Northern Iowan

What I’ve learned during my freshman year

ABIGAIL BENNETHUM, Opinion Columnist

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Being a freshman here at UNI, I have learned a lot, and not just the directions from my dorm room to $5 Pizza.

Before coming to college, I thought I knew a lot and just assumed that the first year on my own was going to be a stroll in the park. In the spirit of this year only having a quarter left, I thought I’d write a little bit about what stood out to me being a freshman.

The first thing that makes me think of this year as a whole would be the dorms. Being stuck in a 12 x 13-foot room with somebody you barely know is such an experience. No one should pass it up. I’ve thought a lot about why we are in these dorms with people we barely know and why we don’t have air conditioning. I have come to the answer: No matter how much you want to put a brave face on and say you have this all handled, you really don’t. So, I think the answer is that there will be a time where you are going to need somebody, and what better person to have than somebody in a small room with you at all times who is likely to be going through the same thing.

Now, you are probably sighing wherever you are reading this, thinking, “Not everybody has the best roommate experience,” and to that, I say, “you are right.”

However, let’s face it, good roommate experience or not, being on a floor with 50 other people, you are bound to meet somebody you get along with.

Friendship can be a tricky thing sometimes. However, the aspect of friendship and the importance of it when you’re on your own gets really enhanced. Going from high school to college, I was shocked at the change. For example, some people can go from talking major crap in high school to being one of the most genuine people in the matter of a 3-month break between graduation and the start of college. I think there is such a change in behavior because of the realization that, in the grand scheme of things, none of the pettiness matters. There is finally a fresh start from being in a town where you have seen the same people every day for the last 18 years of your life.

Now, I don’t want to say college is a magical time with magical friends and no hardships. If I did, I’d be lying. There are so many bumps in the road. One of the things that hit me the most is if you aren’t in the right area of study, you should probably find where you do fit in and go there.

This doesn’t just apply to freshman, but to everybody!

Being somewhere you aren’t fit for is so incredibly mentally and emotionally draining making you feel unmotivated and not excited for your future. This is coming from somebody who thought she had her whole life planned out. But let me tell you, once you do find where you want to be, everything that was once a worry clears up in an instant. The hard work is still hard, but you find a purpose in it.

The last thing I learned worth mentioning is that it’s a brand-new experience, not one of us have yet navigated. If things don’t work out the way you planned, it is okay. Nobody knows what they are doing and we are all just trying to make it through the day. If something doesn’t work out in your favor, more likely than not, it is for a reason. Whether it is a relationship, job opportunity, or even having to skip out on something that seems like the most important thing that day. Life goes by so fast, and the time is now for late night adventures, self-discovery, finding friendships, pulling all-night study sessions and maybe just having a little too much fun, all while finding that balance that you need to succeed.

I hope your freshman year was filled with laughs and good memories with self-discoveries and lessons learned. Even if you are reading this long past your freshman year, I hope you smile at all the memories. To all my peers going through this first year, I am glad we could all go through this rite of passage together.

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What I’ve learned during my freshman year