What I wish I’d known going into college

By: Taylor Kaluza

Multimedia Journalist

About a year ago, I was in the same shoes that you are, I had just graduated high school and was moving off to college. While my first year of college was the opposite of normal due to a global pandemic, I think we all have our fair share of uncertainty and abnormality in our lives.

Everyone’s first year of college is different. If you ask multiple people, you will have a handful of different responses. No one goes into college knowing what is going to happen, which is the best and worst thing imaginable.

Being a freshman and going off to college somewhere you have never been is nerve-racking. To prepare you for some of the things you may encounter, here are a few things I wish I had known coming into college that will hopefully help you.

Taylor Kaluza as a Freshman.
Photo Courtesy of Taylor Kaluza.

First, it is okay to feel a lot of emotions. Whether you are happy, sad, confused, terrified or not sure how to feel, we have all been there. Moving from all things familiar will leave you overwhelmed. While I was happy to come to Tarleton State University, I was also scared and nervous as soon as my parents left me in my dorm.

My best advice to help conquer those emotions is get out of your dorm and go explore. The more familiar you become with your surroundings both on campus or around Stephenville, the better you will feel. Take a stroll on campus or get in the car and drive, it can’t hurt to take a look around.

Secondly, your friends in college may not be the same ones from high school. We all said to our friends that we would keep in touch, but it doesn’t always happen that way and that’s okay because people grow and change overtime.

One thing to remember: old friends will come and go, and new friends will follow. College is all about finding your place, and finding your people is just as important. I am extremely extroverted and the thought of making new friends was overwhelming so if you are more of an introvert know that going somewhere where you no absolutely no one is nerve racking for everyone so you are not alone. In the end, I found people who have impacted my life in countless ways and close friends for years to come, I just had to step outside my comfort zone. Go to your hall events, activities on campus, sporting events or anything to meet new people.

Strike up a conversation, whether it be about your major or how tired you are from freshman activities. Trust me, you will be asked to state your name, major and a fun fact about yourself a million times,  make the best out of it and put yourself out there, you’re stuck with these people for the next four years.

Lastly, step out of your comfort zone. I know for some people it is harder than others, but it is the only way you will have new experiences and get comfortable in your skin.

For me, my favorite hobby was watching Gilmore girls, eating Whataburger and having movie nights with friends. While it was nice for about the first semester, I wasn’t experiencing anything new or taking advantage of my newfound freedom.

Whether it is going to a football game with friends, attending one of many Tarleton events or just introducing yourself to new people, do it. In some sense, college is about exploration. You are finding out so much about yourself and what you want to do with your life. Staying in your dorm is not the way to do it, look outside the window and see what life has to throw at you.

I will leave you with one last piece of advice, which is absolutely do not step on the grass. This will be a phrase you hear the rest of your time at Tarleton and it is most definitely not a joke unless you want the purple poo to tackle you or steal your shoes.

College is one of the best times of your life, make the most of it while you can and make it something to remember.

And remember, Go Texans!

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