Goal Digger: The Freshman 15
By: Kayla Denise Thomas
With the summer into fall transition of the year, not only is the smell of pumpkin spice in the air but college students are either going away for the first time or returning to college for another semester. Let us be the cheer squad for you saying “Go you!”
Going away for the first time can be pretty nerve wracking. You’re on your own, it’s up to you to manage your time and bring balance to your life.
College is also a time of tremendous self-discovery, you learn more about yourself in this environment than you have thus far. You’ll make memories and meet people who can last a lifetime. Sometimes it even feels like they get you more than anyone else you’ve grown up with. Sounds crazy? Believe me I know it does, but wait until you live it. Tell me then if it’s truly crazy.
In this article, I’m going to present you with the new Freshman 15. I know a lot of times “The Freshman 15” is something we correlate with gaining 15+ new pounds once we enter our freshman year but I’m about to rewrite that. Also keep in mind, you can apply most of these not only to starting college but also to just an overall new season in your life. Maybe you got a new job in a new city or maybe you just want a total reset. We can get through it together.
Let’s do this:
- Don’t be afraid to break out of your comfort zone
I know that this one alone can be the hardest one on this list, especially if you’re shy or just an overall introvert. This can also be one of the most rewarding ones if you can accomplish it. Doing some of the things that make you the most uncomfortable can really catapult you to bigger and better things.
- Don’t be afraid to meet new people
This can definitely help you out if you are going to a college not in your hometown or if you are just in a job in a different city or environment. It will help you feel like you have a bit of a cushion as you go through your semester/season. Some people you meet in this period will become irreplaceable even after college and will cement their place in your life as a lifelong friend.
- Please take care of yourself!
In this period of self-discovery, self-care and self-love have never been more important to you. While this season in your life is so eye-opening, you will also have your ups and downs coupled with your times of stress. Something that helps this is making sure you are taking care of yourself. True enough the Freshman 15 is real with weigh gain but you can combat that by sticking to a workout plan. Take care of yourself mentally by taking some time to yourself to meditate and self-evaluate. Don’t neglect your emotionally health either, if you need a breakdown and cry, do so and power through. This can also be a big time for you spiritually if you want it to.
- Find your balance
While yoga is always a good idea, I’m talking about your time management balance. Make sure you aren’t always closing yourself off in your room and not breathing every once in a while. A good balance is key to thriving in any new environment.
- Do your work!
I am here to tell you now, if you think you can put your homework or big projects off until the last-minute, you can’t. I’m so serious, this is a whole new ball game. New team, new players, and new rules. Same goes for studying for tests/midterms/finals. You can’t pass just by cramming the night before, some will be cumulative and some will be just over certain sections but professors are good at throwing curve balls. Oh and group work? Pull your weight.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Many colleges, universities and even some jobs have career success like facilities. Utilize these places, they can be majorly beneficial. Whether you think you need tutoring, help with writing papers, assembling a resume, the whole nine yards can be helped if you ask. Goes for classes you’re struggling in, don’t be afraid to reach out to your professors or peers who are quickly getting it.
- Take chances
Always been interested in a cooking class? Maybe you think learning how to shoot archery would be interesting. Check into some electives you can take that are pretty general so you can try some new things. Same goes with going to interest meetings for clubs or organizations that you may be on the fence of joining. There’s no harm in trying right?
- Don’t be afraid to fail
When I say fail, I don’t necessarily mean whole classes but maybe your classification of failure is making a C or D on a test or assignment. From “failing,” you will always learn something different. Maybe you auditioned for a role in a play or tried out for a sports team to walk on, failure teaches you what you can do better the next go around.
- You’re going to grow as a person, things are going to change. Embrace that.
I know change can be scary especially when it involves you as a person evolving into a different version of yourself, but those changes are going to lead you down a path you never could have imagined for yourself or maybe just where you wanted to be all along. During this change though, you’ll most like either encounter some temporary people or you’ll learn some of the people you already have around you were temporary from the start. If you start losing people, don’t fret, just means that they weren’t meant to be with you in the next chapter of your life.
- Listen to Yourself
Often times, your gut feeling will be the driving force behind a lot of your decisions. The important thing is to listen to that voice. That little voice in the back of your head telling you that you may need to sit this Thirsty Thursday night out, may be what’s best for you. If that same little voice is telling you to read over that chapter one more time, may mean subliminally that you missed something when you read it the first time. Your inner voice will rarely steer you astray.
- Umm…so about those 8am classes…
Let me just tell you that although you had to take early morning classes in high school, doesn’t mean you have to keep that trend going. In fact, you’re body, mind, soul, and sanity will thank you if you got some extra sleep in the mornings.
- Get involved on/in the campus/office
Always interested in a club in high school but didn’t take the chance to join? Don’t repeat that mistake in college. You can open some amazing opportunities for yourself and meet some amazing people just by putting yourself out there. In the office front, if they have teams that are over different things like celebrations for birthdays, budgeting, whatever the deal is and if you are good at it, go ahead and volunteer. You could possibly even strengthen those skills for future job opportunities.
- Major in what you love, not what THEY say you’ll be good in
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to either A) pick a major/career based solely on money or B) pick a major/career based solely on an aptitude test or quiz. I mean think about it, you’re interests or test grades can change every semester but something you have a passion for can last forever. Money isn’t all there is to life either, sure it can buy things or give you status but can it truly make you happy? Some people who make the most figures can be the most unhappy and unsatisfied with where they are in life.
- You don’t HAVE to party
Even if the Princeton Review says that you go to one of the top party schools or if your new job puts you smack dab around the corner from the entertainment district. It’s not all that essential to your experience where you are. Don’t feel pressured to attended whatever Project X like party.
- Don’t let Finish in Four and #TeamNoBreaks stress you out
In my personal experience, Finish in Four was pushed heavily when I was going through and coming out of high school, not by my family but by the school attended and the majority of the colleges coming to speak with us. Over the years, I’ve seen plenty or all colleagues of mine stress themselves out trying to absolutely finish undergrad in four years or to finish undergrad and grad school in like five and half. If you can do that, more power to you, but everyone is different. Everyone is going to respond to college life and the college work load differently also everyone’s collegiate path is going to be different based on what you chose. Don’t overwork yourself.
There’s the Goal Digger Freshman 15, remember that these college years or just new season overall can literally be one of the best times of your young adult life. You’ll grow, you’ll learn, you’ll fail but most of all you’ll be an amazing version of you.