College always seems so far in the future when you are in elementary school, middle school, and even high school. Yet before you know it, you are getting dropped off at a place where you don’t know a single soul. As I was heading to my first day of college I felt basically every emotion possible. I was excited, but nervous because I didn’t know exactly what to expect. After growing up with the same people, it was nerve-wracking, yet refreshing, to be going to a completely new school. I was being thrusted into college life and being adult, even though I still felt 12 some days. Whether you feel ready or not, here are a few tips to help make the big transition a bit smoother.
Say yes, because you don’t know what amazing things will follow. Especially the first few weeks before schoolwork gets heavy, it is important to get out and make new friends. Go for a walk around campus or a lake catching up with good friends and getting to know new people. Drive to Krispy Kreme just to get a hot and free donut when the light is on. Have random dance parties with your friends at midnight. Because while the big events are fun and all, those small moments will be some of your best memories. On the other hand, know when to say no as well. If someone invites you to do something you are not comfortable doing, you can and should say no. Sometimes you need to catch up on sleep after a busy day instead of going to Applebees for Half Off Apps. Sometimes you need to be the responsible one and say no. Just make sure you are finding a good balance.
Even when everything around you is changing, it is crucial to surround yourself with what you love. If you love animals, befriend someone who has a dog you can visit. Or go to Petsmart to pet the cute cats. If you like baking, make some delicious cookies to de-stress. If going to the gym helps you, by all means go every day!
You will feel dumb. Even if you were the smartest kid in high school, you will become one of many in college. You will fail things, and you will learn to accept failure and learn from it. College will make you frustrated. You might need to vent to your roommate for 30 minutes straight, you might need to run until your legs hurt more than your heart, and you might find yourself eating 7 cookies after a hard test. But you will come out of this stronger and smarter than you were even just a year ago. Just remember you are smart, and you wouldn’t even be at college if you weren’t.
It is okay to cry. You might thing that you should have your life together by college, but that is far from the truth. Everyone responds to stress and situations differently, and many people cry. People hate to cry in public because they are afraid of getting judged, but honestly in college people don’t really bat an eye. Walk past a girl sobbing into her phone on the path? Oh just another day at college! Honestly though it is normal and the best thing you can do is to find good friends who you can cry with, because these are people who will truly care about you.
Your roommate can become your best friend, even if you didn’t know each other going in. People will try to tell you that you just need to be able to live civilly together, but honestly it is 10x better if you can come “home” to a friend. Someone to share that funny story with, someone who will be there when you feel horrible about a test, someone who will dance with you and who will throw water balloons on you while you are showering. Give your roommate a chance and you might just be surprised at how good of friends you become!
At the end of the day, Jesus is still there for you. Even if you feel like the entire world was going against you that day, He is still there and wants to hear your rants and prayers. Whether it is journaling, devotions, chapels, or a walk through nature, you will feel better afterwards.
Don’t lose sight of the little things that make you laugh. Adulting is hard and sucks sometimes, but you don’t have to act like an adult 24/7. Spend the afternoon laughing in a hammock with your best friend, eat cookie dough straight from the package, and lay in the soccer field and stargaze with your suite every once in a while.
College is so many things. It is freeing, challenging, fun, lonely, and it is full of adventure and opportunities. Just remember that you are blessed to be there and it is where you are meant to be right now. Make the most of every day, because before you know it freshman year will be over and you will be one year closer to being an actual adult. Before you know it those strangers next door will become your best friends. Before you know it, you won’t want to leave the dorm room that became your home.
You’ve got this.