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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Looking back, I can see I came into college with that false sense of pride that many freshmen possess.

I was discussing this with my mom over break, she was actually right in telling me that college would be different than what I expected. She warned me that academics would be different and that I would have to be more responsible for myself. I brushed off her advice, completely convinced that I knew what I was doing. Oh, how laughably naïve I was a mere four months ago. I realized there are several valuable lessons I learned by attending one semester of college.

Actually go to class. Possibly the most common piece of advice any college student will receive. The problem is, because it’s so overused, many students brush it off. In high school, there was no option to skip class whenever you wanted. I was going to class just like I should have been. That is until I discovered that it was more fun to stay up until 4 a.m. every night with my hall mates 

I started blowing off my morning classes and my grades started to reflect that. Luckily, I didn’t receive bad grades, but now I have the inevitable checkins from my parents — “Did you go to class today?” I also filled my schedule with classes that take attendance. Now, I won’t be so tempted to just stay in bed or skip to hang out with friends.

It is easy to ignore being healthy. When I was home, I was eating fruits and veggies every day. Combined with mom’s homemade dinners every night meant that I had a pretty balanced diet. Last semester, I discovered that fruits and veggies cost actual money and that I actually have to go out and buy it myself.

I also discovered that through my meal plan, I had wonderful access to Moe’s, Chick-fil-A and Starbucks. Without having a structured meal every day, I was eating junk all the time offset by salads from Croutons. This semester I stocked my fridge with fruit and plan to eat more food that doesn’t come wrapped in paper with a side of fries.

There is nothing like living with friends. When I was a kid, I always thought living next door to my friends would the most amazing living situation I could imagine. Well, now I get to live like that in college. Before my first semester, I was focused on sharing a room and a community bathroom. Now, I only think about whose room my hall mates and I are hanging out in. Sharing a bathroom? No big deal, I got over that very quickly. Sharing a room? Easy, just become best friends with your roommate. Okay, maybe that’s not so easy but it does make life much more fun. I have made some great friends by living in the dorm, and next year I can’t wait to live on-campus again with my roommate and two of our hall mates.

All in all, the lesson here is that listening to mom is definitely worthwhile.

Mom, I have to admit it: You were right.

The first semester of a college is such a rich experience. My entire way of living has changed and I have had to adjust to being responsible for myself. Basically, if I had listened to you then I wouldn’t have had to experience at least one of these lessons. But I’m glad I did. The first semester of college has been one of the best of my life.

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