What I Learned my First Semester of College… that did not Require a Textbook

With my first semester of college over, I figured I would share some things I learned this semester outside of my classes, in hopes that people would find them helpful:

  • Making friends is not difficult. I was fortunate enough to find my closest friends the first weekend since we were kinda forced together because we share the same bathroom. Other friends I have made have something in common with me. For example, one of my other friends and I had four classes together this semester, we are in the same major, and we are both from Indianapolis.
  • Your fundamentals are important. Because a strong work ethic has been instilled in me, I missed only one class this semester, and that was purely accidental. You can work hard and do well if it is something you’re used to.
  • There is no such thing as enough sleep. It doesn’t matter how much you get. I have yet to meet anyone who consistently gets enough sleep. Everyone is tired
  • There are more to your professors than just what you see in class. I recently found out about a scholarship for future teachers, but any applicant has to be nominated by a school official. I asked my social studies education professor to fill out the nomination form, and she returned a great review a couple days later.
  • Studying is important. In high school, I did not have to study much for tests. But taking the time to study before a test in college really paid off (for the most part). You do better if you make the effort.
  • Show up for class. There are so many stereotypes that it is okay to miss class. While some professors vary their attendance policy, it is way more beneficial to be present. My geography professor said that he would improve our final grade if we had a good attendance record.
  • There are definitely more responsibilities, especially if you go away. You need to provide your own groceries, you need to know where class is on your own. You determine your sleep schedule, your class schedule, and your homework schedule.
  • Keep your priorities. Along with a strong work ethic, my parents always taught me that homework came first. That is usually still the case. I only do fun things if I have my homework done or make time to do it.
  • All-nighters are not necessary. Give yourself time to get the assignment done, and you will not have to stay up all night just to finish it a few hours before the due time. Don’t procrastinate, and you can be much more thorough.
  • Take some time to have fun. It is important to balance studying and fun. Don’t get so caught up in the schooling that you forget to take breaks every now and again.
  • It is okay to say no. You do not have to do everything. There may not be enough time. Do not stretch yourself too thin.
  • Be different. Keep your individuality and don’t compromise yourself for other people. For example, most of the friends I hang out with don’t have the most diverse appetites and do not care for cultural foods. One night, my dorm did a “Holidays Around the World” with seven different cultural foods. Well after dinner, I went through the dorm on my own and tried all the foods. I had a great time and it was something I really enjoyed.
  • It is okay to be homesick. This one is pretty self-explanatory. There are times I definitely miss my family, friends, and city.
  • You can survive without a car on campus. Thankfully, Muncie has a bus transit system and one of my friends did have a car on campus, so it was fairly easy to go to Wal-mart or the mall or out to dinner. But we could have easily stayed on campus for most of what we needed.
  • Go to events, especially free ones. Over this semester, I went to three football games, two volleyball games, one men’s basketball game, and three concerts, all of which were free of charge. Most Friday nights, we went to the free movie on campus, and Saturdays we went to Late Nite, where there was always fun things to do and good food. These were all free and I made some great memories as a result.

I really hope these tips help those who may not have had the best first semester or help prepare those who are about to enter the college realm!

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