“For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”
— Isaiah 41:13
And it went just like that. My first year of college went by so quickly, and I am convinced that the rest of my college years will go even faster! I am so fortunate to say that I had a fantastic and amazing first year of college!! It was everything that I wanted it to be like. If I could describe my first year of college in a couple of words they would be:
exciting, fun, stressful, overwhelming, new, adventurous, and freeing!
So, after cleaning and packing up my dorm, saying goodbye to my amazing roommates, and moving back home, I got some time to think about my year and try to digest everything. My mental list of “things I learned” kept growing so I thought it is a good time to write them down.
+ God is faithful.
This one had to be the first one! 🙂 I have been reminded of this truth in so many different situations and I needed to hear it so badly. Even though it is just three words, it is a promise and truth that always comforts me and makes me want to grab onto God more!
+ Enjoy the freedom & have fun!
Once I moved out of my house and onto campus it hit me that all (if not, most) of the 168 hours of the week for the rest of the school year is my time to decide what to do. I put a lot of pressure of myself, especially in my academics so I forget that I can go and have fun. Choosing to take a fun study break, a night out to do something new, to relax, or be with friends made such a difference in my college experience.
+ Time management is not easy so find a system that works & stay disciplined! (Priorities, priorities, priorities!)
I found a system that worked for me: record everything I am going to do for the week, literally. (I have mostly everything written down to the hour.) It took a while for me to begin it but once I figured it out it helped me so much to manage my time! I found what worked and stuck with it!
+ I may never be ready.
As a newbie on the college campus, I thought I should not “go all out” or jump for the big roles on campus because I was “not ready”. It makes sense that I would think this way but it just limited myself to the opportunities out there for me. I may never be ready to make a big decision, to start a new relationship, or graduate from college but using discernment and getting guidance will help me so much in the process.
+ Bless and love other people. (Yes, be intentional.)
The first two people I think about when blessing and loving people on campus are my roommates because I see them everyday! 🙂 I am so fortunate to have had two amazing roommates through random assignment. I ENJOYED living with them both–seriously! 🙂 I learned that it helps a lot when I took the time to learn about my roommates! We figured out what worked out collectively, and then over time through conversations and doing things together I learned so much about them. I was able to love them by doing what they enjoyed and doing what made them happy/feel loved! At the same time, it is important to allow other people to get to know me–the real me! 🙂
+ Make sure to eat & do not be consumed with the Freshman-15!
Alright so most of my days was scheduled from 8 AM to 9 PM. I had to make sure I ate my three meals! There were times I did not eat dinner because I lost track of time in the library… Remembering to eat and to eat a well-balanced diet is crucial! Also, the Freshman-15 can be a big deal for first year students so students may watch their food intake and weight more closely. I get it but do not be focused on it so much. I knew I was going to gain weight my first year, and I found to be content with my size. My weight–a number or how I look like–does not define who I am or prove my worth because I know that my identity and worth is found in God!
In addition, listening to what your body needs whether that is food or sleep is important also. Multiple times after classes I would go straight to my dorm and take a nap because it was something my body needed. (I probably looked like a zombie walking back to my dorm!) Yes, getting homework done, studying, being there for a friend/family are all important things but if I am lacking in an area in my life that is preventing me from being the best that I can be, then I have to make sure I am keeping myself (physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually) well-balanced.
+ Resources are there for a reason. Use them.
From high school I kept this lesson with me: Do not be ashamed of getting help! It’s quite simple and basic so I’ll leave it at that.
+ It is okay to be okay.
There were so many days where I was simply okay. It is a weird state to be in (I thought), so I always assumed it was a bad thing to be. I learned it was not bad to feel this way, and that I am not alone!
+ Do not forget about the people right in front of you, Lisa!
There can be so many great (and not so great) things happening in college. In the midst of it all, I learned not to forget the people right in front of me! Whether that is your friends, roommates, mentors, or even your family! There can be so many things I did get caught up in but remembering, acknowledging, and updating those who has helped me and who have been there for me is so important! A relationship is a two way street and it is mutual. I have had many experiences where I lost a lot of my relationships. I do not want to let small circumstances, feelings, and even priorities get in the way of those close to me.
+ Lisa, be smart about your spending!
It took me to experience the consequences of spending too much money to learn this one! (There is so much I can say about this topic but I will keep it very short.) I have been told this so many times but it is true. Consider your intentions (need or want) and your budget!
Okay, I will stop here. This list can go on and on and on… Something important that I want to emphasize is that the things I learned in my first year of college does not just apply for my college career–it goes beyond these four years as an undergraduate! The list above are things that I can take and apply in so many different areas in my life. College gives me experiences and opportunities to grow, to be challenged and build up my credibility for my future. If anything, I learned how fortunate I am to get access to higher education and to not take it for granted. I want to use this time to learn knowledge and wisdom so I can better help people in the future and give back to the people in my life and my community. I am unsure of what my career will be but no matter what it is I want to be able to do what I love with God.
I am overly excited about my second year in college!!! I will be a Resident Assistant and continue in some of my roles from this past school year. There are see many things to look forward to and I cannot wait to be able to look back at my path and see where I have gone. I may not have a yellow brick road to follow but I have God’s hand holding tightly to mines. I am not afraid to walk my unknown path and to follow Him! So, cheers to college life and experiences. I look forward to what is to come. Meanwhile, I will be enjoying the warm weather, laughing with family and friends, and preparing myself for another great year–it is what you make it to be.