In the movies college is portrayed as this amazing place, where the main characters rarely have classes and most of their day is spent lounging or socializing. I realized now how incorrect it was of me to base my vision of college off of Sydney White, Pitch Perfect, and even Legally Blonde. College is chaotic, crazy, stressful, but most of all a place to learn about yourself. The one thing those movies got correctly was how fast they end. In the span of about 90 minutes, movies can convey a whole world; and looking back now, I could recap my freshman year in about 90 minutes. In the blink of an eye I went from a scared PNM to now an independent incoming sophomore. You might not relate to my experience, but I hope you take away one of these message: time flies, mistakes happen, and you find out who you are.
Time Flies: In the moment there feels like you have too much time on your hands or you don't have enough. Homework, involvement, sorority activities, sleeping, eating, working out, and focusing on mental health is a huge plate to carry. Let me paint you a quick picture: I joined my sorority, applied to millions of things (thinking I needed too - which you don't!!), got accepted into a few, kept applying (why did I??), and finally got to the point I couldn't find time to balance everything on that big plate I mentioned earlier. I would wake up go to my 9 am class, go to library, head to my 11:45am class, talk with my professor, and then head to my third class around 2pm/3pm. Although the classes were spaced out, my extracurriculars filled all of that time. If I wasn't in class I was giving a tour, working at my internship, doing homework, having meetings, doing my to do's for my Panhellenic involvement, working on the student radio, and much more. I remember I would dread the week starting, but because of doing so much the time flew before I knew it, it was the next weekend. No matter what you get involved in, your first year on campus will pass before you know it. Remember to take time for yourself, because in the end it is your year.
Mistakes Happen: Definitely. There is absolutely no way to learn, unless you mess up. I joined clubs or got positions, I quickly realized brought me absolutely no joy. I learned that there are organizations some think you need to be a part of but you don't have to be! I also took a psychology class thinking I would become an FBI Agent in the BAU (shout of Criminal Minds). That was a mistake, not that I did bad in the class, I actually got an A, but it was a mistake because I knew I was terrible at theories and still took the class. Yet, I learned that I didn't want to be a STEM major. Did I ever miss a class? No. Have I ever been late to a meeting, class, or sports game I was working? Yes, I totally made the mistake to not put everything on my calander. But again, I learned to organize my time.
You find out who you are: I used to describe myself as an overachiever involved in everything in high school, which is why I think I tried to live up to that title in college. I am now proud to say I have absolutely no idea who I am, except for the fact that I love food, sleeping, working out, and doing things that make me feel fulfilled (like hanging out with my friends). None of the things I define myself by now are extracurricular involvements. I found out I can be the same successful individual I was in high school while showing my personality. I can find out what I actually want to do vs. what I thought I was supposed to do. I don't have to or need to live up to these false expectations people put on me. A year from now I bet I will be someone totally different and that is perfect. The four years you are at this University are four years you will learn all the time and who you are is going to continually grow and develop.
Starting your next year in school, no matter where you are, remind yourself of the reality of college. It is scary or at least it was until I learned that it is okay to make mistakes (it's encouraged actually), that time flies which can be stressful (but you have the power to slow it down), and listen to yourself (in class, involvement, in dreams, literally anywhere). The best part of college, that I am excited about, is that I can wholeheartedly state that I would not be where I am today without it. I honestly cannot wait for fall because I have absolutely no idea what is going to come next.