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It is only the first two months into the school year, and if I have learned anything so far, it's that being a freshman in college is rough. It hasn't been hard just because I'm from out of state, or that school itself is really challenging, but I also don't have a guiding hand to give me advice like I did in high school. We freshmen usually have to learn things the hard way, which sucks, but has made these first two months of college an interesting adventure. Here are 10 things I've learned within these past two months.
1. No one cares about who you were in high school. No one cares if you were the head of your cheerleading team, or the star player on your terrible high school football team. One of the best things about college is that you usually get another chance to be someone completely different than you were in high school. You are not tied down to whatever stereotype people tried to fasten you down to, and it is kind of refreshing. It is nice not to worry about fitting in, and instead, focus on yourself and the person you want to become.
2. Freshman Friendships have phases. First comes the "OMG, I love you, I want to spend every second with you because I don't know anyone else here." In other words, this is the honeymoon phase. During this phase, you might get semi-annoyed with one another, but neither of you are willing to say anything because who else would you hang out with? Yeah, well, this phase wears off kind of quickly; give it a month or two, and then you're in the, "wow, you're so annoying, how did I not see you were actually like this?" phase, which may last a day, or maybe the rest of your college years. Once you get over that chapter, you start finding the people you'll be friends with the rest of your college years.
3. Google maps is your best friend. I honestly can't imagine a time in college where freshmen didn't have access to their iPhone or Google Maps, because without those two things, I'd be one lost girl. I relied on Google Maps, daily, to get to my classes the first month of school because I didn't want to be that freshman hitting everyone with my huge map as I ran to class. Yeah, we all know you students without Google maps did that, no need to be embarrassed.
4. FaceTime is your second best friend. Being from out of state is hard. That honestly might have been the hardest part of these past few months because I'm away from all my friends, family, and most importantly, my dog. I'm not going to lie, I probably FaceTime with my family at least once a day because sometimes phone calls aren't enough. It's nice actually seeing their faces, and my dog curled up on his bed looking so freaking cute.
5. Studying and going to class is actually important. Way back when I was in high school (five months ago) studying wasn't a thing. I could easily get by with studying for a few minutes right before class and totally ace the test. I never really learned what are considered good study habits. But no worries, college quickly slapped me across the face after I thought I could get by with my high school studying habits on my first ISS midterm. As you probably could guess, it didn't work too well in my favor.
6. Being away from your actual human best friend is hard. Some days are harder than others, but as college goes on, classes get more overwhelming, new friendships get tested and the dining hall food starts to become old, it starts to just straight up suck being away from my two best friends from back home. There are only so much texts, Snapchats, FaceTimes and Facebook messages linked with articles about long distance best friend relationships can do. Sometimes, you just need a hug from her, and being so far away makes every situation that much harder. My best friend is my person -- yes, like Christina and Meredith from Grey's Anatomy. I go to her for everything, and it's so hard not having her here with me. It's even harder when your best friend is going through a rough time and all you want to do is hug her, and tell her everything will be okay. I guess it's kind of like kale; it's an acquired taste and although it's terrible at first, you get used to it and begin to work with it.
7. Coffee is a magical drink. I have always been a coffee addict. Back in the summer when I was working two jobs, coffee was my life line. But, my God, in college coffee is more than a life line. It's how I wake up every morning, go to class, get that paper done within two hours. Yeah, coffee is definitely bae.
8. The freshman 15 only becomes a thing if you let it. College dining halls are wonderful places filled with every fried food, sugary cereal and greasy pizza your heart desires. But guess what? Dining halls also have salad bars, sandwich stations and other healthy options you can get instead. If you have self control, which I'm sure most of you do, it's easy to limit the amount of bad food you consume. And even if you do gain a few pounds, who cares? It's a rough first year. Just always remember, everything in moderation.
9. Your roommate doesn't have to be your best buddy. You spend a lot of time with your roommate. If you are the type of person that can't spend a lot of time with someone without wanting to rip their head off, then don't. It's as easy as that. You only have to be civil enough with your roommate to live with her, but you most definitely do not have to hang out with her outside of the room.
10. It's SO important to get involved. This might be the most important thing I have learned within these past two months. My college is huge, but for some reason it has been so hard to make friends without getting involved. I've learned that finding my niche in such a big school has helped me make this community smaller. It has made my college experience a lot easier to connect with people, and make a group of friends that I absolutely love.
So yes, being a freshman in college is rough, but this is what college is all about. As cheesy as this is going to sound, this is where we all mature, and these experiences help us grow up. Although I miss my home, family and friends, as time goes on college will only get better. College is what you make of it, so learn from your mistakes and move on. These are some of the best years of your life.
This article originally appeared on The Odyssey, the ultimate source for millennial content written for students, by students. The content captures real conversations in local communities across the country. Breana Brill is a contributing writer for The Odyssey and a first year student at Michigan State University.