“Some people get an education without going to college. The rest get it after they get out.”
― Mark Twain
Aaaaahh, college. As I mentioned in my last post, I have just finished my freshman year at Temple University as a Film/Video Production major. People ask me how the year went and in a full honest answer…
Not the greatest thing to ever happen in my life but overall, far from the worst. Some of my friends talk to me about going to college and they’ll describe it as ‘the best thing to ever happen to them’ and I genuinely can’t relate to that statement. Don’t get me wrong for some people the college transition is exactly what they need in order to grow and prosper as an individual and I am overjoyed my friends all had such a great first year. That just wasn’t the case for me. Don’t worry I’m not looking for your empathy or pity because it wasn’t bad by any means, just not a peak in my life that’s all.
For a few bits of background context before I get into details of the school year. So Temple University, my main reason for going there was due to Temple being the best options out of the places that accepted me. A better wording would be me settling for Temple because admittedly, I didn’t want to go there when I looked for school, however, it ended up proving itself as an unbelievable right choice. But, the other main reason for me going there was my two best friends [throughout my entire blog I will be using fake names] John and Andrew. John was my best friend since kindergarten and Andrew became good friends with us in middle school. We since have been a tight trio and now we all go to the same school. However none of us roomed together.
Next, I went into college newly single. I had broken up with my girlfriend Ana for reasons I won’t get into right now. Bottom line about that, I’m stupid, moving on. So, I went into the year single as fuck and hoping to have new experiences ya know mingle a little, have some fun, maybe do some crack, ya know see what happens… I’m lying about the crack thing. *sniffles*
Now since college is a learning institution… and an ENTIRE new life experience, it’s safe to say I learned a few things here and there. So I’d like to share them with you now and allow these tips to also let me flow through the anecdotes and important bits of my Freshman year I’d like to share with you all.
So here we go.
1.Know Who Your Roommate Is Before Room & Board Assignments
I put this first because this is where I find the stem for most of the negative shit that happened to me throughout the year. Okay, so if your college has any system that allows you to talk to people through an app or Facebook, in an effort to help you find a suitable roommate you think you may be compatible with… fucking do that. I attempted that but no one really clicked with me (AKA they stopped responding to me or they were spoiled brats who needed their own bathroom or wanted to stay in the expensive buildings) [Jokes on you assholes we ended up with our own bathroom anyway so HAH]. The day where freshman housing opens came along and I knew if I waited to find someone I wouldn’t have the housing I wanted because they would book up. So I found a 4-person suite (suite is a heavy word, it was two dorm rooms connected to one another… but we did have a bathroom to ourselves so idk moving on) with no one in it and put myself in there and said to myself ‘if I find someone I’ll tell them to get this room and BAM’.
Well, after a few weeks I get a message from two of my roommates who will be in the other room connected to mine. They seem totally cool however they were friends for awhile so throughout they year they pretty much had their own thing going on in their room and there was nothing wrong with that by any means, just how that turned out. However… I go in one day to make sure it’s still empty so I can still search for my roommate and what do you know, the spot’s filled in. Dude I never heard of before, I search him on every social media and find nothing. So I email him and give my number and hope to get to know him since we’re living together. Three more emails and four months later he texts me and we start talking and I already can tell something is a little off. I asked him to tell me about himself he says he is lazy, undecided major, and the only thing I manage to get out of him that resembled a hobby or passion was video games. So I already think this kid is going to be a little odd but once I meet him and move in he doesn’t seem as bad. We have a few short conversations here and there. But then it gets quiet…. And basically stays that way for the rest of the fucking year. I am not exaggerating when I say we exchanged maybe 40 sentences the whole year… tops.
Don’t get me wrong it was super easy to live with him, he barely spoke and never complained about a thing. By the second semester, I was so used to the quiet when would make noise or fart in his sleep (which he did a lot) I would get full-heartedly annoyed at him. Like boi shut up.
You may ask ‘Well why didn’t you talk to him more? Try and socialize!’ and well our issue was that we were both quiet people. He’s inside and out fully introverted, and I’m introverted until I’m with at least one person to help me loosen up. Basically, I need a social step stool in the form of an extroverted friend. So since that was not my roommate, we just never ended up talking.
Now I consider this as a tip and a launch pad for my other problems because, when you start college, the schools holds all of these social events and also everyone on the floor goes to meet one another on the first night. It’s a very forced but needed form of socializing in a new environment. But with Billy I didn’t have enough extroverted-ness to do any of this, let alone do it by myself so in a chain of events, I rarely went out to meet new friends and my first semester I had basically no new friends.
Which Brings Me 2
2. Force Yourself To Be Social
It is SO much easier said than done, but you need to be social. Force it to happen. I had very little courage at the start of the year. I was always nervous I would sound stupid or embarrass myself or people wouldn’t like or blah blah blah blah. Look, picture this, you walk up to someone and spark a conversation and it goes horrible, there’s awkward silence and you two just don’t click. You wanna know what happens next, you leave and never see them again. Try again! Eventually you will hook someone and then BAM friend made and you’re golden.
