to trying new restaurants — that it’s hard to get bored. In addition, clubs are a fantastic way to explore new hobbies or strengthen pre-existing ones. For example, Cavalier Cuisine has allowed me to gain vital cooking skills, even though cooking was never my forte. Last month, we made a delicious Thai chicken curry! College is about stimulating the mind, and I can see that it is certainly occurring for me.
3. Waking up at 7 a.m. is a thing of the past
Having a schedule with my earliest class being at 11 a.m.? Say less. Personally, the worst thing about high school was how early I’d have to wake up, so getting to make my own schedule in college has been a much-welcomed change. No morning classes not only means getting to wake up a couple of hours later, but I can take my time getting ready, eating a good breakfast and maybe even getting some homework done. Honestly, morning classes should be abolished — I think it would be better for everyone’s mental health.
4. Getting over FOMO is essential
With so many things always going on, and only a limited amount of time, it’s impossible to do it all. I have to pick one thing and roll with it. As a result, I’m bound to miss something, but lately I’ve been learning to be at peace with that fact. As they say, enjoy yourself in the moment and don’t think about what you could have been doing instead. And anyways, there’s always going to be another build-a-bear event, party or movie night.
5. It’s all about the balance
It’s different for everyone, but to truly thrive at college I personally feel I need a good balance between schoolwork, clubs and hanging out with friends. It definitely takes practice, but as the weeks go by, I can feel myself getting better at it. Time management is a skill that college students really have the opportunity to hone. It’s hard to imagine I’ll ever actually have a semester where I won’t be rushing to finish a paper before the deadline or furiously studying for a test the next day, but one can hope.
6. Expanding and deepening my academic interests has never been easier
Even though I vowed to never take another math or science class after high school, the diversity of courses offered at the University was just too enticing — Intro to Programming, here I come! In addition, I appreciate how it’s OK to not know what you want to do in college and to take the time to explore your options in the classroom — although as we all know, SIS doesn’t always make this the easiest task! With the amount of classes at the University, there are so many avenues to take. In just two months I have been able to take interesting, specific classes such as Sociology of Immigration. I look forward to seeing what the next seven semesters will entail!
7. Ramen really is a life-saver
When everyone said ramen would become my best friend in college, they weren’t wrong. For those days when the walk to the dining hall is too much or if it’s closed before I’ve had the chance to eat dinner, it’s comforting to know that a good-ole packet of ramen is always waiting for me in my dorm. Easy to make and relatively tasty, this meal is a go-to. Even better are all the flavors and varieties that ramen comes in — spicy, with vegetables, with meat, and you can get Chinese-, Korean- or Indian-style packets. It’s also a great food to share with friends — just grab a handful of forks and you’re all ready to go. Ramen night, anyone?
8. There are so many fascinating people to meet
With the influx of new people that comes with going to a 21,000-person school, it has certainly been nerve-racking to overcome my introverted tendencies, but it’s always worth it once I do. Just talking to someone for five minutes can reveal so much about them, and oftentimes it’s something I would never expect. In addition, just a few exchanged words can lead to several exciting paths of conversation, and this can be a great mind-stimulator, forcing me to consider new perspectives and ideas. Whether it be cracking jokes or plunging right into a deep talk, I encourage everyone to try talking to someone new everyday — you never know what you might discover!
9. Free food has a new meaning
If an event is advertising free food, just know you will find me there. Anything to get a break from the dining hall food — although it’s surprisingly better than I thought it would be — is welcomed. The food being free is even more of a bonus — especially with the whole broke college student thing. Although the student body may not be able to agree on a lot of things, I know we all can agree that free food may just be the best thing to exist. Someone tell professors to start giving out free food during office hours — I’m sure they’ll find a lot more students showing up!
10. The next four years will truly be unforgettable
I’m sure this list will continue to expand as my years at the University go on, and I’ll take these lessons with me. New people, new classes and new experiences overall seem like the perfect recipe for success. They say that college is the best four years of your life, and while I don’t think I’ve been here long enough to decide that, I certainly see the potential. I can’t wait to see what will happen in the years to come!