Lessons learned from my first year

Matt Firpo

Opinion Editor

Just four years ago, I was another innocent freshman joining the ranks of the Trojans.

For anyone who feels as doubtful, nervous or hesitant of college as I did, here are a few of the lessons I have learned from my own journey.

One of the first hurdles of college is finding friends. Despite my shyness, I still met friends just through learning to be myself.

Being comfortable with yourself is such an important aspect of college. In learning to be comfortable with myself, I also let go of my fear of being judged.

For example, it took me years to accept myself as being gay. I never told anyone until halfway through my sophomore year.

When I finally did come out, I felt like I had changed as a person.

However, I didn’t actually change. I just started being honest.

In every part of my life where I felt insecure, I realized that my fear of being judged kept me from being myself. How can someone really know and appreciate you as a person if he or she doesn’t know your goals and interests?

The best friends that I found weren’t in a particular club or group, but were classmates and acquaintances who shared the same goals and values I did, and accepted me as I was. These friends pushed me to succeed in my studies and expanded my world view.

When friends share common values, they push each other to uphold  those values. Whether that’s doing well in your studies or spending time together, your friends will define how your time is spent at college.

Finally, use your time wisely. One of the greatest tragedies of college is its short length.

I still struggle with this skill; just ask any of my co-editors.

Two of the most important lessons that I can possibly provide are these: make time for the things that you love, and give yourself time to do it well.

I feel like it is a waste to spend countless hours working toward a degree that you don’t enjoy.  Try new things, even if it is just once,  in order to find your passion.

Always make sure to give time to yourself to do the things you love well. Even though something may turn out well despite finishing it at the last minute, giving time ensures you can always do your best without added pressure.

Above all, as hopeless as it seems, you have four years to do all of these things. Don’t rush it, but rather, take it step by step.

Your future is in your hands.

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