Also if you followed step 1, you’ll already have your roommate with you and you two can be social wingmen with each other and start up your own squad. Being social is always easier with one other person, if you can get to that step you are set.
Nervous? Guess what? Everyone is! Every freshman like you is on their own for the first time in a new place and desperately looking for new people to meet. They all are feeling what you are just expressing and acting on it differently. So put on your social smile and make a friend right fucking now. GO
Now this is a tip because I did not do this and again, my first semester I had basically no friends at college other than Andrew and John. So anecdote time.
I remember Temple held this big ol’ festival carnival thing as one of it’s ‘Welcome Week’/’Meet Friends’ events so people obviously went. I went alone, I forget what my other roommates were doing but nonetheless I went alone. My plan was throw on some Mitchell charm and just join a group of people or just socialize till I find a group to stick with. I remember walking to it, I was across a one way street from it and I saw so many people, carnival lights flashing, a DJ playing music (probably ‘Closer’ remixes). I stopped and looked at everything and I made my first mistake which was starting to think.
Sidenote: I overthink a fuckton if I never mentioned it
I am now frozen across from this ‘meet & greet’ freshman carnival and I realize everyone is in a group. My dumb mind then got worried about people judging me because I’m alone and I feel my chest get really heavy, my eyes begin darting, and I start playing with my hands. I never experienced social anxiety before but I literally became scared to go and talk to someone, scared in the sense of my body was shutting down. Not just a ‘face-your-fears’ scared but a physically dysfunctioning reaction to this. I don’t know how to properly articulate it but I turned around and went straight back to my dorm. Since then, for the remainder of the semester, I developed really bad social anxiety whenever I went to any of my classes or went to the gym or whatnot. I became scared to socialize. This problem eventually resolves itself a bit, I’m still introverted but luckily my anxiety went down.
3. Make Time For & Actually Go To The Gym
Very simple but oh so important. I’ve never steadily gone to a gym or been on an exercise schedule. However, I never really liked what I saw in the mirror. I always wanted to apply myself to lose weight or gain muscle I just never could stick to it. I remember two friends saying how they would go to the gym regularly, that being 3-5 times a week, throughout the whole year. I spoke to them one month into the year and they already were saying ‘yeah I gotta go back, haven’t been there in awhile… I just never have time’. You are at college. You make your time. Make time for the gym. Both semesters I managed to go to the gym 5 days a week. Beyond very obvious health benefits, the exercise is a super easy morale booster and releases some nuero thing that makes you happy. Flunked a test? Bench press away your self-loathing. Stressed? Blow off some steam and jog a mile. If you can implement a gym schedule into your college life, you will see, mental, physical, and emotional improvements.
The anecdote for this is for the first time I have stuck to the gym and am now starting to take my health more seriously. I am in the best shape of my damn life. I thank a lot of my mental glow up to my gym schedule along with my physical glow up. Idk shameless plug because I’m proud of myself…*Throws Confetti*
4. Get In Control Of Your Shit
Similar to #3, at college you control almost everything going on around you. I see so many people at college make horrible choices just because they can because they are at college. The same people who drink and smoke every night are the same people who complain about being swamped by school work or bad grades in class. Take care of your shit, you’re an adult so act like one. Take your actions seriously and consider repercussions. I know I’m sounding overly adult but, you can go to a party anywhere at any time in your life no matter what but you’re in college for only four years so don’t fuck yourself over.
Also understand this relates to health too, keep track of personal hygiene and whatever ‘healthy option’ the dining halls are offering, stick with that or a salad. You’re gonna wreck yourself if you eat pizza and waffles everyday for a year. Eat like shit, feel like poop.
Make sure you fully understand everything is the product of your choices so if you get a control of your life and your shit, you shouldn’t have many problems.
5. Choose a Job or Clubs
Another reason I made no friends first semester was because I never joined any clubs. I got a job instead. Although some of my closest friends of the year ended up coming from my job the next semester so eventual win/win?…
There are a few factors involved in which one to choose. It all comes down to priorities. My main priority is how am I going to make money to be a substantial human and ya know… afford things. So naturally I put clubs on the back burner while I got myself a steady job with steady hours. Now if your main priority is to make friends or to get involved’ or ‘give back’ to your school, obviously go with clubs. Now you may want both of these things, like I did, then you have to look at how much you end up spending a week and how you will get that money. Do you come from a family where money isn’t much of an issue… then first off lucky you and second you can join clubs and just ask for an allowance of sorts for spending. If you are like me and are super low on money then you bite the bullet, get the job, and find other ways to get involved later on. Also you may prioritize a ‘have fun in college, working is for after’ mentality over a ‘work as soon as you can to get a quicker outcome of income and success’. I personally prefer the latter so I prefer the job.
Now I got a job at a nearby Barnes & Noble but do to my past experience as a Panera Bread Employee, they often put me in the store’s Cafe serving Starbucks Products. Now some college are basic desk jobs where they let you do your homework and you do very little. My job was a basic consistent workflow in the sense that there is always something to be done even when there are no customers. With that, we weren’t allowed to do homework so I was often always on my feet working. Also as I previously mentioned one of my first new friends of the school year was actually my assistant manager and some of my co-workers, so silver lining?
