As I applied to colleges as a senior in high school, I had no idea what to expect in the coming four years. I had watched movies and tv shows, read books, magazines, and blogs that all seemed to conceptualize the stereotypical college experience. As I stepped onto the brick and ivy campus of Miami University, I felt as if I had been swept up in a whirlwind and the only way I could settle myself was to latch onto these presuppositions I had about the classmates, professors, classes, parties, and other experiences I was about to encounter.
But as my freshman year comes to a close, I look back on the last nine months and have realized that the majority of these preconceived notions about college life are all wrong. And it was from this realization that I recognized the top three things I have learned from my freshman year of college.
#1 Some friends are not forever…and that’s okay
My closest friends from college thus far are the first people I met when I unpacked my bags on that first day. After a rocky start with my roommate first semester, we’ve now become the best of friends and are even leasing a house junior year along with a few other friends we’ve made along the way. In my experience, college friendships hold a much stronger bond than friendships from high school. When it comes to college friends, you laugh with them, you cry with them, you do stupid and silly things with each other, you take care of each other when you stay out too late at a party, and (if you’re lucky) you’ll get to share your thoughts, feelings, and secrets with these new amazing people you find in your life.
But sometimes people simply grow apart. As cliche as it sounds, college truly is the time to find yourself. And as much as you love your friends, there are times when you have to put your personal growth, (and they have to put their own personal growth) above anything else. And as you continue on through the years you’ll meet new people to laugh, cry, learn, and experience new things with.
#2 Sororities are not a reflection of the media’s stereotypes
As I came back to campus after winter break, I braced myself for sorority rush. All that I knew about sororities was what I had learned from movies like Legally Blonde and Sydney White. But after the two-week-long rush process, I learned that the stereotypical fake smiles of bleach blonde sorority girls were not what recruitment was all about. I felt welcomed, wanted, and appreciated by the members of my new sorority and only have great memories from my first semester with them. I can’t wait to see what the next three years of Greek life will bring me.
#3 Spending time off-campus is crucial
While Miami’s campus is beautiful and the time I’ve spent there has been wonderful and rewarding, the town of Oxford is small. And getting out of town does wonders for your mental health. As a freshman, I don’t have a car on campus, but am lucky enough to have friends who do. Whether it was driving a few miles to the nearest movie theater, or having a home cooked meal at a friend’s mom’s house, the time I spent off campus left me feeling recharged and helped put all the time spent studying into perspective. I was even fortunate enough to spend spring break in California at my roommate’s house, and my friends and I relished in the time we spent under the California sun.
So as my freshman year comes to a close, it’s amazing to look back on all I’ve accomplished on my own, with the help of professors, and of course with my amazing friends. Next year will be an entirely new experience, as will the years that follow, and I can’t wait to see what they bring.