College 101: Everything I Learned My Freshman Year

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My first year of college is ending and it’s happening much. too. fast. in my opinion.  It feels like I just got here, just took my first public bathroom shower, just attended my first lecture, my first frat party. But at the same time, with the amount I’ve learned, seen and done in the past 8 months, I feel like I’ve been here forever.

My freshman year of college was a complete transition from life at home and as it’s drawing to a close, I realize that the girl taking her last final exam is very different than that girl who called her parents nightly when she first moved in. I’m an older, wiser, drunker more content version of myself, and I have my first year of college to thank for that.

Since I’ll be heading back to the parentals’ pad in a few short weeks, I thought I’d look back on everything I’ve learned during my freshman year. Turns out: I’ve learned a lot.

1. Colleges Aren’t That Giant After All
When you first arrive, your campus seems huge, filled with thousands of strangers that you don’t know, and navigating around it seems to require a GPS device.  After about a month, though, you’ll be zipping around like you’ve been there for years, and everywhere you go, you’ll see people you know.  Sometimes this is not the greatest thing, but I digress.

2. Papers will be the death of you.
Papers in high school were about the same length as papers in college for me, but for some reason, in college they are far more torturous.  For one thing, they are worth so much more of your grade and an afternoon spent in the library trying desperately to pound out the damn thing is more painful than the first time riding a spin bike.  Especially when you have distractions like Facebook, anything happening outside, and the fact that you are SO BORED YOU WANT TO FAKE A HEART ATTACK TO GET OUT OF HANDING IN THAT EFFING PAPER.

3. Getting Involved Changes Everything
In my first couple of months at school, my group of friends was really limited to the girls on my hall.  I loved them, but with so many thousands of people milling around, I felt like I should do more. By branching out and joining things like the lacrosse team, the newspaper and our TV station, I made whole new groups of friends that I wouldn’t have met otherwise.

4.  Don’t Go To The Gym at 6 p.m.
Unless you want to wait 30 minutes or more to get on a treadmill.

5.  Go to the library ALONE
That is, if you want to get anything done. If you want to share funny YouTube videos, talk about the other people in the library, or play a couple hundred rounds of Chuck, F*ck, or Marry, go with your friends.

6. Cafeteria + Ethnic Food = Disaster
At our school, the powers that be sometimes think we need to switch it up from what may or may not be pulled pork and English muffins, so they introduce some ethnic choices.  Sometimes this works out. Taco Tuesday, for example, is pretty harmless. But other times, like Indian Night, it’s a hot, unidentifiable mess. And I’m not talking about the bathroom aftermath, though that is also a problem.

7. Sleep Is Important!
With all of the amazing things to do in college (and class), how does one get it all in?  The answer to many (myself included) is to cut sleeping. I spent the entire semester being poked awake in a 10 am class by my friend, and sometimes complete strangers.  Falling asleep in class not only causes you to miss out on important stuff, but it’s humiliating. Especially when there’s drool.

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