6. Be Prepared To Still Have Classes About Shit You Don’t Care About
Freshman: “I’m so ready to learn about things that interest me!”
Gen-Eds: “Honey, you got a big storm comin’”
7.You’re Going To Have Shitty Professors
If anyone from my film class is reading this you know who I’m talking about. However it’s a common fact of college. No campus is going to have 100% helpful, easy, and insightful professors. It’s better that you simply accept this fact and when you come across this professor you make the most of it and have someone to joke with about how fucked you both are or how dumb the professor is.
8. No One Cares How Much You Party and Have Sex
Congrats, you got SSsSSssSOOOoooOooOOoOOO drunk last week at Cosma Kappa Alpha Fettuccine Kappa Omega Chai Latte Kappa Sigma Frappucini. Congrats you hooked up with the hot girl/guy you met on tinder. Here’s someone else that’s sooo cool. At the end of the day no one gives a shit. This tip is more geared at those who don’t party much. If you do get sooo drunk after you had two mixed cups of jungle juice and four apple-bong hits that’s great! Whatever tickles your fancy but, the point I’m trying to make is, no one is going to judge or really worry about whether you party or not. If you’re an individual who has never or rarely parties or rarely does the hook-up scene, there is absolutely no reason you should feel pressured or belittled by people or even friends that do those things often. If you’re making new friends and they ask if you smoke or party and you say ‘no’ they may be curious why but they are never going to make you feel bad for it.
For example it wasn’t until this year I dabbled in those things, specifically second semester. First semester people would ask me and when I said ‘no’ the most consistent response I got was ‘that’s cool, I respect that’. I always kept it as this voice in the back of my head saying that those who did these things had some power over me or were cooler than me and the more and more I mentioned it to new people I noticed not a single person gave a negative response. Why? Because no one gives a shit. So do what makes you happy and don’t worry about it.
9. Know What To Care About & What Not To
I’ll need to explain this a little bit. I initially was going to make this tip titled “Care Less” but I didn’t want to give the notion to be apathetic toward everything. Then obviously you won’t get anything done. However I’ll use myself as an example throughout the year. The biggest thing I cared about and still struggle with is prioritizing the effect I have on people. Do people like being around me, do I make people laugh and be happier, bottom line… do people like me? When I struggled to open up and approach people at the beginning of the year it was heavily due to my fear of people thinking I was weird or annoying so I just became very quiet and rarely spoke to others to simply avoid that kind of confrontation. In my film classes, I was always worried about how other students thought of my film projects and assignments so I overly criticized myself to counteract what every student critiqued on my projects. This led me to become a perfectionist and I then never put out anything I’m wholeheartedly proud of because I always thought someone isn’t going to like it every aspect of it. I kept drilling other’s judgement into my own perception of my work.
I kept in touch with my ex for the year and we remain very close friends. Two months or so after the breakup I heard about her hooking up with someone else. Breakups are never easy and hearing about the next person they were with after you sure as hell isn’t a walk in the park either. I began letting this and her new life control my happiness. I was concerning myself so much in her business. Day she was with him turned into a shitty day with occasional anxiety attacks, day she wasn’t- simple easy breezy beautiful covergirl day.
The first semester of my freshman year of college was a period of my life where I let outside forces and people control and manipulate my emotions and actions to a degree I’ve never encountered before. I was lonely, I was depressed and I knew I was self sabotaging my own happiness by my pathetic over thinking and prioritization of outside opinions and actions. That was until I realized something…
If you go about your freshman year confining yourself into the expectations of others, you’re never going to get anything accomplished by the means of personal growth. You cannot allow other people inside your head. You head is your space for you to think about you. This tip is suggesting you to care less about the unimportant bullshit like impressing your friends with your pong abilities, and worrying about getting rejected by the hot person in Psych 101. You can’t let these little things affect you. It’s only going to bring you down and destroy you from the inside out.
Freshman year is about growth, so focus on yourself and grow but never forget to…
10. Keep Smiling
Look, I remember during Christmas break, Andrew asked me how I would rate my first semester 1-10. I very genuinely said 2 maybe 3. It was not good and I did not have a good time. I let negative elements manipulate my life and make me feel like shit. During Christmas break I was at a friend’s Christmas get together and I remember for at least two hours I said little to nothing because I was in my own head manipulating myself. ‘Why am I not having fun’ ‘How are you surrounded by your closest friends and still unhappy’. So the next day [New Year’s Eve] I made the New Year’s resolution to stop sabotaging my happiness. I forced positivity into my life. I started a journal, I made a ‘Cheer Up’ playlist on Spotify, and lastly I gave myself one night a week to dedicate to myself and my enjoyment. Every Wednesday I went to the Philadelphia Art Museum and looked at Claude Monet paintings and wrote poetry. You have no idea how important devoting time to self-love actually can be until you implement it into your life. If you’re sad, play that one song that always makes you wanna dance. Like forcing yourself to be social, you have to force positivity unto yourself.
Force yourself to look at life with a smile. Once you do that you’re halfway there. Now go give yourself a reason to smile. There you go.