Now that I have completed my first year of college, I can say that I have learned a lot about myself, but I can also say that I am extremely proud of the accomplishments I have gained. I’ve learned that it is perfectly fine to change your mind and change it again and again. I came to college with a specific mindset and at first I was very distort with the thought of that idea changing; however, now that I have reached the end of the year, I now know that that change will be for the better and I will be much happier in the end. I made friends that I know I will be around for a long time while also learning the meaning of loyalty and friendship.
If I could talk to myself at the beginning of the year, I would simply say be patient. I would say this because in the beginning I was quick to find answers and didn’t allow the answers to find me and that caused a lot of stress that I encounter. The last thing I would also tell myself is that saying No is much easier than saying Yes. Overall, I wouldn’t change my first year for the world!
As I am sitting here contemplating what to write for my post, I am starting to feel a little bit emotional. As we are coming to the end of our freshman year, I have been in denial. Now, it’s starting to hit me how much I will miss my hallmates and my roommate. At the beginning of the year, I honestly had no idea what to expect. Although my classes were much more difficult first semester, it was definitely easier for me, because life was going great for me. I felt like I’d made so many new friends and I was having so much fun enjoying the full college experience. Second semester was a lot more challenging. College is such an incredible experience, but coming into it you don’t realize that it will test and challenge you in so many ways other than academically. Second semester, I took easier classes but life has thrown me a few curve balls. Right when the semester started, I really started to struggle with a lot of difficult and confusing questions about my faith, which I had never really done before. My faith is one of my defining identities and, during first semester, I was used to leaning on it for comfort and joy. So, when I started going through this period of doubt, I was always feeling conflicted and I no longer felt that comfort and joy, which was difficult. However, the questions I had were very important for me to be asking, and eventually I found peace in my answers. Looking back, I am thankful for this period of doubt because I grew so much in that identity of mine. Something that has also been heavy on my heart is my grandma, who is going to pass away soon from cancer (sorry this is like the most depressing blog post ever). I consider myself to be a very optimistic, happy person but in the past couple of weeks I have felt very sad and low for my grandma and family. I have noticed myself holding all of these feelings in. However, I am overcoming this challenge in baby steps, realizing that I need to be more open with my friends about what I’m going through, and to allow myself to also feel happiness and joy.
College is the first time that I have really had to figure out how to juggle all aspects of my life- school, friends, family life, SLEEP SCHEDULE, exercise, my diet- and in some of those categories (diet especially) I have failed miserably, but that is all a part of the experience. Overall, I have had so many high points and low points, and I wouldn’t trade any of them for anything, because they are making me who I am. I know everyone says it, but I have really grown up so much since I first walked through the doors on move-in day — in a good way :).
I thought I was so grown up pulling up to campus with my high hopes and dreams and what I thought was my brainiac of a mind and though I was so nervous, I was so excited to see what this school had to offer me. Since then I have learned a lot about myself, what my future career holds, and about the world. I can now look back and think wow I was so naive, but one thing that remains unwavering is the passion and drive that I have.
My expectations were high, I was going to be a biochemistry major, I was going to get all A’s, I was going to make tons of new friends, and I swear I felt like I was about to take on the world. Well one thing about that list is true, I made a lot of friends and that is one thing I am grateful for.
I learned biochem is hard! I hate chemistry! It is not like high school chemistry at all, which I am not sure why I would ever expect it to be, but something about how all these atoms make up everything but you can’t even see them is just hard for me to conceptualize. And there’s more: there are even SMALLER particles that make up an atom! And if that is not bad enough, you have to take through calc III just incase you would not hate your life enough. I wanted to do biochem because I heard it is extremely impressive for medical schools, and now I understand why because it takes a genius and someone with a death wish to pursue a degree in biochemistry. Then I found out that medical schools do not even care what you major in as long as you take the prerequisites to do well on the MCAT and oh man did that save my life. I have decided to major in biopsychology, cognition, and neuroscience as well as a minor in gender and health and it feels so good to be intrigued and studying on my own time because I am interested in what I am learning instead of crying in my room about pi and sigma bonds and how apparently they have these imaginary anti bonds.
