What I wish I knew as a freshman

Today’s post comes from our super summer intern, Theresa.

Try new things         

Probably the biggest regret about my freshman year is that I didn’t put myself out there enough. I had a really easy first semester as far as course load, but I didn’t really take advantage of that freedom. If I could do that semester all over again, I would join a few clubs and make a serious commitment to them. I did explore a few options, but I didn’t stick with them because I felt intimidated.

I went to the fencing club’s open house and really enjoyed myself, but I never went back to a meeting even though a bunch of my new friends joined. I was so overwhelmed by the new experience (I’d never fenced before) that I crawled right back into my shell after barely taking that first step out of it.

A similar thing happened when I went with a friend to the writing workshop hosted by our university’s literary magazine. I was one of the least experienced writers present, and I felt intimidated by the caliber of work of others. I immediately thought I wasn’t worthy to participate, had nothing to offer and would never get as good as them. So instead of jumping in with the goal of improving my writing, I never went back to another workshop that year. My sophomore year, however, I tried again, and now I’m a regular contributor and editor of the magazine. Working on the magazine has been one of the most rewarding experiences of college; my only wish is that I’d started participating sooner.

Be honest with yourself

My other big regret is not breaking up with my high school boyfriend before I left for college. Our relationship was already falling apart, and I knew we wouldn’t be able to handle a long-distance relationship. So why didn’t I end it before I left? Because there were a lot of big changes coming my way, and I wanted to cling to just one constant. We both clung to that, and it led to a tumultuous start to the semester for both of us. If we’d just been honest we’d have managed a much cleaner break.

Find time to exercise

Finally, with all that extra time I had, I wish I would have scheduled a regular workout routine. I’m not a fan of going to the gym even though I know exercise would do me a lot of good— physically, mentally and emotionally. Access to the campus gym is included in the student activities fee I pay each semester, and it’s a really big, nice gym. My sole obstacle was me: I was just too lazy and chicken to start going. The second semester of my freshman year, I got too busy with classes to add exercising to my schedule, and I have yet to make it a part of my lifestyle.

Moral of my freshman year

Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and try new things, and be honest about your wants and needs and get out there and satisfy them. You have to immediately seize opportunities with both hands and hold on tight because you never know if they’ll ever come around again.

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