It’s no secret that college is an enormous adjustment. I went through this change a year ago, and I can tell you, it definitely gets easier…but not without a few pointers to help you relax and enjoy your last years before you have to settle for being an adult for the rest of your life:
1. Learn to love your roommate, or don’t
Unless you’re one of the lucky few that has been placed in a single, you’re going to have at least one roommate. Being an only child, this was especially difficult for me, having been so used to a big room to myself as well as the pleasure of not having to look at Star Wars posters on my roommate’s wall. It definitely takes adjusting to. You may think that I’m exaggerating, but unless you’re a glutton for punishment, there’s definitely going to be times when you’ll get angry with your roommate. They’ll eat your food, leave the light on while you’re sleeping, blast heinous music, and probably bring questionable people back to the room. Realizing that the advantages of having a roommate out way the disadvantages is sometimes difficult, but even if you’re two totally different people, it’s a much better idea to compromise than to let your differences ruin the situation. Sure, they might cry hysterically before bed while reading sappy novels, or leave their underwear on the floor, or have the most obnoxious alarm at 730 a.m. But who says you don’t have your quirks too? You might just end the year realizing that you’ve made a great friend, even under the most problematic circumstances. Or you won’t, and then you can always pick someone next year who doesn’t drive you to insanity.
2. Cafeteria Food
First things first: the freshman fifteen is real. Especially if you go to a school where the food is pretty good, and 50% of it is fried. Of course, most food at other colleges is barely edible, so you might not have this problem. But if you do, the best thing you can do is try to mix it up, a burger with fries one day, maybe a salad the next, and never try a specialty food in the dining hall like “Fresh Pad Thai,” because it won’t be good. Seriously. There’s nothing wrong with having a snack here and there, just find a gym where you can work it off. Now, there’s always the problem of eating your weight in food after a night out, but spinoga or power pilates should work that off in no time. Basically, shy away from the foods drenched in grease, take the stairs instead of the elevator, and invest in some light beer. Problem solved.
3. Balancing Schoolwork and Social Life
As exciting as it is to be independent and have your own freedom once you start your college years, it’s also normal to worry that Mom won’t be there to hassle you to get your homework done or study for that History exam. And let’s face it: you won’t want to study. You’ll be more interested in frat parties or staying up late talking to your friends about “important things,” like what you’re going to be for Halloween, even though it’s September. The best thing to do to prevent this inevitable problem is to learn balance. There’s no problem with going out on the weekends, in fact, I advise it. It’s a good way to blow off some steam after the workweek. But, this only counts if you actually did work that week and you feel confident that you have enough time for work and play. If you feel like your social life is wreaking havoc on your schoolwork, then take a couple nights off to catch up on things. It may sound lame, but everyone’s going through it, and most times the smart decision goes a long way.
4. Get Involved
Don’t be that kid who sits in her dorm all day watching Ch131 because she’s not involved in anything outside of her classes. Get involved! When you live on campus, there’s usually always something to do and tons of clubs or teams to get involved with. You may think you’re interested in something very obscure, but chances are there are other people around you who like the same things. If you’ve never played Rugby but you’ve always been interested in the sport, join an intramural team. Even if your passion is something like Improv Comedy or North Korea, I’m sure there’s other people who are interested too. Also, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and develop a passion for something you’ve never done. If you never try, you’ll never know.
5. Enjoy Yourself
If you don’t remember anything else from this article, just remember to enjoy yourself. College is a privilege, not a right, and if you have this opportunity you should take advantage of it. Your four years in college will probably be some of the best years of your life, and definitely your last years to do some crazy partying with out looking like a pathetic adult who’s trying to re-live their “glory days.” College is also a great time to figure out what you want to do with your life, and figure out the kind of person you want to be. You’ll definitely have stressful times during your four years and you may even find yourself feeling lost, but I can honestly tell you that you’ll figure it all out. Just don’t be afraid to spread your wings and take a taste of something new.
University of Missouri - St. Louis
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