The following essay was submitted by Kristin Stickel as part of our #Write2Win Contest. It was one of our favorite submissions, so she’s won a prize and we’re reposting it here.

Woman resting at work with the feet over the office tableThe most important lesson I’ve learned as a college freshmen was not learned in the classroom or by reading books. It was simply learned by living and being a college freshmen. When a first-time student moves into their dorm room or apartment, they have expectations for what this new chapter in their life will hold, after all the books and movies make it all look so easy.

The most important thing I learned is not to rush things while in college. With living in a smaller dorm and going to all the campus sponsored activities I expected making friends to be easier than it was, it took me a few weeks to find a close group that I fit into. Before I found my friends and sometimes even after I would feel homesick, I wasn’t that far from home but it was still hard, college wasn’t exactly what I hoped it would be,and I was beginning to doubt my decision to attend a four-year program.

If you are lucky enough to get roommate there’s always the question of whether or not you will get along, unfortunately my roommate and I don’t. We live different lifestyles and often get on each other’s nerves. Now in our second semester we have learned to live with each other and I actually feel comfortable in my own room.

My biggest adjustment was to the way I was learning. This wasn’t high school anymore: I had large lecture classes and exams were the majority of my grade, not group projects and packets of vocabulary words like it was at my high school. College was different but once I gave it time and let things play out like they were meant to be I learned to love my school, my classes, and my life as a college freshmen.

Don’t rush things, just let the year play out how it is meant to play out and you’ll be fine.