I remember Freshman orientation for High School and for College, and yet in the past few months, I seemed to have missed the orientation for life.
I was listening to one of my favorite Podcasts last week (Thick & Thin) and the host finally coined a term for this weird in between stage I (and many others) are experiencing as the freshman year of life.
We may not be carrying our lanyards around our necks (although I gracefully skipped that stage of college), but it feels like people can still spot us from a mile away. I’ve had so many instances since graduating where I’ve been condescended and talked down to, something I never felt the last few years in school.
I left college in the best possible way: thriving but ready for the next thing.
However, no one tells you how hard it is to leave your established community after 4 years of carefully building it. By the end of college, I served a role in the organizations I was involved in, I was known as a genuine and unapologetic person, I was fabulous, and I was making new friends till the very end.
I sure as hell didn’t start out like that though.
I started college with a group of hall mates that dwindled as the years went on, I made questionable fashion and hair color choices, I couldn’t take a selfie to save my life, and I was really hesitant to be myself in fear of judgement.
Just like I was figuring it out 4 years ago, I’m doing the same now, just on a different, much larger campus.
My freshman year of life consists of a volunteer internship opportunity. I just happen to be volunteering for myself to pay off student loans and for a move to NYC in a year. Housing is provided (via my parents) and I haven’t made many friends yet. I sure as hell feel like a freshman.
Since we didn’t get handy dandy survival guides upon graduation, here are 5 Ways to Survive your Freshman Year of Life:
1 . Keep In touch with your Genuine Friends
It doesn’t matter if your friends went straight to grad school, volunteering, or full time jobs, they all left their support systems when they graduated too. Who are the ones you really want to stay in contact with, who you’re willing to make an effort for, and who’s willing to make an effort for you.
Text them just cause, send cards, set up friend dates, and let people know you’re there even if you’re not close. We all need that support right now.
2 . Learn to be ok with being Alone
Life is terribly lonely turns out, like never before in my life have I understood why relationships could be so great. But we can’t make our comfort contingent on someone else, so it’s time to be ok with yourself.
Finds things to do alone that bring you joy, write down all the things you love about yourself, make up positive self-affirming mantras. Knowing and being content with yourself makes a lot of other things easier.
3 . Get a Library card
Be gone the days of all nighters (except for my grad school babes I’m sorry and I luv u) but libraries can still serve a major role in our lives. To cut down on the spending of money we don’t have, use a library card for books, movies, music. Libraries often have free events and other perks like free language softwares. Save money and keep being an intellectual.
4 . Pick small goals and run with them
I see this time as an opportunity to improve and change my lifestyle since moving into a different kind of schedule. I want to run my blog, exercise more, eat healthy, read more, learn a language, find a side hustle, and on and on and on.
As if this new time isn’t already overwhelming, there’s no reason to make our lives more stressful than they need to be.
So instead of forcing this large to do list on myself say I pick a few things like: aim to drink 4 full bottles of water a day and read a book a month. All manageable and simple enough to implement into my life. Good behavior will encourage and inspire other good behaviors.
5 . Find your passion project
You’re reading mine, so I guess I’m doing something right. Our first year out isn’t always going to be our first choice of what we could be doing, so keep the faith and have something you do in your downtime that helps fulfill your joy and purpose.
I get that from my blog, maybe you could try other crafts, writing, exercise, slam poetry: whatever floats your boat. The idea is to always have something that can keep you going even when everything else is hard.
The first year of anything is filled with awkward moments, lessons learned, and questionable choices but it’s all necessary for us to keep growing into the the kick ass person we are. Stay strong babes and power through, we’ve been around the freshman block before and we can do it again.