10 Things I Learned During My Freshman Year

Today was my last day of classes as a college freshman. It’s incredible to think how fast the year has gone by, even though time often dragged. I started my first year at Baylor not knowing anyone (besides a few of my dad’s friends) and I was terrified. I had wanted to go to Baylor from the time I was a freshman in high school and it was scary to go to school with high expectations and without any friends. While most of my Kamehameha classmates went to schools on the west coast with fellow alumni, I was starting a new year completely alone. However, I don’t regret my choice to come to Baylor and I feel like I’ve grown immensely throughout the year! Here are 10 things I learned during my freshman year:

  • Always say hi- I know how hard it is to make friends after going to school with the same people for 10 years, but it’s not difficult to greet students you pass by on your way to class. Sometimes, the people you say hi to can become great friends.
  • It’s okay if you decide to change your major- Before I came to Baylor I decided that I would major in journalism in order to become a sports journalist or announcer. After taking a few journalism classes over the past two semesters, I discovered how much I despise journalistic writing. While I can easily write a blog post or essay, I never feel the same sense of excitement when I approach a feature story or event article. After researching my options, I’ve decided to change my major to professional writing. It often seems like everyone around you knows exactly what they’re doing but most times, that’s not the case. Everyone doubts their major and their interests so don’t feel bad if you’re going through the same apprehension! Change your major if you want to and ultimately, do what makes you happy.
  • Feeling homesick is completely natural- A lot of people at Baylor are from Texas, so they’re able to go home every weekend or so. When I would see students packing their cars to go home for the weekend or for a break I often felt extremely envious. It’s truly difficult to be away from Hawaiʻi for four months at a time and feeling sad and homesick is natural. The best way to combat the homesickness is by calling your family and friends. You’ll feel better after and they’ll feel appreciated and thought about. 
  • Get involved on campus as early as possible- My dad encouraged me to join band as that’s where I spent most of my time from elementary to high school. Although I protested against doing marching band and complained as much as I could, I’m eternally grateful that he pushed me to do it. I’ve never been interested in sororities and I’m not an athlete, so I don’t know where I would have initially found my place in college had I not joined band. Even though I’m not going to continue next year, I made some great friends and memories throughout the year, which I wouldn’t trade for the world. I just think it’s time for me to try something new and experience different things in the next three years. I’ve gotten a job starting in the fall and I’m excited to join a few clubs and organizations focusing on mentoring, community service, theater, etc. (Hopefully a student worker position on the football team opens up soon as well!)
  • Find the perfect study spot- Most students study outside of their dorm rooms, but I haven’t found a better place for me to complete my work. I don’t like being surrounded by other people when I do homework, so I’ve found that the desk in my bedroom is the perfect study spot for me. If you can’t study in your room, try a table outside or at the library!
  • Make time to have fun- Although college is a lot more difficult than high school, it’s important to tuck away some time for activities and friends. Going to Baylor men’s basketball games  helped me power through the long weeks in January and I wouldn’t give that time up for anything.
  • Stay in touch with professors you connect with- I didn’t have the best relationship with my first semester English professor but I had to enroll under her supervision again this semester. We didn’t see eye-to-eye at first, but she has become my favorite professor who has taught me so much about literature and writing. Even though I won’t have her again next year, I will make it a point to stay in touch with her because relationships with professors prove to be invaluable. Their knowledge and mentorship are some of the best parts of college.
  • Write down every memory and feeling you have during the year- I’ve always had a journal, but I didn’t realize how important it is to collect my thoughts until recently. College goes by so quickly and if you don’t record the events that shape you or the ideas you have, it’s easy to forget them.
  • College requires a lot more work than high school- I worked decently hard in high school but I didn’t expect college classes to have so much work. I often have a few essays, projects and tests due in the same week and the amount of items on my to-do list is always daunting. During my first college year I’ve learned how to have better study habits and work harder on my homework. Even if you were a standout student in high school, college is a new beast that requires immensely more work.
  • Don’t feel the need to find replicas of your friends from home-When I got to Baylor I expected to find exact replicas of my best friends, but that’s not what happened. It’s not fair to compare your lifelong friends at home with people you become close to in college. Treasure both friendships equally.