7 Things You Realize After Your Freshman Year At College

by Heather Mirynech

Oh, freshman year of college... You're either dying for it to happen, living through it or wishing for it back.

Freshman year is a big step for a lot of people; it can be the first step towards independence. Freshman year means moving away from home, living on your own and truly experiencing a world where you are the only one responsible for both your choices and mistakes.

It's a year of laughter, fun, drinks and screw-ups. It's a year that is impossible to emerge from without learning a thing or two.

1. Going Away Was The Right Decision

Even when you feel homesick, sad or lonely, going away for college is always a good choice. How can you learn to enjoy independence and find out who you are if you're living under the same roof, doing the same things, in the same town you've been in for your whole life? Answer: You can't. Leave! Go out of there! Create a life for yourself.

Chances are, you will NEVER regret going away, but you will regret staying home.

2. You Can't Be Friends With Everyone

Although most of us come from towns with small high schools where everyone knows everyone, this is not the case at most colleges. With thousands of freshman, you are virtually a number among many.

With college friendships, quality is more important than quantity. You won't be everyone's best friend, but those you do have can become your lifelong friends. Put yourself out there. Join a team or a club, meet people and chat in class.

Who knows, that girl you just borrowed a pencil from many be your future maid of honor.

3. What's Passed Is The Past

College is not a place where people dwell in the past. Newsflash: No one cares if you were the prom queen or the star of your high school football team.

Hook up with someone last night and afraid it's going to be the talk of the town? It's not. College is a place where everyone makes mistakes, and yesterday's news is history.

Everyone is much more interested in who's having the next kegger than who snuck out of your room at 7 am.

4. Parents Are The Best

Of course, right when you move away, there is nothing better than being on your own with no rules, no nagging and no curfews. After a while, though, the novelty wears off.

Along with your newfound independence comes cooking (or crappy dorm food), laundry and cleaning. You'll be wondering just how mom and dad kept it all together without having a mental breakdown. Call your parents; tell them you love and appreciate them.

5. Freshman 15 Is REAL

Everyone jokes about the freshman 15, but how many people actually think it's going to happen to them?

Before heading off to college, it's easy to vow to hit the gym every day before and after class and on the weekends, but once you get there, it's a whole different story.

Trips to the gym quickly turn into trips to the liquor store, and those after-class gym sessions quickly get tossed aside by the more appealing option of hanging with friends.

Weekend gym plans are also easily replaced by hungover weekends in bed, and a healthy diet is squashed by dorm food and drunken, 2 am pizza runs.

Don't worry. It happens to the best of us. Lucky for you, four months of summer is just what you need to get rid of that freshman 15 so it doesn't become the sophomore 30.

6. Dorms Are The Best/Worst Thing Ever

Oh, the dorm life of your freshman year...

Who wouldn't love to live in a building with 500 other freshman? It's great having a hallway full of friends and constant party options, meeting cute guys and not even having to leave the building, having a cafeteria so you don't have to make food, and blasting music in the shower with your friends. You're living the dream, right?

By the end of the year, residence life is a different story. Partying becomes tedious when the RA is constantly breaking it up.

Avoiding eye contact with your last hookup in the cafeteria full of the same tired food has kind of lost its appeal, and you're dying to take a hot shower without flip-flops on.

Trying to get some sleep while the boys down the hall decide to have a movie marathon on full blast? Not fun.

Dorms are a necessary aspect of freshman year, and they are the ultimate place to cultivate new friendships. However, by the end of the year, you'll be wondering just how soon you can get the keys to your new house.

7. Be Yourself

Most importantly, your first year of college teaches you to be yourself.

College is a fresh start, a chance to try new things, meet new people and find out who you are. That being said, this does not mean changing yourself to try and be "cool."

People can always tell when someone isn't being true, and living a lie for four years of college is too tough to keep up.

No one knows you better than yourself, so do what makes you happy, whether it be reading comic books, joining the debate team or nothing at all.

College is full of people, and no matter what you do, you'll make friends with similar interests.

You want to be able to look in the mirror at the end of the day and smile, content with yourself that you're happy being you, not trying to keep up the trying task of being someone you're not.

Photo Courtesy: Fanpop