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Surviving College- Week 1: Early Starts Program

Updated: Aug 20

My experiences and tips on how to survive college as a freshman




"When you see somebody and you're checking them out remember, don't ask yourself 'would I hit that', ask 'would I hit that twice'"- Professor Hancock.



The early starts program fed me full of information. I learned all about what the university has to offer, how classes work, and some very interesting side tips from my professor. Beyond the educational portion, I also learned a lot about living alone. I've broken down the three best tips I could take away from this week.


My main 3 tips for your first week at college

1. Find a schedule and get an idea of what time you will do what things

2. It’s a bad day, not a bad life

3. Find at least one thing to bring you enjoyment (self love)


Let’s look at a more clear break down here. Saddle up for some stories of my own experiences, reflections, and thoughts…


Tip #1 - Find a schedule and get an idea of what time you will do what things


Change is never something that I have been fond of. I like routine and doing things in a certain way. Moving from home to a tiny dorm room, that’s change. Not living with your parents, that’s also change. Having 8 other girls in one tiny complex, that’s hell (just kidding… kinda).

The change has been hard for me and I have only been on campus for a week. I will say there are only been two mental breakdowns so far. One of those were caused by the feeling of being overwhelmed. My Early Starts Program class starts at 9 AM every day. I am an early riser, so waking up early wasn’t hard for me. I woke up every day at 5:00 and drove the 15 minutes to my horses (I’ll refer to it as the College House from here on out). My routine was clean stalls, ride two horses (ride one and lead one), feed, put on fly sheet, and then head back to the college by 7:30. This gives me plenty of time to get all dressed up and get ready for class. At lunch I was given a 1-hour break. I spent my time in my room alone doing homework, or on the phone trying to figure out something with my rodeo coach. There was an occasional phone call crying to my mom. Then I was back in class until 4:00. Work on some homework after class until around 4:30, then head to the college house for practice. Rope calves, tie goats, ride horses and do chores, then go back to the dorm room to finish up homework, work out, attempt to be social with dormmates, and finally go to bed way to late.

This schedule sounds simple right? Wrong. I am hoping that the next couple of weeks get more settled down and I can figure out more of an everyday process figured out. I think its important when you are getting settled in to recognize how much time things will take you. Be prepared for everything and it will reduce a little bit of stress in your life.




Tip #2 - It's a bad day, not a bad life


I have only been in college for a week and as I mentioned, I have already cried a couple of times. It is easy when you are overwhelmed in the moment to think that your entire world might be ending. Take a breath. It’s a bad day, not a bad life. A lot of things are changing and its time to test out your adaptation skills. I won’t judge you if you have a breakdown and think that college is not for you and you want to quit. But, I will be a little disappointed in you if you aren’t able to settle down and realize that you will get it figured out if you just stick with it a little longer.

Trust me when I say on day 4 of school I was ready to drive my car to Mexico and runaway from responsibility. I had about 4 hours of sleep under my belt, which is not how I usually roll. I had pages of homework to do and I was at rodeo practice roping calves. A bunch of girls from my rodeo team were there and wouldn’t talk to me. I was a walking mess. I had a terrible roping practice. My mom got a bunch of texts that were relatively negative. She called me and I lost it. My horse trailer couch caught dozens of tears from my cheeks. The melt down helped me regain my composer and go practice goat tying. My evening got progressively better and I was able to reflect on my day as a learning experience. Sometimes getting the tears out of your system can help you grow and get stronger. It’s a bad day, not a bad life.






Tip #3 -Find at least one thing to bring you enjoyment (self love)


Hearing the term “selfcare” used to make me throw up in my mouth. I always saw these popular girls in my school posting half naked pictures of themselves in the bath with a “Selfcare” caption (that is why I was dry heaving).

While writing this portion I did some research on self care and mental health. I really think that these two go hand in hand. Chirs Molyneux published an article in Wounds UK that mention the importance of Self Care. “Carving out specific time and planning our self-care also makes me think of the importance of boundaries. Not only in the boundaries and commitments we set for ourselves, but also how we may need to be boundaried against other commitments and requests” Chris said. “I believe that needing space for self, lacking capacity, or simply preferring not to, are all valid reasons we may have for being able to say no to other’s requests. We can often feel like we need a “valid” reason that means we really aren’t able to commit to their offer but how would it be to simply use preferring not to as a reason?” His answer was “I believe one of the most important things, is that we are making the effort to engage in self-care, however short a time this may be.”

I know that was a lot. But how true is it? We need to learn how to say no, and how to make time for ourselves. With my busy schedule I was so frazzled and didn’t have time for anything. After some reflection I noticed it was time for me to do something about to make me happy asap what I chose to do was go to a tanning bed and sit in peace for 5 minutes. I bought a membership and I plan to do this every few days. It will be my way of taking time for me. I love this because it involves being able to spend time alone and be able to have tan legs.


Be Bold and Be YOU- Check out this weeks outfits








Dorm Room Dining



I had major anxiety going into the Caf. Kayden talked me into it one day and I tried chicken and gnocchi soup. IT WAS AMAZING!!! If I have someone to go with I would try it again.


Chips and Salsa were a nightly dinner. Cheap and tasty.

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Overall I had a good first week of college. I share all of this to try to help someone in my shoes feel a little more prepared. Cheers to week two!

Y Stop Now;

Wy


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