Hey everyone, I know it’s been a while since I wrote something not related to sports. A big reason why I started this blog with Matt and Bob was to put myself out there and I’ve lost sight of that recently. While it’s incredibly fun to make jokes about the quality of a degree from Florida State or the lack of racial tolerance at Southern state schools, I’m going to step back and write a post with the purpose of building up instead of tearing down (shocking, right?).

For years, I looked forward to going to college; I’m sure I wasn’t the only one. Now that I’m here, it’s great. All the aspects of college I looked forward to—being able to supervise myself instead of having adults do it for me, constantly being surrounded by peers, taking classes I actually want to take, THE 70 AND 80 DEGREE TEMPERATURES IN DECEMBER <3, just to name a few—are here and I’m having a blast. But not quite everything is total sunshine and roses. What I’m here to say is that’s totally okay! While you may look at your high school friends’ Facebook walls and just see all of the fun they seem to be having 24/7, the college transition is not easy or simple by any means.

If you’re enjoying literally everything about college, I’m genuinely happy for you. But the message of this post is a simple one: if you’ve had some ups and downs in your first semester away at college, you’re not just totally fine, you’re in the vast majority of us. I’ve made a brief list (not at all inclusive) of some less than spectacular things I’ve experienced while I’ve been here at the U. If you have experienced any of the following things and felt bad about yourself because of them, don’t. I guarantee you and I are far from alone in experiencing these things.

Eating alone in the dining hall sometimes– I know it’s no fun to walk into the dining hall by yourself to get food and see others sitting in pairs or groups. You may feel antisocial, neglected or lonely. Worse, maybe even pathetic. While it may feel like you’re wearing flashing lights and a giant sign saying “I’M EATING THIS DINING HALL MEAL ALL BY MYSELF LOOK AT ME”, you’re not. No one is going to notice and judge you, mainly because at some point everyone has to do this. Eating alone in the dining hall at some meals doesn’t mean you have no friends. Class and activities vary a lot from person to person in college and sometimes all your friends are just busy. It happens to the best of us. Don’t sweat it.

You get kicked across the street from campus to the Holliday Inn for a week because bed bugs spread to your room from the floor below you– Okay, maybe this one really is just me.

Not being able to get into parties– Ladies, you can go ahead and skip to the next item. Any guys that had fall semester rush or go to school in the Midwest probably can too. For the rest of us, yeah it sucks that you can’t get into frats unless you have at least a 5-to-1 ratio and know a brother (standard rules at Miami). But there are plenty of us sharing the exact same experience and all you have to do is get to rush next semester. So close! To make things easier, just know if you somehow get into a party as a first semester freshman, some Pike brother is just going to roofie and steal your girl anyway. (Side note: If your school doesn’t have a Greek system—hey Catholics!—all you have to do is transfer. Just kidding. I’m sure others at your school are in the exact same spot and eventually you all will figure it out.)

Your school is so cool, has the best location and has winter weather straight out of heaven so you feel bad for all of your friends that don’t attend it– Darn, how do the ones that are just for me keep getting in here?

Feeling like you will never be able to make college friendships as strong as your high school ones– Look, we had literally over a decade to build our friendships back at home. We’ve been at college for a little over two months. It’s only natural to miss your friends at home, but your friendships at school will develop and strengthen over time. Here’s something else: think about all of your best high school friends. Weren’t there at least a couple that you didn’t bond with until after freshman year? As shocking as this may be to some, Matt, Bob and I didn’t hang out on a regular basis until junior year. (Cut to everyone doing this.) There’s a decent chance you haven’t even met your best college friend yet.

Feel good about yourself, fellow freshmen! You’re not weird or pathetic because you’ve experienced any of these things, you’re just in a transition like everyone else.

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