Freshman. Year. What a stinkin fun ride!!! A year I anticipated and prayed over for what felt like an eternity in High School and suddenly it’s over! It really did fly by in the blink of an eye. Now that I’ve had some much needed time off to sit on my couch and watch the Food Network, I’m back in action! Here to recap and unpack the year with some tips for any of you who might be heading off to college soon!
First semester feels like ten years ago already but I’ll do my best to remember here! To be honest, first semester was hard and unhappy for me. I was inside most of the time talking to people from home, and felt like I was trapped and couldn’t go out. I was stressed; I found myself unable to find my niche. I’ve moved 8 times before, but my move to college was something else. To be honest, I held myself back. Sure, I made a couple friends but none of them seemed to really stick and our conversations seldom went beyond “Hey! How was your day?” and I was really homesick. My happiness and comfort levels both rose when I started to focus on “Florida State Sydney” instead of the Sydney of years past.
So, here comes my first tip!
Tip #1: Focus on the version of you you’ve always wanted to become in college. Try your hardest to make it the best it can be.
I know this seems like an obvious tip, but trust me it’s harder than you think. One night I was having a very ~intense~ discipleship session where I was expressing how upset I was that my expectations for my life and my freshman year weren’t meeting up to my reality when I was faced with the seemingly-obvious yet difficult question “Are you trying to make yourself and your year into the best they can be?” Suddenly it dawned on me that I wasn’t really trying. College is a fresh start. Take advantage! Leave your dorm room! It can seem daunting to not know where to go and not have anyone to talk to, but just try walking around campus. The first couple weeks, there is almost always something going on and someone to talk to once you venture out. This leads me us to tip #2!
Tip #2: Get involved. Get involved. Get involved.
I know what you’re thinking. More obvious advice! Everyone you know is probably telling you this. Your orientation leader, your mom, your sister, your doctor, and probably every single one of your high school teachers in their farewell speeches. But it really is SO. TRUE. Once I got involved in Gamma Phi and with Cru and Downtown Community Church, things almost instantaneously fell into place and I found my forever friends. I found the people who loved me effortlessly with a love that can only come from Jesus. I found friends who made my stomach physically hurt from laughing so hard. And most importantly, I found friends who will indulge my every Wendy’s craving with me (seriously, you know who you are, and I LOVE YOU). Speaking of people who are there for you through thick and thin, my next tip!
Tip #3: Call. Your. Parents.
My oh my I wish somebody had told me how wonderfully helpful your parents could be through your first year of college. Yes, I was that girl who called her parents 3-4 times a week but they really are your best resource. Once you move away from home and have to do literally everything on your own, you grow to appreciate them more. Also you will definitely forget how to cook chicken or have a medical emergency at some point and let’s face it- you’re still a kid on some level and you need your parents.
Freshman year was challenging, joyous, and unforgettable. I went through all the ups and downs I anticipated, and then some. Although I left freshman year with a lot of uncertainty ahead (like my major…yikes), I am more certain than ever that I am where God wants me and around the people God wants me to be around. I found my forever friends and Wendy’s companions for life, and I’ll count that as a success any day! Florida State and freshman year will forever have a big piece of my heart.