We hear things everywhere about what to expect in college. It’s going to be new, exciting, and sometimes scary. The one thing I think we hear the most from those who have walked the college path is the idea that “Your college years will be the best of your life”.
In my opinion, that’s a lie.
My experience in my first semester in college explains why this is the case.
As I was submerged into college life, I went into it expecting that it will immediately be fun and exciting and making ‘forever memories’ and what not. I honestly thought that the experiences would just come to me, that it would always be spontaneous, and no work would have to go into it. Now that I’m in it, that was one of the most naïve things I could have possibly thought of. In all reality, I spent the majority of my first semester in my room, not leaving unless I absolutely had to, for classes and eating or band, and throughout the semester I slowly grew gloomier, wondering why I wasn’t creating memories.
Looking from the outside, let’s all agree that I wasn’t doing my part. If we are being honest, I hated my first semester. But through it I learned something. My crummy first semester was 100% my fault. I was expecting life to come to me.
But this isn’t how it should be. College should be one of the best times of our life. And it can be. You could almost say that the lie isn’t in fact a lie at all… if we were to change one word.
Truth: Your college years CAN be the best of your life.
That one-word difference can change everything. Your college experience is what you make of it. I know that sounds really cliché, but there isn’t any more truth than that. Although God knows what your future holds, your future is affected by the actions you take. So if you just sit there like I did… it’s more than likely that nothing exciting will happen.
So, for those of you finishing out high school and getting ready to approach college, KEEP THIS IN MIND. Believe me, this will be a part in determining whether or not the next few years will be the best of your life. You can’t just wait and let things happen to you. You have to go out and happen to things. I think Leonardo DaVinci said something about that.
With that being said, here are 3 STEPS that can get you closer to making college the best years of your life:
1. Get out of your dorm.
If you are an introvert like me, you know that this is way easier said than done. But get out there on campus. Eat with people in the cafeteria, join a social club or schedule regular coffee shop dates with a friend or a group. It’s even okay if you do things out of the dorm by yourself: Explore your campus. Take pictures. Read a book on a bench. Whatever you end up doing, make it interesting! Setting a little time aside each day to do so will refresh you and make the day a little better.
One thing I like to do is set up my portable hammock and just hang in the trees and listen to music. There are literally hundreds of things you could do outside of those “four white walls.”
2. Get that paper done. NOW.
As crazy as it seems, getting your homework done before playing will actually make your experience better, for a few reasons. If you get it mostly done way in advance, you’ll have a lot more time to make it better and fix your mistakes, raising your grade and lowering your stress and worry levels. You’ll also have a lot more time to play! Getting it out of the way gives you a lot more free time as that due date approaches, as well as allow you to enjoy your free time even more!
Get your homework done. It will make things so much easier! One way to incorporate this into step 1 is to do homework with classmates from the same class, or take it to a bench on campus and get the fresh air (preferably when it’s warmer outside).
3. Build yourself up.
Build up your well-being. Whether that be reading your bible, meditating, sitting in silence, or whatever you do to “re-charge”.
Eat healthy. This sometimes seems nearly impossible with some of the food options at school, but even keeping healthy snacks in your fridge is better than nothing.
Get some sleep… and limit the Netflix. This was painful for me to write, with me being a dedicated fan, but less screen time and more sleep are both things that will keep your body in its best condition.
Even after just one semester of college, I know that these three steps help in creating the ideal experience. However, those of you about to experience college for the first time should know that even when you do a whole bunch of things like this, college will still be hard… if you’re doing it right. There will be challenges, heartbreaks, and road blocks. Especially in the first semester. In the midst of all of this, keep your head up, keep your heart on your sleeve, and embrace the change!
Hailey Canfield is a self-proclaimed introvert, writer, Jesus lover, musician, and coffee addict. She attends a small college in Nebraska as a Health and Society/Human Performance major. There, she can’t get enough of a good book, food, and bad puns. She’s a vocalist/guitarist for the upcoming Nebraska-grown Pop/Funk band So It Seems. The only words that rhyme with her name are Israeli and ukulele. You can find her on her blog, Call of the Wild.