I read those to no end in the weeks and months prior to my moving on campus.
As I reread some of them now, I chuckle && find myself thinking, "Well that's sort of true...half of this list applies to me...how come nobody says anything about ______?"
So I decided that writing my own random list would be better.
Not all of these will be true for everyone in every school.
A more accurate title for this post would be
"Lessons Learned by an Academically Driven Introverted Middle Class
White Girl Attending a Small Liberal Arts University in a Small Town
in the Middle of Nowhere, Michigan Studying Social Work and
Participating in the Honors Program: Listed in No Particular Order"
but let's be real, that's kind of wordy...
This is for all of you high school friends graduating this year or in the near future,
for you family members && family friends wondering what I'm learning besides academic mumbo-jumbo(:
THINGS I'VE LEARNED//STUFF TO KNOW:
- everyone else is as awkward and insecure as you are. don't even try to cover it up, embrace it and laugh about it. you're all in the same boat.
- your grades first semester kind of actually do matter. and gen eds can be hard sometimes. so plan on putting forth some effort. after all, you're living at school to go to school.
- going in blind for a roommate sounds really scary, but it's not. DO IT! you won't regret it. you and your roommate don't get along? there are other people in the same situation on campus. you can switch, or you tough it out. either way you learn a lot.
- there are people all around campus that genuinely want to pour into your life. let them.
- the more honest you are with people, the more honest they will be with you. this applies to friendships, professors, and just about anyone you will meet.
- GO. TO. CLASS. it's the only way you're going to get information.
- SKIP CLASS. not all of the time. not all or any of your classes. but sometimes you desperately need a mental health day. choose those skips wisely, know the absence policy, get notes from someone else, but skipping once will not kill you.
- sleep is kind of really important. like. *really* important. you think you know this now, but you will forget.
- the food you had on your visit day is a treat. sorry, the dining commons aren't always that nice. pretty soon you'll be able to tell when there are visiting underclassmen on campus within about three seconds of seeing what's for dinner.
- ^^^however, there is more than just pizza and hamburgers. you just have to know where to look.
- you have more freedom now than you ever have before. it's a beautiful thing, but don't abuse it. just because you can, doesn't mean you should.
- you're going to lose touch with some people from high school. you'll find out who you really need in your life and who was just there for a season.
- there will always be people smarter than you. this is a fact. get over it.
- ^^this doesn't mean that you're not smart.
- find ways to give back on campus. profs in your major have all sorts of ideas and volunteer opportunities. [I'm an assistant in the CASE program for high functioning kids with autism; it's a hoot and you're gaining skills.]
- i hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there's still going to be drama. different drama, but still drama.
- ring by spring is a thing. all of a sudden it's april and everyone starts getting engaged!!
- you will have friends of the opposite gender and people will try to convince you to date. don't make it awkward, enjoy their friendship.
- no matter how confining it tends to feel, there will be things about your hometown that you miss more than anything else.
- other people will find these hometown oddities ^^ absolutely HYSTERICAL. some of my friends are making a road trip to Holland for Tulip Time. Me? I'm staying at school. Too many tourists. But I look forward to getting their perspective.
- you will not get along flawlessly with your roommate every second of every day. you will fight about weird things. Example: the pronunciation of words like "bagel" and "vague." (Yes, that happened.)
- textbook swaps are a beautiful thing. ain't nobody got the money for brand new books!
- there will be "those people" in every class that you want to strangle. some of them are the teacher's pets, some of them are the ones chronically late. don't kill them, it's usually frowned upon.
- if you're not comfortable with your floor knowing what you're venting about, vent quietly and to someone that doesn't live on campus.
- there will be really random things that you need to call home for. laugh about them.
- you're going to meet a crap ton of people during orientation. you're not going to remember half of their names, and if you've got one or two people that remember yours you're doing well.
- be yourself from day one. there's nothing more frustrating than putting the effort into getting to know someone, only to find out that they're nothing like they were the first week.
- SCHOLARSHIPS. APPLY FOR ALL THE SCHOLARSHIPS.
- find those people you can be brutally honest with. don't go pouring out your life story to anyone, but you're going to need those people and the only way to forge those kind of friendships is being vulnerable.
- weird traditions are okay. we have 'cheese tuesdays.' only they're rarely actually on tuesdays anymore. but a few of us get together and eat lots of (semi)expensive cheese and watch random stuff on youtube and laugh and just spend time together.
- the people who observe your weird traditions are usually just jealous; offer people cheese and all sorts of fun conversations take place!
- not all people who go to church are 'good people;' not all 'good people' go to church.
- everyone is at different stages. yes, you're all moving into school. some people are too mature for their own good. some people have absolute zero maturity. try to maintain some middle ground.
- the first week will feel like church camp. you'll blink and you've already fallen into a routine. it doesn't take long for school to feel like home.
- you blink again and OH GOOD LORD IT'S FINALS WEEK.
- finals week is scary. actually it's terrifying! but it's also 100% survivable.
- on occasion, you will find yourself doing things you swore you'd never do. this isn't always bad. but don't compromise what you know you believe.
- oftentimes the people giving you tough love are the people that really care about you the most. you're allowed to hate them, but also thank them when you realize that they've been right all along.
- when in doubt, laugh at yourself. because, let's be honest, the level of awkward and random things you do is going to be ridiculous. so make mistakes, laugh at them, learn from them, and move on.