As a high school student, I remember always feeling a mix of emotions when contemplating my future. Often times, I would sit and stress out over which campuses I should tour and whether I would get any acceptance letters back in the mail; a familiar experience that many of us can look back on. Now as a freshman at the University of Delaware, the process of applying and choosing a university is still fresh in my mind.
When I was in the midst of deciding where I was interested in studying, one of my favorite things to do was listen to the experiences of others. In fact, I would spend hours watching YouTube videos of people sitting in front of a camera and sharing stories from their freshman year at college.
In addition to watching videos, I also picked the brain of almost anyone I met, asking about their college experience simply out of curiosity. With nearly one month left until the completion of my freshman year at university, the time has come that I will be sharing the truths, myths, and more about my personal college experience so far.
Firstly, let’s talk about the bits of college that I was warned about prior to move-in day and found to be true throughout this past year.
One of the number one things that I was told was to get involved. After spending the first 18 years of your life surrounded by family, family, and familiar classmates, it can be daunting to walk down a street and not see a single familiar face. It’s almost jarring, as if you are alone while still surrounded by thousands of people at the same time. At the University of Delaware, there is an event in the beginning of each semester where all of the clubs are represented and the students can sign up to be apart of anything they are interested in. Through this event and the clubs that I joined, I was able to made friendships with people that I otherwise would most likely have never crossed paths with.
Another thing that I was told and I find to be beneficial is having an open mind. For the most part, everyone in college is looking for friendships and the only way to make a genuine connection is by being accepting, friendly, and overall open minded–– for incoming freshman, leave the gossiping and excluding others in high school!
On the contrary, I have also had my fare share of warnings that were complete myths, as far as my freshman year is considered. The number one thing that I was worried about, due to the hype that it had, was the dining hall food. Fortunately, the University of Delaware has a brand new dining hall with an amazing menu and a reasonable range of operation hours. For the times when I was craving something specific, I was able to walk down to our Main Street that has an eclectic variety of equally delicious restaurants.
In addition to the food, I was also worried about the laundry rooms. I have heard horror stories of people stealing clothes and tampering with machines which made me nervous to leave my laundry unattended. For the first month, I used to sit in the laundry room and guard the machines that I was using until I realized that these things were not actually going to happen.
What I Wish I Knew
Overall, my freshman year has been an incredible experience and I am sad to think the end is near. Reflecting back, there are a few things I wish I knew prior, such as packing. I most definitely overpacked in every department of packing that on my way home for each break, I had at least one car load worth of belongings to declutter my space.
In addition, I wish I would have known to be more at ease. I have spent countless amounts of time this semester feeling overworked and overwhelmed, even though I was able to handle everything in the end. I also learned to be flexible in situations that I would have never expected to go through, such as dealing with my roommate and closest friend at college dropping out and drifting apart from people I was once very close with. The best part of college, though, has been the friendships that I have made because the people I surround myself with always keep me laughing and looking forward to the next day.
The most difficult part of college (so far), besides learning how to live on my own is probably learning to adapt studying methods to each professor’s teaching style. But I have three more years to perfect that one…
All in all, the hours and days of stressing out over where I should end up were all worth it. I am proud to be a University of Delaware Blue Hen and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What have you learned during your freshman year? Share your insights and advice to future freshies in the comments below!