What I Learned My First Semester of University.

Change is one of the only qualities in life we can expect to be unexpected. There is no plan the works out perfectly, which in my case led to an ever- changing first semester at Furman University. From early August to mid -November, I learned how to begin developing my life as a university student. I would never claim I became the perfect student through what I learned ,but it is certainly a start.

Lesson 1 : Get Involved, but not Overcommitted.

If you asked anyone who truly knew me my first semester at Furman what was one quality they has to describe me, “Busy” might have been one of the top responses. My classes ended by 11:30 everyday, which meant I had a lot of free-time ,so I thought. After joining over 10 organizations on campus, I felt as if my schedule was finally full enough to suppress my boredom. Little did I know that between time changes of these organizations would lead to an overbearing schedule, that started to become too complicated to balance social and academic life. It was not until the end of the semester when I saw my final GPA , that I realized how much my extra-circular life affected my academics. You just can not do it all.

Lesson 2 : Value your friendships while you have them. They will change.

You will find that friend that you can count on for anything, anytime, anywhere. I promise. But outside of that friend you have to accept the fact that everyone is still a college student going through changes of their own. Therefore, when your friends do change accept that. It might have to deal with drama (which you should work to fix before deciding wether or not it will work out) or maybe it was just too much time spent apart. Either way do not let it get you down because everyone faces it throughout their first semester at uni. When a friendship falls apart you should be upset ,but you should not regret the times you had with those people. You will never have moments like those moments again, so take them for their surface value at the least. A fun time with great people.

Friendships do not work without time commitment ,and it is something you need to calculate into your free time. Often, you will find yourself developing multiple groups of friends. While this is valuable since you are more likely than not going to be involved with different types of organizations on campus, having to many separate groups involves even more time management. If you create too busy of a schedule then it becomes too difficult to manage ,and you end up destroying friendships without meaning to no matter how much you valued that friendship.

Lesson 3 : You will not study enough if you only have one lonely study spot.

Some of the best advice I received upon arrive to Furman was to find your own study spot. What I did not realize is that only having one spot is not enough. Sometimes your spot is taken ,or you just become bored of it. On top of this, it never hurts to have a study buddy or few ,because in between focusing on assignments, you often find yourselves joking about how hard your classes are or some other thing going on in your lives. I would argue that study buddies are one of the best ways to help balance both your academic and social life if you know how to do it well. Just do not forget that the reason you are there is to get academic work done, so run your essays by each other.

Lesson 4 : Be okay with listening to yourself.

It is okay to struggle and recognize you are struggling. At any school like Furman, you are expected to be involved and excel in our academics. It is being the all-around highly involved, strongly academic student, that is the standard. If you find your self under so much pressure and do not listen to your body you could end up in colder water than you started. It is okay to take a break to email someone that you are overexerting yourself and need a break. Not that you can do this for classes, but for extracurriculars, they often understand. I did not take advantage of this during the past semester, which caused problems such as sleep deprivation and stress. It is all about learning how to balance what is enough for yourself. It is also okay to email your professors, especially at a smaller school. They want to get to know you as an individual. If you talk to them about your struggles, you are more likely to create a bond with that professor who will help you get through your academic struggles.

P.S. DO NOT FORGET ABOUT THE GYM. It is an amazing way for your body to relax. Not to mention you’ll look and feel amazing after the post-workout shower.

Lesson 5 : Take random adventures

Wether it’s a weekend trip or 3am car ride nothing creates a bond stronger than just unplanned adventure. Some of my favorite memories from this semester came from events that where barely planned, if at all. I learned you only really need about 10 minutes to pack a suitcase after all. Do not be afraid to step out of your own boundaries. Your new friends will be there to catch you if you fall. After a laugh of course.

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