Wild parties, new best friends, crazy hot guys, skipping class. According to TV, college is a blast, and trust us, it is. But why is it sort of, you know, not feeling like that right now? Your roommate skypes her boyfriend all day, your RA sniffed out your stash of wine you had in your mini fridge and no matter how hard you try, you never feel clean after showering in flip-flops.
What all those movies don’t tell you is that it takes a few months to get your feet on the ground. It’s normal to feel weird at first. Like everything you’ll ever face in life, it takes time to get into the swing of things.
Here’s a secret; for a lot of people college isn’t wham-bam fantastic right off the bat. Think of freshman year as your college training wheels. Once you get through the ups and downs of making new friends, living on your own and sitting through 700 person class lectures, it. gets. awesome. You know what’s cool about college? It’s actually better than all those movies let on– you just have to get used to the basics first. So here is the Lala’s advice list about what you should do freshman year, so you can have some kick ass years following.
1. Don’t go home.
Stay the weekends. We knowww you live 45 minutes away and it’s the birthday of your best friend’s dog’s cousin, but if you’re constantly running home to do laundry every weekend you’re gonna miss out on a lot. College is short, so soak up every bit of it while you can.
2. Get some real FaceTime.
Unplug. Get off Instagram. Stop texting while having face-to-face conversations. Once you put the phone down and take people in, you’ll be more present. Pretend it’s 1973, when Skype was just a cool special effect on Star Trek. We know it’s hard to look up from your phone, we’re all pretty much chronically addicted to it, but you know it’ll be totally worth it once you do.
3. To be interested is to be interesting.
It’s weird, a lot of us haven’t had to actively seek out or make friends since preschool. So what’s a girl to do? Go back to basics. Find similarities in someone and capitalize. To the guy wearing the Sox cap, “Oh? You like the Red Sox! I love the Red Sox!” When you show genuine interest in someone, you’re opening the door to friendship. Walk up and say hi. Make an introduction. No, seriously. We know it’s kind of awkward at first. But that’s the most fundamental way to make friends, walk up to them, open your mouth and say something nice.
4. You’re not “too cool” for anyone.
If someone comes up to you and starts a conversation, don’t treat them like they’re “weird” or “creepy”. We use those terms on perfectly friendly people way too much. We all know we aren’t gonna love everyone we first meet. You don’t have to be everyone’s best friend, but you do have to be nice to them. Your mom was right, the Golden Rule wins again.
5. Enjoy your alone time.
If you find yourself plan-less on a Friday night–GOOD. No pity here! Go pop in a movie, make a delicious snack, throw on those sweats and re-laxxxx. Learn how to be by yourself. We’re guessing it’s the first time you’ve ever lived on your own besides that one wild week of summer camp when you were nine. Living on your own is tough to get used to, and honestly, it’s a learning experience in itself. Be your own best friend and when you have the time to do nothing, enjoy it! (By sophomore year you’re gonna wish you had a spare second to watch Say Yes To the Dress reruns.)
6. Get dreaaaaamy.
People say all the time how fast college whips by, and there is no doubt that’s true. So all of those kickass goals you want to achieve by the end of college (studying abroad, getting an internship, being a TA, going to grad school, graduating with honors) start now! The best way to embrace change is to make change. So start preparing for those exciting parts of college. Fate favors the prepared woman. And honey, that’s you.
7. Be a “yes” girl.
Say yes to as many plans as you can. Join stuff. A lot of stuff. Saying no shuts you off to people and experience. Let’s jump out of our comfort zone, shall we? What do you have to lose? This is your time to test it all out. Remember Goldie Locks and the three bears? It’s like that. Chess club, Big Brothers Big Sisters, joining a sorority, working at the local music shop, going on a movie date with that quiet guy from your French class– just do it! Some experiences will feel too big and some will feel too little. This is your time to find an experience that fits just right.
8. You’re not alone.
Know that you have people everywhere. You have a family at home, best friends from high school scattered across the U.S. and a bunch of people down the hall who, believe it or not, feel exactly the same way you do. You’re living in a community with thousands of kids your own age. This is the only stage in your life where you will be living exclusively with your peers. Of course, you may get another whack at this whole communal living thing when you’re in a nursing home. (Depressing, sorry.) So don’t take it for granted! This is the best time to make friends.
9. Remember, you’re pretty damn lucky.
Like 6.7% of the world population lucky. The Huffington Post states only “6.7 percent of the world’s population are college degree-holders.” So take nothing for granted. Go make friends, go kill it in school and enjoy every bit of college. The campus is your oyster, so get out there and la-la-love every second of it.
Image courtesy of Breanna Marie Photography