What I Learned My First Year of College

And just like that I finished my first year of college. I’m not sure how I made it out alive, but here I am. I might be exhausted but I am alive and thriving, so I am here to tell you how I did it.


College is hard. I’m not going to sugarcoat the facts. For me, I moved out of my king bed in sunny Southern California to sharing a small dorm with a twin bed in Portland, Oregon. I thought I knew what I was headed into. Plot twist, I was very wrong.

College is crazy, hectic, stressful, overwhelming, but completely manageable. It is an experience that I am beyond grateful for and cannot wait to enter my sophomore year. For me it was enjoyable because I figured out the various ways that worked best when it came to navigating the mess I call my college schedule. I know that my methods may not be the same for everyone, but that is totally okay! Everyone is different and that’s the best part. Everyone is on their own and figuring out what works best for them.

Take what you want but here are some college life lessons that I learned throughout my first year:

I am not lying when I say time management is so freaking important. Throughout the semester I learned what worked best for me when it came to planning my classes, scheduling my naps, doing homework, and of course de-stressing with friends.  I know, I know it sounds ridiculous. If you would have told my senior year self that I would be planning my naps, I would have laughed in your face. But hey, it worked for me! I have a type A personality, which made this all a necessity. However, I learned that this is different for everyone. I had friends that lived in the library and others that lived in their hammocks. Everyone has their own way of finding their own method of what works for them, and trust me, everyone eventually finds it. It is something college life teaches everyone, or at least everyone I have talked to about this.

I also mentioned finding time to destress with friends. I know this may sounds ridiculous, but college is hectic. Everyone gets caught up in their own busy schedule so it is super important to make plans to get all your friends together. Whether this be through getting dinner together, coffee dates once a week, movie nights, or doing face masks with a few of your friends- it is important to carve out time to take a break from the studying and work to have fun. For me, my friend group would always get together in one person’s dorm and do face masks and have a movie night (group self-care, who could say no?!). It was something everyone looked forward to and it allowed us to catch up on all the exciting things that were happening in our lives.

Lastly, say yes to everything! College is full of opportunities and adventure, so do not let it pass you by. Let me tell you- every time I said no to some outing or activity I totally ended up regretting it. Go to the party! Go on the weekend hiking trip! Meet with your professors for office hours! Apply for the job or internship! Leave campus to explore the city! When people say some of their best memories were in college, they are not lying. I have had some of the weirdest, craziest, and exciting memories just in my year of college. Out of everything I learned, this is one of the most important things I tell to everyone heading into their first year. I do not know when else I am going to get an opportunity to move sixteen hours away from my hometown to meet new people, start a new life, and get an amazing education so I am going to make the most of every moment!

I guess I would say the whole experience is a learning process. I have learned so much, and I will continue to learn as I carry on through the rest of my time at university. You probably won’t know everything right away, I sure didn’t, but that is totally okay. I went through a series- okay many series- of ups and downs but I am so grateful for the experience, the memories, and the amazing friends I have made along the way. Yes, it is crazy at times, but I learned it is all worth it.

Written by: @xomorganglaub