September 10, 2013

Surviving the First Weeks of College

Hello everyone! It's been quite a while since I've been able to sit down and write a nice long post, but I have finished most of my other work beforehand so that I could finally take some time out and update you about what I've been up to lately, which is something that is only fair since you guys showed so much support during the series Get Ready For College With Me.

Just thought this was a cool pic from
A former Astronomy teacher said that there's not really that big of a difference between classes in high school and classes in college. I actually agree with him on this one. University professors aren't more brilliant or enlightening by any drastic measure. Each one has their own style, and some styles are better than others, just like high school teachers. With that said, my classes aren't too bad this semester; my most challenging class would have to be Calc II just because the pace is pretty intense (I do think it's worth it, though!).

Even though the classes themselves aren't that different, it doesn't mean that a lot of other things have changed.

The biggest adjustment I had to make was moving from a quiet home in the suburbs to a dorm that's right by a street in the city. Living here, there isn't much of an option to be antisocial and stay cooped up at home playing video games. There're usually people getting food together, wanting to do homework, wanting to go to other places on campus--most of the first friends I made are the ones that live with me because I see them every day. I also find myself going out now that the excuse of having a long drive has been eliminated--our campus is a relatively small one, so everything is within walking distance and I've had so much fun going to sports games, attending Christian events, visiting friends, and hitting the gym.

However, living in the dorms also has its cons because I found myself downscaling starting from all the space I could ever want within my parents' house to this:

Plus a wardrobe for my clothes.
So although there's an entire campus at my fingertips and my roommate is extremely considerate and sweet, my actual personal space is basically limited to my bed and desk. For me it's definitely a fair trade so far, though.

I've also found my personality changing due to the new environment. It is so much easier to make friends in college because you move from a place where everyone knew each other to a place where no one knows each other yet, so in general people are extremely open to one another. I have met more people than I could count within these first few weeks, and it's been an absolute blessing. I've also prayed to find some good friends and I'm starting to find those, too. 

My biggest advice to anyone who's struggling to make friends freshman year is to throw self-consciousness out the window and start saying "hi" to people. I actually went door to door through my entire hall introducing myself when I ran for a position in the inter-residence hall government. Although I didn't win, a majority of the people in my hall--from all five floors--recognize my name and face. At first, starting conversations takes some effort and courage, but eventually it becomes natural and people will start approaching you in return. (I'm planning to write a post about this sometime in the upcoming weeks, so please subscribe to see tips for making new friends even as an introvert!)

The second major change that I've experienced is that there are significant breaks in between classes. This presents opportunities to socialize, do work, take naps, and in my case blog. I am still deciding what clubs I can join and hopefully find a chance to start doing research with faculty, so I haven't made a handy dandy daily schedule yet, but hopefully that will come soon. Freshmen find themselves with a lot of spare time, but once they start getting involved on campus life picks up quickly. It's a process, but it's starting to happen for me, so I'm very excited about this year. Plus, being involved is another easy way to make friends on campus that have similar interests to you.

As far as the rest of my college experience up to this date goes...

I'm a part of a service community, and this semester I will be working with refugees, helping them learn English and possibly setting up new apartments for families to move into. I am so excited to be a part of this! My dorm also has a community time every Sunday evening, and last time we broke up into small groups and shared our stories. I basically shared the story that you guys know, and included all the inspirations for this blog. It helped me form connections with other people because each of their stories are also so unique and empowering to hear.

I've also enjoyed emailing and writing letters to my friends every week and reading about their new adventures. The people in my life are such a blessing, and right now I'm just so happy that I chose to come to this particular university. I hope that your experiences also feel full and special, too. I would love to hear about your lives, so please feel free to comment or send me an email at!

That's all I have to tell you guys in this post. Thank you for visiting today and I hope you have a fantastic week!
-Riley XO


  1. This post is very helpful as I am leaving for College a week today! It is great to hear such a positive account of starting, makes me feel a lot more confident about it! Thank you for your post!


  2. Thanks for your comment, Olivia! Good luck with your journey in college and I wish you all the best! :)

  3. As I am currently doing college apps right now, I got a lot of peace from reading this. Thanks :)

  4. Enoma--Thank you for reading and I wish you the best with college apps! I pray that you will find the place that is perfect for you. :)


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