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This week has been a whirlwind. The whole world has been whirlwind lately. All I can do is sit here and eat my Corn Pops and stare at my completely not unpacked room and just think about it all. I don’t even know where to begin with the world, so I’ll just get right to the point of this whole shebang. Coming Up Roses is now in back-to-college (or school in general…we don’t discriminate) mode. Some fun (and hopefully helpful, or at least fun-ny) things are in the works to progress your personal style, maximize your beauty time crunches, master the in-dorm-room crunches (because who has time for the gym nowadays?), balance your life…and reach All-Star status on your LinkedIn profile. It’s all coming up in the next two weeks, so be sure to send me anything you want to see specifically, your best college life hacks, or just your thoughts on heading back to school in general!
I started off the summer wanting to hit the blogosphere full force, publishing more often and connecting like crazy. Then, Burlington happened. My last day at Burlington also just so happened to be my first day back at school – how fun, right? But in all seriousness, I couldn’t be more excited to be an RA for 26 freshmen this year. It got me thinking (naturally). What would I tell 18-year-old me if I could go back in time to my own freshman year move-in day? What snippets of learned wisdom would I want to bestow upon myself, in the hopes of preparing for what is to come? What really matters for the next few years? In 10….9…..8…..
1. Smile. You’re in the 6.7% of people the world who will be attending higher institutions of learning to attain a college degree. How lucky you are. Remember this in the next year when you’re crying over Ramen noodles and B-‘s.
2. I’ll get this one out of the way now. You are going to feel you’ve failed at some point this year. Maybe you’ll fail a class (hopefully not…study, guys). Maybe you’ll fail a friend or feel like you’ve failed yourself. But you haven’t really failed. You’ve learned. You’ve learned what didn’t work in preparing for a class. You’ve learned what doesn’t work in making friends and keeping them, and – for as hard as this may be to come to terms with – you’ve learned something about yourself. What drives you, what motivates you, what makes you tick.
3. You have kryptonite. Multiple kryptonites. But if Superman can have kryptonite and still be super, so can you. You’re going to face challenges this year. You’re entering a whole new obstacle course, and some hurdles and hoops might seem too big to jump over or through. That doesn’t mean it can’t get done; that doesn’t even mean that it can’t get done while wearing high heels and pearls.
4. People aren’t always what they seem. You know this by now, I’m sure. But in college, you’ll be forced to take it a few steps further. The people who seemingly have the world on a string might be hanging be a thread. The girl who has the best pearly white smile might be hiding behind it and fighting back tears. And the guy who seems to constantly take girls home? Maybe he really just wants a girlfriend to take home to his mom.
5. Start liking coffee. Just trust me on this one.
6. Stretch yourself. This is your time to really shine. You have the opportunity to do whatever it is you’ve always wanted to do. Really. And that in and of itself can be overwhelming. Challenge yourself during your freshmen year to try at least two clubs or activities or sports that you’ve never done, but that you think might be a fun time. Try at least two new foods. Talk to at least two people who you would’ve never picked out of a hat to be your friend.
7. Prioritize health. Otherwise, You will burn out. Exercise often, sleep enough, and eat a colorfully healthy diet. (Note: I learned at RA training that apparently colorful pizza does not constitute “healthy.” My life thus far has apparently been a lie, nbd.)
8. Prioritize friends above academics. (Within reason). This one might sound craycray. But, hear me out. Your history paper can wait 15 minutes for you to grab a Hoagiefest sub from Wawa with your roommate (where my Philly people at??) or for you to catch up with a friend over lattes. Those friends might make it to your wedding in 10 years. Your history paper will not.
9. Don’t underestimate the power of a clean room. Your dorm room (or apartment, suite, what have you) is your four-year oasis. Simply tidying up a bit can do a 180 on your mood and essence. Not only that, but you’ll be playing pre-exterminator to those roaches and mice that would otherwise be hanging out with your industrial size cereal. Mi casa no es su casa.
10. Lastly, life goes on. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing in the moment, you can’t stop time. I heard another tidbit of wisdom in training today in the form of a quote from a Chinese man’s proverb. It ends with
“present moment………wonderful moment.”
If only we lived each moment with such intention. In sadness or sorrow, perhaps we could then see through and always seek the light on the other side of the moment, drastically bettering our perceptions of ourselves and our worlds.
In the grand scheme of life, college is but a moment. Live it with intention, taking as much out of the good times as the bad and putting equal (or nearly equal) parts effort into lifelong friendships and a lifelong hub of knowledge.
What would you tell your freshmen year self? What were the most salient lessons for you, and what would you want to share with freshmen moving in this week?
Let the comments commence. And may the end of your hump day be cheery and bright.