Tuesday, April 15, 2014

15 Things I learned Freshman Year in College

Freshman year is an exciting time in every young adults life. It's your first time being away from home, and you're starting to learn all those lessons your parents tried to teach you, only now you're learning the hard way. On your own. As freshman year is coming to a close in the next few weeks, I started to ponder over what this year has taught me, and how it helped me grow into a semi-more mature woman. I came up with a list of 15 things I've learned through first-hand experience, or witnessing it through someone else this past year.
1. You don't have to be best friends with your roommate, and you don't have to hangout with her, but you do have to respect each other. Otherwise, you're in for an unbearable semester. If things really aren't working out, there's always the option of doing a roommate swap.
2. Your friends from first semester may not be your friends during the second semester. That's okay. People evolve, interests change. Move on.
3. Don't be scared to do things alone. If you're constantly waiting for somebody to be ready, or find someone who wants to go somewhere with you, you're going to be waiting and wasting a lot of time. Go to events that interest you by yourself. It's a great way to get involved on campus, and a great way to meet new people who share the same interests as you.
4. A good rule of thumb: it's probably not a good idea to drink and or smoke on a weekday.
5. You become like the people you hangout with most: choose wisely.
6. Don't try to drink as much as the bad boy you've just fallen for: he won't be impressed, and you will just end up looking really stupid.
7. Don't settle! So many people feel pressured to get in a relationship when they first get to college, that they end up settling for less than they deserve. Be patient: you will find someone who treats you well, and someone who actually sets goals for themselves. (Rule of thumb: the guy you met at the bar probably isn't boyfriend material. What would your mom think?) Do not keep going back to someone who doesn't treat you well, just because it's what is familiar. There's plenty of people in college, there's bound to be a handful of gentlemen somewhere on campus.
8. Be unavailable. A good way to spark someone's interest is for you not to be available to them all the time. Cliché, but true, absence makes the heart grow fonder. Don't be scared to say, "I'm busy," or "I have other plans."
9. Don't be scared to say no. You don't have to go somewhere or do something you don't really want to, just because "everyone else is going." Staying in can be refreshing sometimes. A simple "no thanks" will do.
10. Show interest in other peoples day- no one wants to hear how stressed you are about school, or how tired you are. We're all stressed, and we're all tired. This is college. Ask other people questions. People like to talk about themselves, and they will start to avoid you if they think that they can't talk to you, and think that you only want to talk about yourself all of the time.
11. Go to class! This one seems obvious, but especially if you go to school where the weather is warm, it's necessary to state. People will try to get you to skip class to head to the beach, or lay out by the pool. If it's raining, it may be tempting to skip class, because you've gotten spoiled with nice weather 24/7. However, attendance is mandatory in most classes. At some schools, you will get denied credit for the class after you miss two class days.
12. Budget is not just important, but essential. Know how much you have to spend at the beginning of the semester, and allot yourself a weekly budget for food and entertainment. Take into consideration any necessary payments you have to make. If you spend all of your money in the first few weeks, you will be very unhappy staying in for the rest of the semester, while all of your friends go out and have fun.
13. Appreciate your parents- they are the reason that you're here. Although they may have been extremely annoying during senior year, and the application process, deep down you are grateful that they pushed you so hard, so you could have a good life. They are the ones that send you care packages, eager to receive an excited phone call when you open a box from home with your favorite candy and study snacks. They may be paying your tuition bill, and you know that if you're ever in need of anything they're only one phone call away.
14. The most important lesson I learned during college: stay hydrated and eat before class! If you're dehydrated, and hungry and the weather is hot, it is very likely that you will pass out in class. Although people may say it is not embarrassing, it is embarrassing when you faint in class and a table breaks your fall. (For the record, this one didn't happen to me. It happened to a friend )
15. Freshman 15 is most definitely a thing, but don't let it dictate too much of your time. Eat well and work out often, but still take time to enjoy pizza with friends. Enjoy your freshman year!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

College isn't easy

College is not easy. A new environment: new people, no parents, and for many of us, being away from home for the first time. Once again we are the little fish, wandering around a big sea, still trying to get the hang of how to swim. We're vulnerable, but, we're not the only ones. Being on your own for the first time can be scary. It's easy to get lost. Being lost can lead us to searching for validation from the new people we meet on campus. However, it is ultimately up to you to decide how you feel about yourself.
If when you look in the mirror, your thoughts are clogged by what others have said about you, you have let them win. You allowed other people to have power over you, in determining how you feel about yourself. It's time to silence those voices, and gain back the power.
I'll admit, college has not been easy for me. I'm away from home for the first time, and on top of that, I am really shy. The first few months on campus led to me searching for validation from my peers, something I have never cared to do before. Silly things: do I fit in here? Is my skirt cute? Am I eating too much, too often? Do you like my haircut? Those first few months, I was under a lot of stress, mainly stress I put on myself, in an attempt to strive for unattainable perfection.
I wasn't taking care of my body, and I didn't care. Chemicals, on top of strict dieting, and excessive exercising. I would settle for a few pieces of fruit per day, while trying to maintain my schedule of kickboxing 3-4 times a week. Barely giving myself enough fuel to get through the day, it got harder and harder to complete an hour kickboxing routine.
I pleaded ignorance when my family asked how I could have possibly lost almost 30 pounds in just a few months. Dropped in a new world full of uncertainties, I had "control" over one thing, and it spiraled desperately out of control.
I was never fat, I have always been an athlete- soccer, basketball, track, kickboxing, and cycling. However, I was always striving to be better. I always believed if I was more tone, I would feel so much happier.
Almost 30 pounds lighter, I was anything but. Not only was I weak physically, but, emotionally as well. My spirit was destroyed, and I was tired all of the time. I didn't have the energy to go out with my friends and frankly, I was embarrassed to. I didn't have the energy or motivation to do anything that I loved to do. Writing and working out was placed on the back-burner. Filled with anxiety, sadness, and fatigue, I spent the first six weeks back at school in my bed trying to regain my strength. There's no feeling quite as bad as watching fun things happening all around you, but not being able to par-take. My days consisted of: waking up, wishing for a nap, and going to class as an empty shell. I would eat lunch and dinner in my room, because I was exhausted, and out of excuses, tired of getting defensive, because people judged my eating habits.
At one point, I considered switching schools and moving closer to home. I told myself I wasn't ready to be on my own quite yet.  I had just turned 18. Reality is, no matter what school you're at, your brain is coming with you.
I knew I had to take initiative if I wanted to feel better again. Being as stubborn as I am, I had to admit I was having a hard time, and that I could use a hand. Slowly, I began to let down walls, and open up to my friends and family. I shouldn't have been shocked that they weren't shocked, or immediately ready to run fast in the opposite direction. I am beyond lucky to have the strongest most patient friends and family, that anybody could ever ask for.
My friends and family have been patient with me as I relearn to love myself, and find the enthusiasm I once had for the things that I loved most.
One thing I've learned this past year is that no matter what it is, your family will never let you go through anything alone. I've never been more grateful and sorry for anything at the same time.
From this point on...
I promise to...keep what other people think and say about me as being none of my concern.
I promise to...accept and embrace my flaws in all their glory.
I promise to...take care of my body.
I promise to...say something if i'm feeling unhappy, or lost.
I promise to...help others who may be feeling down, or get a blurry reflection when they look in the mirror.
I promise to...go easy on myself.
What do you promise?