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how to handle your first college semester

High school teachers love to tell you how college is "so different" and that "college professors won't put up with this." They're wrong. Yes, college is different. No, it's not as bad as they say it will be.

Honestly, college has been the best experience of my life. That doesn't mean it's been easy though. I'm going to give my advice for some of the hardest parts of college.

Sleep. They all say you can only have 2: sleep, social life, or good grades, never all 3. Yeah, they're right.

I think I've found the perfect formula for sleep though, even if you only get 3 hours. Each REM Stage lasts about an hour and a half (don't quote me on that, I just googled it one time). Your amount of sleep should be in multiples of 1.5. One time I got home at 3 a.m. and went to bed at 4. I woke up at 7, and I wasn't nearly as tired as I should have been. Honestly, it might all be in my head, but it works.

So even if it's not real science, it totally makes me feel better about getting half as much sleep as I should. If you can't get a good amount of sleep, at least trick your brain into thinking you won't be tired.

Social Life. Having a good social life is definitely the hardest part of college, even if you're taking O-Chem and 15 other credits. I consider myself a fairly social person, and I only made one friend my first semester (so far). I met other people through old friends, but I only made one by myself. It was honestly so disheartening. Everyone I knew was making so many new friends so I just stopped trying.

I felt like I wasn't cool enough to make new friends. Honestly it's still hard some days to meet new people and not feel like everyone thinks I'm annoying and doesn't want to be friends with me. The best advice I can give for this, it takes time and it's okay to meet people through other people. Some of my favorite friends in college I made through other friends that I don't even talk to anymore.

So if you aren't a social butterfly, all you need is 30 seconds of courage to talk to someone who sits next to you in class, or a roommate who meets new people all the time. You don't have to make 40 new friends every week.

Good Grades. Towards the end of my high school career, my grades were absolutely horrendous. I hated class, I hated going to class, it felt so pointless. I was definitely a stereotypical high school burnout.

I was really scared I would get to college and it would be the same and I would hate class and fail my classes and have no job and make no money and I would end up on the streets. That is completely false and what we call slippery slope thinking. Anyways, I went to my classes and I hated them. I was majoring in Marketing and it was definitely not for me. I had a teenage-life crisis and I think I scared my roommates with the insane meltdown I had.

Then I changed my major and I didn't hate my classes. I actually loved them. I was so satisfied and thought my life was complete. Then I started to hate them again. So I changed my major. Again. Then I started to really love my classes. Actually love them. I didn't dread going to class every day. I was rarely on my phone because I truly loved to learn.

I think the best way to get good grades is to study what you're really passionate about. I realize not everyone has this luxury, but why waste your time on something you don't like, just do that same thing for the rest of your life? No amount of money from a higher paying job will be worth sacrificing your happiness.

Roommates. My living situation was honestly so perfect and fell right into place. My high school best friend was going to live with me. We were renting from her sister. It was cheaper rent than 99% of other places around. We found two cute girls that we already knew to live with us.

We moved in almost right after graduation. It was so perfect, for about a month. Then we started getting into little fights. That's normal so we brushed it off. Then we started getting in bigger fights.

Looking back, they all seem so dumb and easily fixable. In that moment it was totally word-shattering. Roommates are hard. I love mine to death, but it's not perfect and it never will be. We drafted a 12 page "Apartment Constitution" to help minimize our fights. Like the loft agreement from New Girl. It didn't work.

We had a couple big fights that really ruined the atmosphere in our apartment. I even considered moving out a few times. Living with your best friends is really hard.

Honestly, just don't live with people you love. Having random roommates will leave opportunities to make new friends. If it goes badly, at least you aren't ruining a friendship you cherish. Some people can make it work, but I will say it's not ideal. I wouldn't trade my experience for anything, but I also think the benefits of living somewhere else would have been a great experience.

College. There's no list of rules to follow to have a perfect college experience, believe me, I've looked. The only thing I can do is tell you what worked for me. Even then, my life isn't perfect. I still hate going to class some days. I still have a hard time in social settings pretty often. Some nights I sleep for 14 hours, and some nights I sleep for 2. I've learned to be satisfied with my life and how it is. Find what works for you and stick with it. Get your homework done by Thursday and have fun on the weekends. Do your homework on the weekends and go out during the week. Trial and error, prioritize, etc. College isn't easy, but it's not as bad as everyone tells you it will be. Good luck!

Song of the post: either way - Arden Jones

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