Advice for lost freshmen, from a senior

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My freshman year, I remember coming into school and feeling like I needed to have everything figured out. I watched my friends find their “group” at what felt like lightning speed. Others found activities they loved immediately. Still others were able to get involved and learn the ins and outs of campus very quickly.

My journey, on the other hand, was not quite as smooth. Three weeks into my freshman year, I was still trying to figure out how to get to my classes, let alone what group I wanted to be part of. I tried out several extra curriculars, but nothing felt quite right.

My third week, I felt behind. It seemed like everyone else had it figured out ⁠— friends, activities, campus life.

As a senior, I’ve been able to reflect and discuss my freshman year experience with others, and hear their stories as well. Here’s what I’ve realized: no one has it figured out, even if it appears that way. So, here are a few pieces of advice for navigating the rest of your first semester at K-State.

1. Take a breath

It’s okay to not have found your group yet. It’s alright to not know if you like your major. It’s fine to not have a life plan for the next four years. Everyone else feels the same way to some degree. Take a breath, and give yourself room to grow and reflect.

2. Don’t settle

It’s easy to feel pressure to commit to activities or just hang out with any group you can find because you feel you’ll be behind if you don’t.

But here’s the thing ⁠— the wait is worth it. Don’t stick with people who aren’t good for you just because you feel you may be alone if you want to branch out.

Social media makes it feel like everyone is having fun with other people all the time. Anytime you swipe through Snapchat stories or open Instagram, there is photo after photo of people with friends.

We all know that social media is just a highlight reel ⁠— but remind yourself of that when you feel FOMO creeping in, or pressure to be social as well. We don’t see what goes on behind the screen or in the moments between snap stories.

3. Try things!

Freshman year is the best time to give things a go, and decide if you like them ⁠— join new clubs! Try an activity! Take a class! It’s alright to have no idea what you’re doing, but how else will you figure it out? Go for it!

4. Reach out

You’re not the only one feeling alone or out of place. Let that sink in ⁠— you’re not the only one.

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received is this: when you’re feeling lonely, look for another lonely person. Use your own loneliness as a reminder to reach out to others who might be feeling the same way. It’s a great way to combat your own feelings, and you’re helping someone else in the process.

Here’s the thing ⁠— no one ever really figures it all out. But I think the process of maturing involves getting more comfortable with being uncomfortable. As a result, we can look outside of ourselves and see the places where we can serve others, where our talents and gifts might be needed. And wasn’t that the whole point, anyway?

Olivia Rogers is a community editor for the Collegian, the vice president of the University Honors Program and a senior in political science. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and the persons interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

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I’m Olivia Rogers, a junior in Political Science and Prelaw. I enjoy a good cup of coffee, witty television and acoustic music. I write because: “Stories make us more alive, more human, more courageous, more loving.”― Madeleine L'Engle