Building Community: Lessons I Learned Freshman Year

By Allison Todd on March 2, 2018

College is a new adventure, and freshman year is filled with exciting twists and turns to branch out and meet new people. But, sometimes the relationships you find, aren't the ones you quite expected. And what about the high school friends you left behind?

Here are five lessons I learned about relationships during my freshman year.

Top 5 Lessons from Freshman Year

1. Your Resident Assistant is not the enemy.

When I first came to college, I was pretty sure the RA, or resident assistant, was just the person walking around making sure everyone was following all the rules. Buzzkill. While I'm not usually someone who gets in trouble, I thought college was supposed to bring more freedom and feel less like "big brother" protection. And while the RAs do make sure you are safe, they can actually double as great friends.

I knew absolutely no one when I stepped onto campus that first day. I got the pleasure of living right next door to my RA and quickly formed a new friendship. I could rely on her when I felt lonely, needed a laugh or just wanted a buddy to binge-watch a few hours of Netflix with.

Soon enough, you'll find your RA to be much more than a rule enforcer and maybe even a blessing.

2. Your professors are here to help.

College professors can be intimidating, but the truth is they want to see you succeed. Getting to know those who have come before you, in your profession, is a great learning tool to see what your future career holds. Utilize their office hours when professors advertise them.

Building relationships with professors is about more than just finding a way to succeed in your classes. They want to know who you are, as well as some of the mountains and valleys of your day.

Don't be afraid to ask for advice or share some news from your own life, too.

3. Your roommate might not end up being your best friend.

It's pretty exciting to get that email a month before move-in day and learn for the first time who your roommates are going to be. For some, this is the meeting of your new best friend with whom you'll combat the next four years. For others, it may not be quite the friendship match you had in mind.

While I was friends with my freshman year roommates, we definitely had others outside of the four dorm room walls. And that's okay! Your roommate does not have to be your best friend, and on the flip side, your best friend does not have to be your roommate.

4. Your friends may change.

On student orientation weekend, you will feel like you are meeting more people than you ever will the rest of your college life. Honestly, I reached a point where I stopped trying to learn the names of everyone, and I waited until I figured out who I was actually going to be sitting by at meals and hanging out with on the weekends. Everyone is trying to find a group of friends, and you will be, too.

Within the first few months, you may find yourself hanging around various groups of people. And by the end of the school year, it could be a completely different group. Nevertheless, it may change again sophomore year, when suddenly that person you lived by for an entire year, lives in a different room or they become your roommate.

Do not fret; it will all work itself out, and you will find some keepers.

5. You will miss your family, but it's okay.

College is a time where you may find yourself stepping out into the world for the first time on your own. Moving to a different city, state or possibly even country will definitely be a transition. Maybe you have never really been apart from your family before and you just aren't going to be ready when your parents hug you goodbye on move-in day.

Remember that they are only going to be a phone call away. And your family will feel loved, knowing you miss them as much as they miss you. In the meantime, gather up all those friends you just met or your trusty RA and hang out with them for a while. Sooner or later, Family Weekend or Fall Break will appear right around the corner.

The Takeaway

Not all the lessons you learn at college will come from sitting in the classroom. Always remember your family back at home, but don't be afraid to stretch your circle a little wider.

No one can replace your family, but maybe you will find a temporary, second home with other people that care about you too.

Categories: Dorm Life, Student Perspectives