That leads me to my next point, C’s really do get degrees. Just because high school was ridiculously easy for me and I was able to slack off does not mean I can actually try my best and get an A. Sometimes your very best is a B or even a C and that is okay! It does not feel great, I am not going to lie but once I realized that I am trying as hard as I can I am still getting the most I can out of that class and that is all I can expect of myself.
The last thing I learned was take time to relax. It is so easy to get overwhelmed with stress and to do nothing but study and homework, but it is SOOO important to still take care of myself. Time went by so fast so if I am studying for 5 hours straight, do not be afraid to take a break and run or hang out with my friends. I will never get this time back in my life so I need to not just do well in school, but make incredible memories and amazing friends. They say these are the best years of our lives, but if my nose is always stuck in a textbook I won’t be able to experience the beautiful campus and lively people that I am surrounded with.
Looking back on my freshman year, I can truly say that it was a solid start to my college career. Was it the best? Absolutely not. There were a couple of things that I would do differently to enhance my academics and just my overall experience. Starting with academics, there were so many times when I could have gotten a better grade on a paper, quiz, or exam. In high school, I really didn’t have to study to earn an A; but in college, that is a totally different ball game. You have to really put in hard work to earn an A in college. And I just wish that coming to college I had the discipline to earn a higher grade on a paper, quiz, or exam. Although I did not do horrible in my classes, I just feel like I could have done more. I could’ve spent more time in the library, rather than taking a nap every time I had free time. Classes that I could have earned an A in, were missed opportunities because I lacked strong discipline.
Another thing I would do differently is started to exercise more. I played volleyball for 6 years, and I stopped when I came to college. I was already getting my exercise in when I practiced two-three days out of the week, and then tournaments on the weekend. Now that I am in college, and I am not playing a sport, I needed to find some way of exercising. My stamina was super low causing me to be tired all the time. My eating habits were not the best either. Luckily I adjusted this issue at the start of winter term. I bought an unlimited groupX pass at the CCRB, and I started to regularly attend the workout sessions they provided. I also started to eat healthier snacks, and stop ordering out as much. As a result, I felt a lot better, and I was taking less naps. I think if I would have realized that my eating habits and stamina were affecting my academics early on, then I would have done a lot better!
Like I said, I didn’t have a terrible first year. It can only go up from here because this is just the beginning.
After making it through my first year I learned many things about myself as a person and life here at the University of Michigan. In the end of it all I really don’t regret anything that I did over the course of the year. Things happen for a reason and you just got to move on, cause whats done is done and there is nothing you can do about it. Over the course of the year, I struggled with keeping my grades up and really just learning what it means to be a Michigan student. I wouldn’t study as often as I should and I paid the price for it. I learned that you cannot please everyone and you sometimes have to drop things for your well being and health. If I could go back and tell you beginning freshman self anything, it would be to not take linguistics and to probably join more student orgs. But, like I said, I really have no regrets of what I did. I am satisfied with my first year, and I would totally do it again.
I remember getting ready to come to college and everybody saying, “You’re going to change so much during your first year of college.” And I remember buying into that, and anticipating the changes that would happen to me over the next 8 months. Well, sike, they were all lying. You’re gonna come to college, you’re gonna meet some friends and go to class and eat food and generally do all of the same things you did in high school. So don’t get your hopes up, because college is basically high school but now you have to call your dad rather than go down to the office and talk to him. But despite the fact that, overall, life isn’t that much different, there are a few things I think you should know.
- Get ready to not be the top of your class anymore. And get ready to be ok with that. You don’t need to be number 1 to be successful and go on to grad school.
- Speaking of grad school, drop the surgeon plan, that’s just flat out a bad idea and solely based on Grey’s Anatomy.
- Eat less cereal and more fruit.
- Come out of the closet, it’s a good time.
- Don’t walk through the Arb at night with Dilara and Daniel. It’ll do bad things for your heart rate.
- Appreciate every second you spend here at college, even when you’re considering transferring because this place can be terrifying. You only get to experience it once.
- Take care of yourself. Love yourself. Be happy with yourself.
It’s been real umich.
