After finishing my first semester of college, I felt defeated and overwhelmed. As if winter break was the first time I had taken a breath since August. My thoughts kept telling me I was in over my head for going to college over 800 miles from home. Adjusting to college life was not as simple as it seemed; living with a roommate I had never met before, learning how college classes were taught, and lovely twelve-hour study days. The summer before freshman year, my friends and family would say “You’ll love it”, and “this is the best time of your life”; it indeed did not feel like the best time of my life. I remember sitting in my dorm room on a Friday night and seeing everyone on social media going out to parties and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. Scrolling through Instagram and Snapchat, it would feel like I did not fit in or if I were missing out on my “college experience”. I thought I would never feel like I belonged at my university. This was until I began finding my values and focusing on being genuine to myself.
Coming into the spring semester of my freshman year, I left my grievances of last semester behind and proceeded to welcome every opportunity given to me. While I thought the pit in my stomach from the previous semester would last forever, it quickly faded. I learned how to manage my time towards classes while also making time for myself. I no longer let fear and change stop myself from experiencing the world around me.
I began taking time to do things that make me happy instead of listening to what other people and stereotypes say should make me happy.Alea Voyer, Mentor USA Youth Advisory Committee Member
To help adjust and welcome this new sense of “home,” I began building a better version of myself. Starting each day by writing down my goals and what I am grateful for has helped me create a sense of structure and gratitude. I joined a sorority where I have already met some of my closest friends. I began waking up at five thirty every morning to go to the gym before my classes; I began exploring the surrounding city, finally adventuring off campus; I began eating healthier, meditating, and even taking yoga classes at my university’s gym; I began taking time to do things that make me happy instead of listening to what other people and stereotypes say should make me happy.
Overall, college can be a difficult point in life. It is the time where many begin to learn true independence, time management skills, decision making, adaption to change, and identity. Instead of viewing these new changes hesitantly, see them as opportunities. It is especially essential to set goals and aspirations, finding something to strive for. Make the best out of these new experiences and change that college has to offer. You will not regret it!