50 Things I Learned Freshman Year

This first year of college has flown by so quickly. Even with it being finals week, I find myself procrastinating by reflecting on what the Lord has done for me since August when I arrived. There is no doubt that I’m going home this summer a different person.I’m very happy and very excited to go home, but there is also a lot of sadness in leaving, especially because I won’t be back on campus as a student until Fall of 2015. What has this city on the hill taught me in the last year.

1. Naps are a magical gift from God delivered by a chubby naked baby with wings wrapped in a bright red bow.

2. The Office is (without a doubt) one of the greatest sitcoms that graced American cable.

3. It’s really hard to study in the dorm rooms. There are way too many distractions.

4. Always be grateful when the WiFi is running smoothly without any glitches.

5. Don’t be too quick to judge anyone. You never know the kind of struggles they are going through.

6. Family doesn’t end with blood. I have to thank my household sisters for teaching me that.

7. St. Michael the Archangel is one of the coolest saints I have ever met. Get to know him because he is a boss.

8. The same goes for St. Joseph. The man literally raised God. He’s pretty awesome too.

9. College has a lot of free t-shirts to offer. And they’re actually really cool and creative (Thank you Troubadours, March for Life, Gaudete, Last Class Luau, and Student Government)!

10. Colorado has no idea what cold is like. The cold in Ohio literally touches your bones. In Colorado, you go inside when it’s cold and you warm up right away. In Ohio, you go inside, and it takes at least 10 minutes to defrost yourself.

11. Working out is so much more than just trying to get the perfect body. It can be so much more fruitful and more than just a physical action.

12. Always keep a full stock of White Cheddar CheezeIts, Twizzlers, Mug Cakes, Cheesy Noodles, Annie’s White Cheddar Mac’N’Cheese, Chi Tea, and Cream Pie. If one or all of these things run out, it’s a sad thing indeed.

13. The bookstore’s stuff is so ridiculously overpriced. I got a book for $5.00 on Amazon that was $26.00 at the bookstore. This includes textbooks, guitar strings, luggage, everything.

14. Priests and religious people are wonderful. Believe it or not, they are not all the same. They have their own personalities and funny quirks. Get to know some, because they are awesome.

15. If an opportunity comes your way, do not be afraid to take it and run with it, even if it seems beyond your reach.

16. You are your own harshest critic. I learned this when I wrote my post for the chastityproject.com. I sent it in several weeks before it was posted. While waiting, I decided to re-read it and immediately thought, “I cannot believe I sent them this crap?!” Luckily, people seemed to like it.

17. It’s not a good idea to procrastinate. Deadlines come and go so fast and you’ll really regret it if you let that happen.

18. Rugby is far more superior than football. ‘nough said.

19. It is very, very easy to over pack. No, you really don’t need that extra set of sheets and towels or an entire shelf of books. You do laundry and just stick the sheets right back on the bed, and you don’t have time to read all of those books. Choose two or three and if you (by some miracle) get through them, just raid your roommate’s books! (Chances are they’re not reading them either)

20. Kids grow up really fast. I left for school and came back four months later and my brother was literally a foot taller with a deeper voice and pimples. The heck?

21. Learning how to play the guitar is really cool! It’s become an escape for me and it’s kind of cool to brag about.

22. A year after leaving the high school speech and debate team, I’m very out of practice when it comes to public speaking. I should probably get back on mastering those skills again…

23. You don’t have a come to Franciscan and just be a Theo/Cat major. There is so much more to the school than those departments. The nursing department is amazing and cranks out some really great nurses. The education department is huge and the student in that program do really well. The Communications department is fabulous as well.

24. Guys get broken hearted too and sometimes just need to rant. There is no need to be caught off guard if they do. Just be there for them.

25. The social aspect of high school really doesn’t matter in college. Nobody really cares anymore who hooked up with who in high school and who was considered cool and popular then. The world is a big place, and if you’re stuck in high school, you might miss out on how awesome college is.

26. Twenty bucks is a lot of money. If you have a 20, hold onto it and never let go!

27. I am more like my mother than I thought I was when I left in the best ways possible. When I’m stressed, I clean my room. Mom does the same thing which used to drive me crazy, but now I can sympathize.

28. Quarters are a rarity in college. But they are so necessary when doing laundry or getting a snack from the vending machines in the academic buildings between classes. Bring a huge ziplock bag of them every semester no matter how much security at the airport or your friends judge you. You’ll regret not bringing a bag when you are running around campus trying to find a machine that has enough quarters to break your $5.00. (Hint: if you do end up in that situation, go to the vending machines, put your money in a vending machine and hit return change, it’ll return the money to you in all quarters. Magical!)

