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6 Things College Has Made Me Realize

todayAugust 16, 2015

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by Emily Parma
Web Content Manager

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Photo by Emily Parma

In exactly four days from now I will be going into my junior year of college. As I reflect on how my freshman year went and the things I learned from living in a dorm, moving into my one bedroom apartment the following year, and now preparing for the year to come, I want to share some of my realizations with new and returning students.

  1. I missed my mom. When I lived at home, I would roll my eyes when my mom asked me to tell her when I would be home at night, when she would try to give me advice about friends, and even school. I was with her all the time, but I did not appreciate what she was doing for me. When I moved to Texas State I had to figure out where my classes were while being directionally challenged, make new friends and facing anxiety in a new place on my own. When I went to class on that first day, went to dorm hall activities and felt accomplished, my mom was who I called. She was proud of me and wanted to hear all about the things I was learning. As a young adult, I came to appreciate the relationship with my mom. I called her often, and missed the familiarity of home. This is normal to miss home. It does not mean you cannot do it, or that you are not involved enough at school; it means that you came to appreciate where you came from.
  2. I missed home cooked meals. When I lived at home, my mom & dad cooked excellent meals every day, and to put it bluntly, I did not inherit that skill. My second year of college I got the lowest meal plan option in the hopes of cooking for myself. Well, within one month at Bobcat Village I managed to explode a glass baking dish with cinnamon rolls in it. This was the night I told the guy I liked that I was making him breakfast for dinner; the cinnamon rolls were burned and in pieces, and the eggs were too salty. Please be advised that when you take glass out of an oven, you should not put it on a hot burner. This may be obvious, but I forgot the burner was on. Also, if you are going to be cooking for someone special, maybe you should try the recipe ahead of time, if you are not an experienced cook. I also found that the fire alarm would go off every time I used the oven. Adulating was not easy when it came to cooking for me, so I encourage you all to take notes from your friends or family when it comes to cooking, or maybe find an easy cook book to help you get started.
  3. Baths are not just for kids. Remember when you were a kid, and you only took baths? This seems to be a thing of the past for people our age, but should it be? Dorm life left us with either communal showers and shower shoes, or maybe you were lucky enough to have your own shower. I’m sure many of you had an experience like I did, with a shower that was either too hot, too cold, or not powerful enough. I missed my shower at home. No, I missed bath tubs. College can be a stressful time, and one way I found to relax and even help me fall asleep more easily was taking a bath before bed. I did not have that until my sophomore year at Bobcat Village, but I dare you all to try taking a bath the next chance you get.
  4. Pets are more therapeutic than you would think. No pets are allowed to stay in the dorms with you, and some apartments do not allow them, either. Twice a year, the Alkek Library brings therapy dogs in for students’ to relieve stress. I found myself missing my animals at home more often than not, so I found local pet stores that allowed me and some friends to interact with the animals. You too might find this enjoyable, as it is also a free fun thing you can do when you miss your furry friend at home. Whoever you move into an apartment, check with the office there on their pet policy. I have two dogs now, and at the end of a stressful day, they make me feel so much calmer.
  5. I learned how to clean my room. It took me 18 years to figure it out, but life is much more easy with orderly surroundings. Living in a single dorm room meant fitting double the amount of stuff in about half the amount of space, so I had no choice but to clean once a week in order to stay sane. My roommate and I were not particularly messy people, but we were not used to sharing a small room. I learned that when I cleaned, the room looked prettier, and when the room was prettier, I felt happier. My roommate and I would take turns on who cleaned what, and it turned out to be a good system. You might also benefit from this. Keep in mind that all dorms should have cleaning supplies like a vacuum cleaner for you to borrow from the front desk. Happy cleaning!
  6. It is okay to be depressed. Freshman year is a time of new places, people, and fears you never knew before. For me, it was a time where I had to try and get passed my social anxiety and meet people. Before that happened, however, I became depressed. I went from a 5A high school where I was involved in student organizations with my best friends by my side, to a place where I had nothing to belong to (yet). I went to class, went to the dining hall to bring food home, where I would remain for the rest of the day. Some mornings it was hard to even get to class because I was not myself and did not reach out to anyone. It was also hard to see people I knew from high school change in a bad way, which only made me feel more alone. At the end of the hard semester, I found myself on the Dean’s List, but still had not made any close friends. Luckily, the school had sent out two e-mails that changed my life. I had reached out to two on campus resources; the Counseling Center, and KTSW. By the next semester I was going to counseling (which Texas State offers for free), and had also made it onto a volunteer spot at KTSW as a web editor. I came to realize that a social life is just as important as grades. It is okay to feel down sometimes, as long as you reach out to what you need and appreciate what you have found. I encourage all of you to put yourself out there, even if you are nervous. Get involved in on campus organizations, whether that be a Church group, the newspaper (University Star), the radio station (KTSW), Greek life, or even use the counseling center if you need it.

These six simple things are only a few of many lessons I learned in the past two years, but I hope that you all can benefit from them, and maybe take note of many other things you come to know about yourself, so you can share it with others, too.

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