Lessons Learned in my First Semester of College

With the holidays just in the rear view mirror, and school starting back up for all you youngsters, I figured I’d give you all a simple introduction to myself, and a short list of things I’ve learned in my first semester of college. So, no need for elaborate summary, let’s dive right into it.

Howdy! I’m Rou, a freshman attending college in Oklahoma (no, not that school. Not that one either.), and I’m studying Public Communication & Leadership. I really wish I could tell you what jobs this degree is good for, but going solely off the title, it sounds like a major for people who really, really, really, want to speak good (and do other stuff good, too). All jokes aside, my first semester was a rather interesting one. I think there’s definitely some things I’ve experienced that are worth sharing, and hopefully it can help you someday.

First of all, when enrolling in classes for your first semester, LOOK YOUR PROFESSORS UP. This is a pretty often overlooked thing to do, but it can really help in the end. For example, my first semester, I had 5 classes. Of these classes, I decided to go with professors who had good ratings on Rate My Professor. There was one class I only had one option on though. All other sections were taken, so I had to take a class that was taught by a professor who had pretty poor ratings. I use the word taught very loosely there, as this professor didn’t really do much teaching at all. This isn’t all her fault, she was fixin’ to have a baby any day, and I’m sure teaching a bunch of freshman when you’re practically in labor isn’t very fun. Nonetheless, this brings me to my next point.

Second, don’t take math. I promise, you’re not ready for College Algebra. I took a class in high school that was supposed to count as college credit, but alas, it didn’t exempt me from it. So, figuring it’d be easy since I made a 98 in that high school class my senior year, I enrolled in College Algebra my first semester at college. IT WAS A MISTAKE. Not only was I taught by a professor who should’ve been in a hospital rather than a classroom, but I kept an average of about a 40 on test scores. The stuff we were taught was insanely hard, and it just wasn’t manageable with all my other classes. Having 100 problems for homework due the next class just isn’t possible when you already have tests to study for, and reports to write. All-in-all, I’d recommend you either CLEP test out of math, or take it your Senior year, when you don’t have a lot of classes to take.

Third, really try to make friends. If you’re anything like me, you never really had many friends. The ones you do have all live states away from you, and you all meet up every night on Skype, group calling until three in the morning. Coming to college, I figured making friends was easy. I was lucky enough to come up here with my girlfriend, my high-school-sweetheart, my partner in crime, whatever you want to call her. I call her Chandler. Mmm, she likes it when I call her Chandler. What the Hell is wrong with me? Anyways, I came up to college with my girlfriend, and I expected people would just come up and want to be friends with me. Nope. No. Not even close. I was wrong. Who would’ve thought you had to try to make friends? It’s stupid, they should all just approach me, begging me to hang out with them. Needless to say, I was shocked when this didn’t happen. So, in the last few weeks of the semester, I decided I had waited on people long enough, and went begging people to be my friend. Well, that worked, and now I have a solid group of 5 people who I consider to be good friends. All this goes to say, go out there, go to social events, sit with random people at meals, go talk to the nerdy dweeb who is sitting alone in a class of 100 people. Go out there, and don’t have expectations. Some of the greatest friends I have are people I have literally nothing in common with.

Fourth, just because you don’t have a late curfew, doesn’t mean you should stay out super late. On my campus, freshmen have a curfew of midnight on weekdays, and 01:00 on weekends. As tempting as that is, you don’t want to have that mad dash back to campus before doors are locked, and you can’t get in. I’m guilty of staying out rather late on most nights, and getting back just minutes before the dorm entrance locks. As fun as staying out late is, it’s not worth it. Remember that 8:00am class you have? Good luck getting there on time, if you do go at all. Save that crap for Friday and Saturday. Get all your partying and driving around listening to Car Radio on repeat done on the weekends. Someone is paying a SHIT TON of money for you to be at college. Maybe you’re paying. Maybe it’s student loans. One of these days, that “party hard” shit is going to catch up to you, and it fucking sucks when it does. Essentially, don’t stay out too late, don’t waste all your time partying when you should be studying. And DEFINITELY don’t skip classes. I understand a few here or there, take some mental health days, that’s fine, but don’t waste away a class you’re paying thousands of dollars for. If the class is pointless, then cool, drop it and add a class that isn’t pointless. There’s no reason to waste your time or money on something if you’re just going to stay out late and party your way through college.

Fifth, and something I’ve just recently started paying attention to, don’t let yourself go. School is hard, whether it’s high school, college, grad school, all school is hard. Hell, even middle school can be stressful. So, instead of letting yourself go, keep yourself in check. I gained a ton of weight during high school, and I’m finally deciding to do something about it in College. Physical health greatly impacts mental health. So, if you’re like me, and you’ve noticed your old clothes don’t fit, walking to classes across campus is making you sweat, and you find yourself eating significantly more often than normal, then try to make a change. I’ve recently started changing my diet, and beginning to exercise. I’ve noticed a lot of issues in my mental health could be fixed, or at least improved, by making my physical health better. So please, don’t let yourself fall into the same trap I did. Don’t make excuses, make progress. Hell, what better time to do it than in College? Most campuses have free gyms, and if not, some gyms give student discounts. So go out there, and achieve that goal you’ve set. Become the person you want to be. Don’t do it for other people, don’t do it because you’ve been pressured to, do it because you know it’s what you want and need. Nothing is more rewarding than looking at yourself, and seeing how far you’ve come.

Thank you all for reading my ramblings. If you like what you see, feel free to see some of my other work over at Console Crazy on YouTube. I’d love to hear what you all think about my list here, maybe you have some experiences you want to share, or maybe you hated every word I typed, and you wanted to let me know. Either way, I’d love to talk to you all! Thank you all very much for reading this, and I hope you all have a wonderful day.

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