Well, my first semester here at Iowa is almost over. It’s been a wild ride, with a lot of ups and down, but being somewhere other than my hometown in Wisconsin and “on my own” for the first time in my life has taught me some valuable things:
It’s okay to not have friends right away
Movies really did me dirty when they showed the stereotypical girl just showing up to a random freshman event and immediately making her lifelong best friends. In reality, nine out of ten times, that isn’t going to happen. And forcing yourself to be friends with people just for the sake of having friends ultimately leads to flaky people. For the first couple weeks, I barely had any friends – I only made some when I joined the Daily Iowan. Which brings me to my next point:
Seriously, get involved. Even with just one thing. There are literally hundreds of clubs, sports, and even jobs that you can join. Joining DITV was probably one of the best decisions I made this semester, because it not only helped me make friends with people who have similar interests and majors to me, but since it is involved with my major, being here has helped shape what I want to do with my life after college.
Eating alone is normal
If we’re being honest, one of the scariest things for me at the beginning of the semester was eating in the dining hall alone. For the first week, I would make my roommate come eat with me or latch on to anyone who invited me out to get food with them. Eventually, I went to the dining hall by myself, and realized that eating alone will not make people look at you and go ‘oh, she’s a loner.’ There is actually a good ratio of people eating alone to people eating in groups. Everyone is on different schedules, so even if someone does have a ton of friends, there has to be a time where they eat alone.
Stay on top of your schoolwork
Being in college, it’s easy to put off doing things – especially when you don’t have the same classes every day. Trust me though, getting into the ‘I can do it tomorrow mindset’ is not the way to go. A lot of professors will assign large projects at least a week in advance, and while you don’t have to do it right away, doing it before the night before it’s due can really bring down your stress. Especially if it’s nearing finals week, and you have tests or presentations or reflections all due within a couple days of each other.
Starting out here at Iowa was admittingly SUPER scary. I was in a new state, five hours away from my family, and I knew just about no one. But a semester in, I’ve made friends, I have a job that I actually really enjoy, and I’m excited to come back in January!
Have a great break!