There’s a lot to learn in life. There’s a lot to learn in college. There’s even a lot to learn just becoming an upperclassman.
I honestly can’t believe that in the fall, I’ll be starting my senior year! It feels like I was just a freshman, figuring myself and college out. These past few years have been a whirlwind of adventures and lessons. Here are some of my personal favorite ones that have really helped me transition from freshman year to now!
1. Money don’t grow on trees
Now this is an exaggeration of course but I’ll be the first to admit that I was not money conscious at all freshman year. Friends wanted to go get food? Yes please. Multiple days in a row? Sure! Spring break, weekend trips, summer surprises? Count me in. It added up but I was like hey everything is new and I want to make friends and do fun things! Turns out you can do that without breaking the bank but it took me a year to figure that out and luckily, we all figured that out together. Now everyone is all about “bring your own food” to a low-cost picnic at the beach, stay-cations, coupons, and “if I work enough hours this week then I can treat myself”. So mature I know!
2. Freshman year friends aren’t necessarily friends for life
People told me this going into it but when we’re all in the dorms hanging out, meeting for meals, and spending weekends together how can I believe it? Many of my friends have been with me since freshman year and we’ve only gotten closer, but there are many that I don’t see or talk to anymore and that’s ok! Similarly, I’ve made unexpected new friends each year and honestly, you never know who you’re going to click with.
3. Time with family is priceless
Right after moving out I was so stoked to have some independence and freedom, from my hometown, from my parents, etc etc. And while that is still true, with each year that I don’t live at home I get more and more excited to spend time with them when I can. This applies to both my immediate and extended family. Yes, I live close to home. And yes, I see them often enough but I almost can’t explain how happy and comfortable it makes me to share a meal with them and catch up, even if it has only been a few weeks. As my life gets busier and so does theirs, these moments feel so much more special.
4. What you wear day 1 is your expectation throughout the year
I had a conversation with someone about this the other day and it rings so true. Freshman year, I went to all of my classes at my best-- dressed to impress, light makeup, the works. And while that is awesome and I so admire the girls that do that, that is just not my reality anymore. If I’m lucky, I’ve changed out of my workout clothes and put on something more presentable but most days, that’s all I’ve got. Comfort is key right? But hey, on the bright side, no one expects that of me anymore. How you show up during the first week determines your classmates’ expectations of you and lets just say that mine are pleasantly surprised when I’m wearing real people clothes!
5. Get involved!!!
Freshman year is a hectic time, believe me I know. I was so preoccupied figuring things out and getting my footing that I didn’t really check out all that my school had to offer. As the years have gone on, I’ve found involvement past my role on the volleyball team and its made my college experience so much better. Some clubs, honor societies, intramurals, even the free events that are on campus almost weekly! This is how I’ve made unexpected friendships and found some cool hobbies. I’ve been saying “yes” to almost every opportunity and man has it been fun.
6. Resources… so many resources
Along with involvement, I’ve discovered that my college offers a whole lot of ways to prepare us for the “real world”. As a freshman, I was like “when am I going to figure out how to be an adult”. Turns out, it doesn’t happen all at once and it definitely doesn’t happen on its own. And while I am no expert and am not, and maybe never will be, a full adult, there are a lot of awesome resume resources, practice interviews, etc that are available on campus that have helped me navigate the world that is employment! Thank god.
7. They weren't kidding when they said it all goes by fast
As I prepare to enter my senior year, I cannot believe that its happening. A year from now I’ll be a college graduate preparing to step into the real world (after grad school of course). It’s bittersweet-- I look back at my freshman year self and am SO GLAD I’m not in that phase of life anymore but I am also so sad to let go of the adventures that I’ve had during this stage. I know that life will take its course and I can’t predict what it holds for me, my relationships, my career… But from looking back at my growth, I’ve truly developed a self-confidence that I couldn’t have attained without every up and down of college. I’m prepared in every way I can be for whatever happens this year and beyond and have never been so excited to tackle the next challenge.
Anything we missed???
By Kaitlyn Raymundo
Through Her Lens