29. Be thankful for two-ply toilet paper. I’m not kidding, it’s one of the things I really, really missed about home.

30. Treat yourself every once in a while. Nothing huge, but you deserve it!

31. You don’t have to go to every event on campus. School comes first.

32. As weird as they may be in the classroom, most professors are really cool and awesome when you visit them in their office. They tend to get bored during their office hours. Visit them if you need help, they are really nice about it and more than willing to help.

33. You can’t choose your family. Especially not your extended family. Love them for everything they are including the good, bad, and the ugly.

34. It’s okay to do something crazy every once in a while, like shoving balloons up your shirt and taking fake pregnant pictures with your best friend to recreate when you’re actually pregnant or wake up 2:00 in the morning to watch history in the making, when Pope Francis canonizes Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII, with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI present.

35. Don’t put off laundry. You’ll regret it when you have to do four loads to get it all done. It eats up those quarters!

36. Don’t let your earring holes fill in even a little bit because it really hurts to re-pierce them when they are partially closed.

37. Appreciate the opportunities you have to go off campus. They are rare when you are a freshman, but much needed.

38. You don’t really know stress until you get to college. When I think about it, I was never truly that stressed in high school. College takes stress to a whole new level.

39. Get to know the history of your school. It’s cool knowing its story and gives you a greater appreciation for it as a whole.

40. Drink lots and lots of water. You feel better when you do. I was never good about drinking water as a kid, but now I think it is the best stuff in the world!

41. Don’t be afraid to do things for you. I spent a lot of time wondering how my decision to go to Washington for a semester next spring instead of back to Franciscan would affect my relationships with my friends and the activities I’m involved in. It took a friend telling me to go to Washington for me, not for anybody else, to ultimately decide it was what I should do.

42. Keep your computer updated with all the latest programs because after a while, it will get mad at you and not want to connect to the internet and you may not be as lucky as I was to have nice IT people who are willing to fix it at no charge.

43. Having a boyfriend in college or looking for the “MRS” degree isn’t everything. What I really need is someone who is able to keep up with me, my schedule, and my weirdness.

44. Playing sports is actually really, really fun when you have the right people playing. Go Weapons!

45. Franciscan is not that different than other colleges. We’re just all Catholics with Christian values and morals. There are the hippies with the long skirts and hair who wear rosaries as ankle bracelets, that guy that always has a guitar who knows every Matt Maher song by heart, the Matrix wannabes, the extremely pale girl who is always in the library, the guys who never leave the gym but don’t appear to be doing a lot of working out, the guy with the ponytail, the girl who is involved in literally everything, the girl who always has snacks, the RA who takes their job way to seriously, the guys who always seem a hungover, the guy who doesn’t study or work hard but is still somehow able to graduate with honors, and so, so many more. I could have a lot of fun making a list.

46. Your family’s lives will go on without you home. They’ll miss you a lot, but they are still going to take an awesome vacation to Florida without you, but it’s okay, you’ll get live an entire semester in Europe without them. Love you guys!

47. Be wary of your actions. You never know who you may be hurting.

48. Do something you wouldn’t normally have the guts to do. For me, that was praying outside of an abortion clinic. It was really hard spiritually and emotionally but I am so glad that I went the few times that I did and wish I did it more often.

49. You meet friends in some of the most unexpected ways, whether it be while beat writing endless Student Government meetings for the Troubadour or while filling out applications together at the job fair, you just never know.

50. Finally, I learned the most about myself. I learned that I am a risk taker, I like surprising people and myself with what I can do, whether it be writing a story in a couple hours about a fire scare in an academic building without an adequate amount of training or resources or leads; writing a post for a blog known around the world; making the decision to leave everything I know and live in a new country for a whole semester; surprising someone I love with 50 cat facts all over her side of the room; praying outside of an abortion clinic; fearlessly knock on strangers doors to promote a political candidate. Even the choice to leave my family and friends in Colorado to live in Ohio (of all places) without any inclination what the Lord was calling me to do with my time in college was a huge risk. People are different here, the air is different here (literally), the lifestyle is different. But I’m glad I decided to make the move.

I’m going to miss Ohio like crazy next year. I’m spending the fall semester studying in Austria, then taking an internship in Washington D.C. for the spring semester, which means I won’t be walking around as a true student at Franciscan for a little while. I admit it makes me sad thinking about that because this hill is my absolute favorite place in the whole world. This year has been long and difficult. Many temptations have risen that I haven’t had to face before and a lot of insecurities resurfaced. However, the Lord blessed me with such amazing opportunities that I will be forever grateful for. If you were to tell me a year ago everything that has happened this year, I would find it difficult to believe. Never in a million years did I think I would go to Austria so soon, write a blog for one of my favorite organizations, win writer of the year, or make friendships that will last a lifetime. I wouldn’t take back a single moment of any part of the year. Despite the stress and the struggles, I wouldn’t want to have any of them anywhere else.

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