This year has been an amazing journey for me. I definitely learned a lot more than I could have ever imagined in my first year of college. I remember at the beginning of the year being so scared for college and any screw-ups I may have during my freshman year will irreversibly ruin my life forever. I convinced myself that I would inevitably fail all of my classes if I pursued extracurricular organizations that I was interested in with the addition of school and my job. This idea made me very nervous and hesitant to break out of my shell and pursue my passions.
If I could travel back in time and talk to myself at the beginning of the year, I would definitely tell myself not to worry and that I will be able to make time for everything that I love. In fact, if I had gone out of my shell and joined a club that I was interested in, I would’ve been much less nervous and stressed because I would have an outlet. It’s important not to let fear get in the way of your passions.
College was my biggest challenge this year. I suppose I can say I overcame freshman year but I still have a few exams left so its not really over yet. I’m still alive so I guess that counts for something considering how many times I really thought I wasn’t going to make it through this year.
Honestly, I don’t know what I would tell my past self. I don’t even know what to tell myself now. I guess I would say that its ok to take care of myself. It’s ok to be selfish and take time for myself to make sure I am ok. Its ok to be who I am and not who people think I am.
People love to say that college is where you find who you are but they don’t tell you how much time you spend being lost, being who you are not. I think the most important thing I would tell myself its that college is going to be extremely hard, probably the hardest thing I’ve ever encountered. But, there will be a lot of fun, happy moments and it is imperative to survival to enjoy every second of those moments. There will be a lot of times that I consider dropping out but my value and my worth is not in that essay or that exam so its nothing to lose all hope over.
The most important thing I learned is that its ok to ask for help. Because sometimes, “you think you want to die, but really you just want to be saved.” Many people have helped save me this year so its not even close to being the end for me. Its only the beginning.
This is what I would tell myself if I traveled back to the first days of moving in before freshmen year began. It would be in a handwritten letter, on white card stock with a fresh new black sharpie with a poorly drawn flower on the back of it:
so you have already completed a summer =semester at the big U of M. It was really fun and great and satisfying. You really believe that these next two semesters are going to be just as awesome. Well do I have some news for you.
That will not be the case at all. You are going to be very insecure, lonely sometimes, and turn into quite the hermit. These semesters will not have as many grand tiny genuine moments, those moments you love. You will not have as much fun as you once thought you would be having. You will be incredibly uninspired with the classes you take and question very heavily the choice of coming to college. And your cool neighbor plays the ukulele really well. This is a true story.
You know, what you see isn’t always the truth (you will see the greatness that that came from later), but it will end eventually. This does not last forever. Summer will come soon enough and let me tell you, it will feel quite great when you return to Grand Rapids listening to Lana Del Rey’s newest song release. You really want to quit. But it is not the worst. So I guess stick it out for now.
Things always work out.
I am you but stronger.”
And that is what I would tell myself if I were to be able to travel back to the beginning of freshmen year.
Just so you know,
Things are going to change. A lot. You can’t predict what you will feel or how you should react. You can’t predict how your first year is going to play out-so don’t try to. But, here are a few tips. Switch out of that 8:30 lab while you have the chance (you are not actually a morning person despite what you like to believe). Go with the flow! Getting sleep will help with this. Actually, get more sleep than you think you need, and don’t listen to your friends who make fun of you for sleeping in until 1:30pm because you’ll need it! Also, try not to get addicted to coffee. Always keep food in your backpack and find pretty places to study. Laugh until you cry with your friends in the private dining section of MoJo, but also know that it’s okay to cry even if it’s not from laughter (spoiler alert: college is stressful!) Realize that things that were normal at your high school may seem really fucking weird to your new friends, and vice versa, but don’t change yourself for anyone. Ever. Be organized, but don’t be discouraged if you feel like your life is a little scattered from time to time. Sure, plan your days, but not your whole year. Plan to make check lists and small obtainable goals, plan to call your mom and dad, plan to find time for yourself, to read and to dance and to take an hour long shower if you want to, plan to walk everywhere so make a good few playlists, and plan to be a good, kind, and honest person. These things are important. Chances are, if you can’t control something directly you shouldn’t try to. In the long run, it won’t be worth it, and you’ll realize that everything has a way of working itself out.