Six truths I wish I had known as an incoming OU freshman

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As seen in The Athens NEWS:

Six truths I wish I had known as an incoming OU freshman
By: McKenzie Powell
Athens NEWS Contributor

G raduating high school is easily one of the most thrilling experiences as a young adult. This is the moment where we are finally free from our parents’ hold (or so we like to think), the time we can proudly begin calling ourselves “adults,” and the start of the nerve-racking countdown for entering the unfamiliar but exciting territory called college.

College offers a mysterious new world, providing us with experiences and opportunities that help us grow from miniscule tadpoles into plump frogs. However, while you may be overflowing with eagerness to journey away from home and begin building your future, it’s also common to experience bouts of anxiety, apprehension and insecurity.

Knowing just how it feels to be an incoming freshman, I’ve identified a few things that I wish I had known upon arriving in Athens and Ohio University. Here are six of the best lessons I’ve learned in college thus far:

Roommate issues are a reality.

Moving into a dorm with hundreds of individuals from various backgrounds can be one of the scariest aspects of going away to college. Whether you’re rooming with your best friend or with a random student, disagreements and arguments are inevitable. Your neighbors may be noisy, your roommate may be inconsiderate and your RA may often be absent.

After being placed within a small, confined room stuffed with wooden desks and packed-in bunk beds, it is understandable to become irritated with your roommate and fellow dorm residents. It is best to go into the situation with an open mind prepared with some simple problem solving methods. If you are feeling overwhelmed, be sure to take time for yourself and separate. Go for a run, head to the library to study, and, most importantly, meet new people – don’t ONLY hang out with your new roomie.

Money really doesn’t grow on trees.

Although it seems as if your first job is the real teller of money’s exact worth, the reality of money’s value is truly not understood until college. Not only is it shocking to realize the amount of money you are paying for tuition and room and board alone, but you will also be surprised how much you unknowingly throw away on not-so necessary items – like clothes, fast food and other unmentionables.

Online shopping can also be an enormous money-hog, especially when you are in a town without a large mall (hint-hint Athens). It is important to begin understanding the significance of saving money and spending it sensibly on necessary items. Once you are on your own money will nearly grow wings and fly, so hold on tight and let go wisely.

You won’t always receive As.

High school may have been an easy-breezy beautiful report card, but in college this will most likely not be so. While you may pass particular classes with the ease of Usain Bolt, others will be much more challenging and, frankly, upsetting.

Your first C will probably make you cry, but it’s ok. Remember that you are not the only one this is happening to and you have a great chance of doing better next time – if you make sure to put the work in and keep your head held high.

College will have a huge impact on you and everyone around you.

College generates late night homework, intense exams and careless stress eating. You may begin seeing those surrounding you, including yourself, gaining the infamous freshman fifteen. If you stick to eating healthy and working out as often as possible, though, the freshman fifteen is easily avoidable.

People will not only change on the outside. College is a time for educational, social and personal growth. Because of this, you will begin discovering more and more who you really are, what you like, what you dislike and the kind of people you want to surround yourself with. Your best friends from home may become distant acquaintances and the friends you make your freshman year may only last until you become a sophomore. The most important thing to remember is that you are on a learning curve and so is everyone around you. If you stay trapped in the past, you will never grow and develop a new, positive future.

Connections are everything.

It’s easy to conform to the typical “college kid” stereotype, but it is best to only act on those stereotypes within reason. You never know who may lead to a prospective career straight out of college, whether it’s a boss or a professor.

Speaking with your professors, meeting other professionals through academic events and scoring internships are the best way to begin marketing yourself as a young professional who is serious about their work. So, get involved! Remember that everyone you meet in life has fresh knowledge and diverse experiences to share with you that you can learn from and then use to begin building a better you.

Balance is key.

Balancing your life in an enjoyable manner can oftentimes be difficult, especially when you are surrounded by negative influences and other, more exhilarating alternatives. However, it is very important to remember that you are at college for one key reason: to get an education.

Discover what is most significant to you and weigh the positives and negatives that come with each decision and activity. It is imperative to discover the perfect balance between your school life and your social life. You will be deeply saddened by how fast freshman year flies so live it up, uncover new possibilities and create some unforgettable memories!

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