What I Learned In My First Month of College

 I love college. Like, absolutely head over heels in love with this place. As I expressed in an earlier blog post, I was super scared coming here. I had a lot of ideas in my head about what this place would be like and it was definitely nothing like I expected. Our campus is absolutely beautiful and the town is always lively. Although these reasons are going to be specific to The University of Iowa and Iowa City, I’m sure everyone can relate to at least a few of these things. Here’s my list of things I learned in my first month of college:

1. I will be challenged.

Since Iowa has been named the #1 party school (Actually it’s fallen to #2 now, but don’t worry. People are definitely making an effort to make sure this place gets back on top.) I thought I could breeze by academically. Or at the very least not exactly be challenged. In high school, I found that it was easy to get by without studying and rarely showing up to class. However, I have found out very quickly that I am in fact going to be academically challenged here but it will be extremely manageable.

2. Attending the #1 party school doesn’t mean you have to party every night.

Don’t get me wrong, some people do. That’s why a lot of bars are busy every night of the week. However, it’s really easy to just stay in. There is really no pressure to go out and do anything if you don’t want to. I am actually writing this post during a Thursday night study break while my friends are out partying.

3. Nobody actually gives a shit what you did in high school.

NOBODY has asked me what things I were involved in during high school. Nobody cares about the activities you participated in or what sports you played. Also, nobody cares who you were in high school. Here, you have a clean slate and you can literally be whoever you want. So leave your status– whatever it may be– back in your hometown because now is the time to truly be you.

4. Home cooked meals are the best things that will ever come your way.

Thanks Mom for spoiling me for the last 18 years. I have a totally unrealistic standard that I hold all food to and unfortunately that standard has not been met. I haven’t had a home cooked meal (or probably real food for that matter) in a month. Don’t take that shit for granted.

5. People can be inconsiderate, but you’ll also meet some of the nicest people in the world.

Like, people will sneeze on you. And they won’t apologize. And you’ll be covered in some stranger’s spit wondering who raised them to be so rude. Or someone will use your things without asking. Or my personal favorite, people will do all kinds of nasty stuff in the communal bathrooms. However, for every rude and inconsiderate person here, I truly believe that there are so many more extremely nice people. This place is filled with people just waiting for you to ask a question and help you out. It’s truly a relief to have my home away from home be filled with such kind and caring people.

6. Nobody cares how stupid you look.

I just bought a tank at Ragstock for $3 with a dinosaur in space on it. It’s super rad. My fashionista mother doesn’t approve, but nobody has ever said anything about it when I’ve worn it. There are so many different kinds of people here and in turn, there are so many different clothing choices. There are people in the same class wearing workout clothes and suits. Nobody actually cares about your physical appearance, and those who do are not people you want to spend time with.

7. The freshman 15 is only a thing if you make it.

Sure, there’s unlimited pizza, french fries, pasta, and soft serve, but you don’t have to get them. I know most schools have salad bars and offer plenty of other healthy options. Although it’s probably not real food like you had at home, it’s the best you’re going to get. Also, as long as it’s nice out, WALK. TO. CLASS. Just do it. Plus, you’ll regret not doing it when it gets cold out. On average, you burn 100 calories walking a mile. I’ve averaged about 6-8 miles per day just walking to class, which is a lot of exercise I wouldn’t have gotten if I took the bus. (The iPhone Health app is super cool– it tracks your steps using the GPS and motion sensor to tell you how many steps you’ve taken and how far you’ve gone.)

8. Call your mom. Every day. Twice, if necessary.

She won’t be bothered. She’ll love to hear your voice. Make sure to keep in touch with your dad and siblings, too, but your mom is probably the one that worries about you the most (and about the most outlandish things). I realized recently that these last 18 years have been leading up to this point. My parents took care of me and made rules that they thought would shape me into a strong, intelligent person ready to take on the world. In letting go, they had to trust that without them, I will make the right decisions. So keep them updated. Make sure they know that you are making good choices and that they did a damn good job raising you.

9. College football is a cult.

I was raised in this cult, but I didn’t know how intense it really is. Yeah, my parents dressed me up in Hawkeye gear and I’ve grown up going to games, but nothing prepared me for the madness of Saturdays in Iowa City. It’s truly an experience you can’t understand unless you’ve been there.

10. People come from all walks of life.

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle”. People come from all over the world to go to school here. We all have different backgrounds and scars from the past, and not everyone grew up as privileged as I did. Be kind to everyone and do not assume that people are just like you, because chances are they’re not.

College rocks. I’m glad I found the right place for me. I’ve been learning a lot in my classes, but I’ve definitely learned more outside of school. I seriously could go on forever about how cool this place is and how much I have learned in just a month, but I have stuff to do and a beautiful campus to admire. Until next Monday, friends.

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