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Life Lessons Learned After My First Semester at SUNY Oswego

Kristen Burke reflects on her first Semester of college at SUNY Oswego.

Having just finished my first semester at SUNY Oswego, I feel my world has expanded greatly, as well as my knowledge both in my field (Public Relations) and in life. I thoroughly enjoyed my first few months at Oswego; I met so many amazing people, and learned a lot academically and about myself. For many seniors, now is the hardest time of senior year.

I remember it perfectly: the stress about college decisions. The applications are in, and the waiting game has begun. I recall checking my mailbox every hour and my email every few minutes. It’s so stressful and seems as if it will never end. Trust me, it gets better. It may seem that if you don’t get into your top college, the world will end. At first, it will be a tough blow, but I promise you, wherever you end up going will be the right place for you. And if it’s not the right fit for you, you can always transfer!

As you wait for the decisions from colleges, here are some things that I learned my first semester that I wanted to share. It seems like a long time from now, but these next few months will fly by very fast. Enjoy every minute here and prepare yourself for the most exciting time of your life!

Don't be afraid to try new things: you may fail, but that's okay! You'll never know if you don't try, each new experience is a new lesson learned.

Don't be shy, especially the first few days. Smile and say hi to everyone. Introduce yourself; ask people where they're from and what their major is. Leave your door to your dorm room open and if you see others with theirs open, stop in and say hi. 

Don't be afraid to eat alone in the dining hall, and don't be afraid to ask random people if you can join them. Vice versa, if you see someone eating alone, even if you don't know them, invite them to join your group!

Never be afraid to ask someone how they're doing if they look upset. Even if you don't know them, having someone ask you this simple question can make everything seem so much better. You might even make a new friend.

Keep in contact with your friends from home, but don't let it prevent you from being social in your new environment. Meeting new people will become difficult if you're in your room all day Skyping home.

Pay attention in class. Seriously, professors don't care if you do or not. So go ahead and take out your phone, nobody is going to be there to police you but yourself.

Go to class! You're literally paying approximately $19 a class (at least I am). Sure you can sleep in, but there goes $19.

Go to campus events! Try new things and get out there and meet new types of people. College is a melting pot of people from different places, backgrounds and beliefs and is your opportunity to expand your view on the world. Personally, I never enjoyed hockey, but since Oswego has a great team, I went to a bunch of games with friends and have found a new interest. 

If you're feeling homesick, get involved! Stay busy with people and activities. The first few days are hard, but everyone else is going through it with you so talk it out!

If you're having a problem, seek help. Talk to an RM, RA or hall director. Communication is key to solving any issue and any of these people will help you in any way they can. Be your own advocate.

There will be moments where you're frustrated and stressed and just want to go home and transfer. Keep calm, and remember why you fell in love with your school of choosing in the first place.

Read your syllabuses! Print them out and hang them up where you'll see them. It's different than high school, the professors will not tell you what is due for the next class, you are simply expected to know.

Manage your time. At first you have so much freedom and access to your friends and other stuff, it seems overwhelming. Enjoy time with people, but get your work done too.

Clean up after yourself. If you make a mess, nobody is going to come cleaning up after you. Be courteous to your neighbors and take care of your home.

Open communication with your roommate is very important. Discuss any issues and problems before they become unbearable.

Try to eat healthy! Yes it's hard when there are so many options available to you now, but don't indulge too much!

Sleep is very important. There will be nights you may go to bed at 4am, or not at all. But try not to make this a habit; it's a very hard one to break.

Enjoy your time in high school and live in every moment.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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