Everything you learn to appreciate after freshman year

I guess I’m an adult now?

So you’ve just completed your freshman year of college, woo hoo! There are so many things that have happened within the first year of leaving the nest, like meeting new friends, figuring out what you may or may not want to pursue career-wise and even discovering new qualities about yourself.

You’re different than you were last summer, and that’s OK. People’s priorities and morals shift during a time of growth, and what you learned your first year of college is something that can help you become the person you aspire to be. If you’re anything like me, these are some things I’ve grown appreciative of over this past year.


It’s been almost a year of not living at home, and while you may love the freedom of having no one tell you to clean your room, when to come home, or to do your homework, there’s just some things about your family that can’t be replaced. The quality time spent with family is priceless, and you start to appreciate all the little things your mom or dad does for you.

Health and taking care of yourself

The first year of college is filled with all sorts of madness, including tons of junk food and alcohol. It’s no wonder you’re breaking out all over your face and gaining weight. I used to be very active during my high school days. I’d go running on Saturday mornings, go to the gym right after school, eat fairly healthy meals and get a good night’s rest.

But the transition from high school to college disturbed my schedule and now I rarely work out. Most freshmen gain what’s known as the “freshman 15,” because you barely work out and Hot Pockets become a staple food item in your freezer.

Dorms can be both good and bad

Most people stay in dorms their first year of college because it helps you ease into the college routine. The pros of staying in dorms are that they are nearby all your classes (so you can afford to sleep in an extra five minutes) and it’s a great way to meet new people.

The cons are that you might have to share a community bathroom (ew), there’s hardly ever any privacy and it’s hard to make your favorite meals when you’re tired of the dining hall food. I was grateful for how close my dorms were to my classes (so I could nap if I wanted to), but I didn’t like how my dorm felt more like a hotel than my home for the next nine months.

New friends vs. old friends

The same friends you had in high school may not be as close to you as they once were. The large friend circle you once had begins to shrink, and you find yourself making time only for those you feel truly matter. Since you’re in college, most of the friends you make there become your lifelong friends because you get to see each other grow into different people.

My mom always said “be grateful for those you meet because you wouldn’t be the person you are without them”. Don’t forget about your high school friends, but realize it’s unrealistic to be friends with all of your high school friends in addition to your new college friends.

Money doesn’t grow on trees

Most of you may already know this, but COLLEGE IS EXPENSIVE. From membership fees to buying textbooks to paying for coffee, things add up and your bank account will take a major hit. You may no longer be an impulse shopper because you start to grow appreciative of the value of money. When living on a budget, you realize how valuable your money is and you learn when it’s appropriate to spend it.

UT Austin