Congratulations! You have successfully survived your first semester of college. The time has flown and you’re going home for your first college winter break. Now it’s time to reflect and think about what you actually learned after first semester.
Hopefully you learned something new in your classes, but college is really all about those life skills. We’ve decided what you need to know but also what you don’t need to know after first semester. If you haven’t mastered what you should know, we’ll extend the deadline to May. As for the things you don’t need to know, wipe that sweat off your forehead and relax. It’s winter break!
What You Should Know
1. How to do your laundry
This is number one because this is a basic life skill that you really need to figure out ASAP. You should have figured this out way sooner than college, but some wait until one month into their first year away from home to figure it out. Use cold water for bright colors, hot water for whites. Set a timer so people don’t take your wet clothes out of the washer. All those basic things about laundry that are simply crucial for your existence as a college student.
Photo via University Life Cafe
2. Where you study most efficiently
There is no more kitchen table to study at, and studying in your bed is an unrealistic expectation that ends in Netflix. Figuring out where you study well is as important as the actual studying itself. Is it a coffee shop? A nook in the library? Your quad? One of the study lounges around campus?
3. How to handle your alcohol
Not that you should be drinking at all, but, um… just make sure you figure this one out before spring semester begins. No more “I’m a freshman” excuses.
4. Who is worth your time
One of the great things about getting older is having fewer, closer friends than several sorta-kinda friends. Don’t waste a minute on someone who doesn’t respect you.
5. Your RA
If you haven’t already, you should definitely get to know your RA because he/she is going to be helpful to you for any questions you have about what clubs to join, how to get internships, what classes to take, and if they don’t know the answer, they are going to be able to find someone who does. Your RA truly cares about your well being and success, so reach out to them.
What You Don’t Need to Know (Quite Yet)
1. Your major
If you have already declared and figured this out, that is awesome. For the undecided folks, CHILL. You’re good. You have time to decide, and a lot of colleges don’t require you to decide the first year anyways. You can also switch majors if need be. There is this weird idea that makes it seem like you have to know your major the first day of freshman year, but that’s not the case at all. Don’t let weird-societal pressure get to you about your major.
2. Your dream career/company
Listening to people talk about how they want to be a specialist doctor in a disease not many people know about or that they want to work for Goldman Sachs in a specific position in approximately 8.67 years from now, can make you feel like you should have a specific dream goal like that. Well, newsflash, that’s not the case. College is about figuring out what you’re passionate about. You don’t need to already know your passions and have a career plan.
Photo via Career Coaching Map
3. Your ten-year plan
Ten years ago you weren’t even 10! Did you know what college you would end up at then? Ten years out is too far to plan — so much can happen in ten years, and life is too unpredictable to really try to plan. This is not worth stressing over.
4. What you want in a relationship
The confusing and messy part of your life that involves relationships is something that won’t be figured out for a while. Do you want a serious relationship, a casual relationship, nothing, something in between? Who knows? Who cares? Just respect the people you do choose to date, and you’ll figure out what you want and what you’re looking for eventually (that’s what I’m banking on at least). I do know for sure that right after one semester of college, you don’t need to know this.
5. Other existential questions that aren’t worth losing sleep over
What is life? What’s my purpose on Earth? What’s the key to happiness? Who am I? What makes me different? Everyone goes through their college existential crisis, but don’t expect to find all the answers before your 20. Actually, go ahead and expect that any sliver of an answer you find in the future will most likely change. Life is crazy and confusing. Don’t lose sleep over answer-less questions.
Photo via The Prospect
What did you learn first semester of college?
Feature Photo via University of Utah