Reflections – a student’s first year at FSU

“College will be fun,” they said. Not to say that I do not love or thrive at Florida State University, but it has certainly been a rollercoaster; one of those rollercoasters that makes you shut your eyes and scream but when you get off you say, “Let’s do that again!” A year ago today my mom moved me into my apartment. I cried. A lot. I started classes and was introduced to “going out.” As a disclaimer I “went out” with my friends in high school. To bonfires and baseball games. But when you grow up in a small town, college is a culture shock and “going out” seems to change definitions. I held a job, which I absolutely love. I met a lot of great people and accumulated wonderful mentors. I learned how to cook; quickly I might add. I went to Washington D.C. and made life long friends with members of an organization at Florida State. I started working out in a Crossfit gym; the rumors are true, it is a cult. I travelled to New York City and toured Google. I made unbelievable connections with powerful women worldwide. I went to football games, cried with my roommates, celebrated birthdays, graduations, and test scores. I met my person and we went on to win the Intramural Soccer Championships. I also ate a lot of ice cream. Florida State is a five-hour drive from home. I got homesick quickly. My mom and I lived together for 18 years, my friends were closer to home, I had people to miss. Looking back I wouldn’t trade it for anything, though at the time it seemed impossible and lonely. College was just far enough from home that I was able to drive but I was also “forced” to embrace the wonderful life lessons that college has to offer. Dont have unrealistic expectations I think one of the first things I came to realize about college is to not have expectations. You are not going to be able to nap between classes, homework still exists, and unless you are one of the lucky few, you’re going to have to work. It’s not going to be a constant party and freedom doesn’t come free; your mom might not be the one setting parameters but your body will start to crash eventually. Expect to have fun, but also expect to work hard. It is not much different from high school; in fact, you will have more responsibilities and pressure. Prepare to be uncomfortable “With great power comes great responsibility.” You might be sensing a theme here. What is this “responsibility” everyone is talking about? You may not be comfortable yet with the idea of living on your own and embracing all that college has to offer. I get embarrassed easily. I actually suffer from secondhand embarrassment. If you are unfamiliar with the term, secondhand embarrassment is simply a phenomenon to explain how a person becomes embarrassed by someone else’s mistakes. So that’s fun. You will be pushed out of your comfort zone; but make sure you are picking the correct weaknesses to strengthen. This is not a drinking challenge. I repeat, this is not a drinking challenge. It’s not all about classes; get involved It was not an accident that I failed to mention what college “is about” until now. My classes, while informative and interesting, only consume a small part of my day. I work an average of 30+ hours a week, run an organization, play sports, travel, and manage somehow to always shower and brush my teeth at night. Getting involved and still being able to keep up with school work speaks volumes about a person’s character. After college it will be more about who you know then what you know. Any profession can teach you what you need to know about your future job, things that college classes may never have been able to teach you. If you are solely focused on school, you will not meet the connections required to thrive in after college life. Don’t settle yourself; strive for unconformability I think this ties back to the expectations portion. I personally had unrealistic expectations about college and that forced me to limit myself and my perspective. They always say that you will find the person you marry in college. While that may be true, don’t spent time looking for someone, or settling down because you think it’s the right choice. Don’t settle for you first job offer. Don’t settle for the first no. Don’t settle for disrespect from others; you’re an adult now after all, but remember: respect reciprocates. Go to everything Finally, go to everything you can. I wake up at 5:30 AM every morning; mostly. I go to bed at 10:00 PM every night. But if my roommate asks me if I want to join in on the fun, I don’t say no. When my friend asks if I want to go down to the pool with her right as I am about to take a nap on Saturday at noon, I get up and I go. Chances are you will miss out on a lot of fun. You are only in your 20’s for ten years. Only ten. That is such a short amount of time to be worrying about naps and homework that you are probably just going to procrastinate on later. Go to football games while they are free, and always be open to the people you meet. I cannot stress the power of connections. Bloopers I wanted to make sure I didn’t leave any lessons out. When I asked others (okay if we are being honest “others” is just the same five friends I have grown up with my entire life) what they learned from college I got a few interesting responses. Don’t forget who you are or where you come from. But don’t forget that college will change you, and the more availability you give, the more availability you get. Be receptive to the morals and cultures of others. Snapchat is a dangerous form of revenge; proceed with caution. Learn how to parallel park and drive aggressively but safely. Eating 2-year-old instant mashed potatoes won’t kill you; it might but here we are. Do weird things with your friends, but not so weird that two random girls have to pay for a taxi ride to your apartment. And remember that your worth is not determined by the college you attend. Fiesta like there is no manana. For more info: