Freshman Year Reflection | Alyssa J Freitas: Freshman Year Reflection

May 23, 2014

Freshman Year Reflection

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This year I hit the books, and I hit them hard. But I also found time for fun, growth, and new experiences. It was certainly a change to go from my small all girls high school to a large (or at least large to me) college, but dare I say I thrived. I thought it would be a good idea to go through the highlights of my first year of college and reflect on what I have learned (from books and otherwise). Prepare for a long post.


Trying something new is so worth it. If you had told me that I would be a medal winning athlete in college in a sport that I had never done before I would have laughed and then slowly backed away and feared for your mental health. You would have been right though! Joining the crew team was a great decision and the most challenging undertaking I have ever had. The schedule is grueling and the conditions can be beyond awful, but the rewards are priceless. I grew so close to the members of my team and I credit them with making my freshman year as spectacular as it was. I think that becoming a part of a smaller community right out of the gate was beyond important for me because I do best in a close environment of people. The crew team was my base and home and where I felt comfortable and loved.


Living with a complete stranger can actually turn out to be pretty great. To say that I was nervous about living in a very small room with someone who I had never met before would be an understatement. I was freaking out! Beside enjoying my alone time and space, I am a complete neat freak and germaphobe. What if my roommate wasn't clean, or quiet in the evening, or always wanted people in the room, or loved to party and come back drunk and then expect me to just deal with it? Well, even though that could have happened, I turned out to be beyond lucky. My roommate, Kajal, is incredibly clean (more so than me), loves to study (and probably spends more time doing so than me), is not a partier, and is accommodating and respectful, not to mention a great person to talk and laugh with. I learned that keeping a positive attitude and being ready to talk about any problems is the best way to work/live with people. 


Your first instinct about people is usually right. When I met the beautiful lady, Ally, in the picture above I pretty much suspected that we would be great friends. It's fairly obvious when you click with somebody and can open up yourself to them. I am so lucky to have befriended many great TCNJ ladies in my first year! Being kind (and reading How to Win Friends and Influence People; really the best book to help you focus on making quality friends) can honestly lead to wonderful friendships which make everything that happens that much better. 


Embrace what is exotic to you. As I've mentioned before, I adore Bollywood. When I found out that there was going to be a Bollywood Night at my school, I knew I had to go. My friend lent me a sari and helped to deck me out in Indian splendor, but I was certainly worried about wearing it for the first time. All of the women there seemed to float effortlessly in what I found to be a restricting garment. To top it off we not only had to make the trek across campus in our fancy outfits, but had to do so in the pouring rain. Huddling under one umbrella, lifting up our skirts and laughing the whole way, we finally made it. Once I got over my fear of the sari completely falling off, I was able to enjoy the evening. I tried the traditional food (which is a big step for me since I am not a huge fan of anything different and spicy) and found it to be quite good! My friend in the picture, Ashna, and I danced the night away and had the best time pretending to be the Bollywood starlets we so clearly are.   


College is MUCH more difficult than high school, but if you work hard enough you can handle anything. This year included many, many hours in the library...which is a good thing since you do go to college to learn! As a student who went through high school without much stress or major worries about classes, it was quite a wakeup call to find that I needed to put in more effort to yield the same results in college. I found that going to the library with a friend who wants to work just as hard as you (shout out to Nina!) can be so beneficial. You can support each other as you struggle through your work and can hold one another accountable for actually focusing. I can't tell you how many times my friends and I have caught each other checking Facebook or Pinterest instead of doing our work. I also discovered that I have the tendency to overreact to tests after the fact. I've needlessly worried that I have done poorly on exams only to find out that I more than passed. Oops. As long as I do everything I can to prepare, I have to allow myself to accept the outcome.   

I learned never to lower my standards. This lesson applies to boys, schoolwork, and life in general. At this point in my life I certainly do not have everything figured out, and I will most definitely change my mind and opinion countless times. But what I know is that doing anything that jeopardizes your morals is not worth it. There was an unfortunate incident of cheating in one of my classes this past semester. Instead of succumbing to the temptation to get answers from the internet, I worked harder than I ever have on a test and was rewarded for that. By not lowering my standards I far exceeded what I had hoped to achieve. I also learned that even though things may not work out as you wanted (I may be referring to boys...I may not...) it is worth it to remain positive and to understand that you are not in control of what other people do. You can provide opportunities for others and be purposeful in your interactions, but that is about the extent of your power. I am still working on accepting this.   

So basically freshman year was a wonderful time for me to learn about myself and "the world." I successfully lived (somewhat) on my own and managed my own time. Of course my parents were just a phone call and car ride away, but I was able to confront and solve problems by relying on myself...and knowing that is a very good feeling.  

-Alyssa J Freitas 

2 comments:

  1. I loved this post Alyssa! It was so good hearing your freshman year reflections that it is going to inspire me to live out my senior year with a mindset of learning, adventure and freedom. I loved the lesson of never lowering your standards. So true and important! And it's so cool that you were on the crew team! That would have been something awesome to try out :)

    xo, gina

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    1. Thank you Gina! Not lowering your standards is the absolute most important lesson. Without your morals anything goes and you'll make excuses for all kinds of behavior = not good. I'm so happy that you started the #CollegeBlogHop! Can't wait to read even more great content.

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