Things I’ve learned in my freshman year of college

Buying or renting books from the school bookstore is a bad idea. Almost all the books that I needed could’ve been purchased or rented elsewhere for so much less than they cost at Barnes & Noble. Also, it seems to be a really good idea to wait until classes start to figure out which books and access codes will actually be necessary.

It’s really easy to gain weight. In high school, I stayed in good shape thanks to sports, but since I got to college, I haven’t had the motivation to go to the rec nearly as often as I should. It’s a lot harder to go work out when it’s completely voluntary, rather than having a mandatory practice schedule laid out. That, combined with the late night snacking that’s become habitual for me (thanks to my night-owl sleep schedule that’s resulted from no morning classes all year) has led me to put on a couple of pounds.

Class really isn’t optional. Most of my professors have taken attendance (and usually it’s been counted as a grade), but even in the classes where attendance is “optional”, not going would mean missing out on important info for exams. An exam I took recently actually included a question that was completely irrelevant to the course itself, but it was something that our professor mentioned several times in class, so all of us who actually took the time to show up had a leg up on those who didn’t.

Studying also isn’t optional. I can count on one hand the number of times I ever studied in high school, and I had hoped that college would be the same way. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

College is hard.

Watching Netflix instead of studying is a terrible idea. It’s also a great idea. Priorities.

Rarely leaving my room didn’t help much with making friends. In fact, it wasn’t until near the end of my first semester that I even talked to several of the people on my floor. (And actually, I still don’t know the names of a majority of the people I’ve been living down the hall from since August. Oops.)

My academic advisor, unlike the guidance counselors I had in high school, is so nice and helpful. In high school, sometimes it was like pulling teeth to get the guidance counselors to help us (and be nice about it). But here, my academic advisor emails me back within minutes, answers all my questions, and is generally just very sweet. Since guidance counselors and academic advisors seem to have similar job roles, I didn’t expect such a stark difference between my experiences with them.

Taking A.P. classes in high school was one of my best decisions ever. Knocking out a couple of classes before college even started is allowing me to schedule before a majority of my class, and I’m hoping that it’ll end up saving me some money in the long run, since I won’t have to pay to take those classes here.

I really don’t care about a lot of my old classmates. There are, of course, several people that I like and talk to (even if it’s just occasionally), but for the most part, I don’t care if I ever see most of my high school classmates ever again. Everyone always said that’s how it would be, but I didn’t believe it until I got here and realized how true it is for me.

I learned to like coffee, but I also learned that I can’t drink it. My first real experience with coffee (I’d tried a sip once or twice before, but never liked it) came after I stayed up ‘til four AM the night before an exam. I was in desperate need of a boost to get me through the day, so I decided to give coffee a shot. After all, everyone talks about its magical abilities to wake one up and increase concentration! Unfortunately, that hasn’t been my experience. Instead, when I drink coffee, I get jittery and start to shake, my head starts hurting, and I’m more tired than I was before I consumed the caffeine. So even though I’ve learned to like coffee, and I sometimes have random cravings for it, I’ve learned that consuming it only hurts me.

My room is a terrible place to study. It’s almost impossible to study in my room (especially if I’m sitting in bed). If I really need to get something done, I have to go to the library.

Going to get lunch between 11 and 1 usually means standing in line forever. Except on Fridays, because campus is pretty much dead on Fridays.

No matter how much Lysol and hand sanitizer I use, I’m still going to get sick. I can wipe down everything in my room with Clorox wipes, spray Lysol everywhere, and sanitize or wash my hands several times a day, but none of that matters—I’m still going to end up sick.

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