One Down! // Things I Learned my First Semester of College

Sadness. Anger. Joy. (
 But it’s okay, because we’re done. Guys, we made it. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt so satisfied in the completion of something long(ish)-term.

I know I’ve heard countless remarks about this from my friends… but let’s be real. This semester wasn’t just about academics. Hell, I learned way more outside of the classroom than I did in it, but even there I learned more in a shorter amount of time than I ever did in high school.

Point is, there has been a lot of knowledge acquired. And to all those who are thinking about university or heading off to college really soon, I just thought I’d share with you some of the learning curves, the pitfalls, the joys, the tragedies, and the truths of living through your first semester.

You didn’t need to pack 3+ pairs of heels. 

The whole semester, I toggled between flip flops, tennis shoes, converse, those work-boot things, rubber-soled booties, and slippers. Sure, I wore a pair of heels to be professional in for presentations, but I kicked that shit off the minute I was seated and finished with my business for a particular class. For one, I don’t recommend biking in heels, and secondly, with the hills and steps that exist on my campus… there is no way you want to wear heels for 5 hours straight.

Studying is a thing. 
I’m gonna be honest here… I didn’t really study all that much in high school, which was both a blessing and a curse. Blessing cuz I was able to sleep more hours, curse because I never really developed solid study skills. Also part of this thing I learned in college– studying in your dorm when you’re surrounded by personal distractions is not good. I found going to the library, shutting my phone off/putting it on silent and throwing on some classical music in the background was reallllly beneficial when I needed to actually get work done this semester.

Halloween gets hella slutty. 
Just one of those things. I of course probably have no leg to stand on because I went as a feline but if for no other reason than I didn’t want to wear a hot and sweaty horse mask all night and I didn’t have any other real options because I kinda procrastinated like hell on a costume. But there is cleavage and fishnet everywhere. Just a heads up.

You don’t need Starbucks every day. Or every week even. 
Make your own coffee with your suite-mate’s Keurig. Get some at the dining hall, or opt for a cheaper option from a convenience store or Dunkin. You’ve got more expensive crucial things to spend your money on. Like textbooks. Speaking of textbooks….

You will open some of those suckers max THREE TIMES. 
Honestly wish I’d known if some textbooks were actually gonna be used because I spent waaaaaaaaaay too much on my German one, whose online code was way overpriced for what I think was really shitty software. So just ask around, or ask the professor, if you can get by without one /share with someone. If there’s no way getting around it, I recommend NOT wasting your money and renting from Amazon, Chegg, or even buying from Thriftbooks.com. Because let’s be real, when are you gonna open up that textbook again and read it for leisure?

You will lose motivation to stay on top of your fitness. 
My first couple weeks, I got up early in the morning to run across/around campus at 7:00am and was ready for class by 9:00am. Five weeks later, I was barely able to wake up on time and get my butt to class. So I adjusted my running schedule to the night times after one of my classes, which worked for a good week or two. Sure, assignments get in the way and you get lost “doing you”… but finding the time to take a break for physical exercise… even just once a week, is super important. Even if it means doing simple planks, jumping jacks, and squats in your room as you’ve got The Office playing on your computer.

…You also may or may not find dry shampoo to be your savior. 
Sometimes I’d go a few days and realize “WOW I totally forgot to shower”.  Yeah, it happens. Stay on top of that, and take the time to enjoy the hot water running over you and just relax for a bit.

Getting off campus every once in a while is good for your sanity. 
Find the good local coffee shops downtown. I did and ended up going there for their amazing home-made pumpkin spice lattes. There’s also a place downtown that lets you pet kitties for free, and is basically a cat shelter that lets its cats roam freely over the interior. It’s actually heaven.

Dealing with drunk people can be  really annoying, but also super hilarious. 
I honestly may have seen it all. The exceptionally sad drunk, the unbelievably goofy wear-bras-like-they’re-yarmulkes drunk, the blatantly ass-holey drunk, and the too tired to move drunk. All required… different approaches, but hey– they made it through, and got home okay, and at the end of the day isn’t that all you can ask for?

Your syllabus is your bible. 
I was a dummy and missed 3 online quizzes because I didn’t treat it as such. Print it out, highlight that shit, and HANG IT ON YOUR WALL. It’ll save you, I promise.

Binging on all your from-home comfort snacks within the first three weeks is not a good idea. 
Especially because when it’s finals time and you’re craving them super hard… it’s hard to eat something you no longer have 😭

Taking a break from computers and phones will save your neck and back. 
Finals week was in part so stressful because of the pain in my neck i got from bending over to look at a screen so much.  Lay down, do some stretches, use your actual eye muscles to look directly at things. It’ll help tremendously.

I know I will add onto this post in the near future because there are things I know I’m leaving out… but I hope this helps for now, and if you have any other college hacks or just useful info you feel like sharing, please don’t hesitate to do so!

xoxo

~steph

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