This post goes out to my sweet friend Emma and all the lil freshmen who still haven’t adjusted to life in college. Emdawg runs a health and lifestyle blog (http://balanceishappiness.weebly.com-check it out!!) and is my go to for workout advice, nutrition tips, and everything in between. These past few weeks-post recruitment-have been hectic with classes, trying to figure out the Milledge buses, and GREEK LIFE. I think when everyone comes to college, they think greek life is the end all be all. Basically if you’re not involved in greek life, it’s like, social suicide. FALSE. There are so many wonderful and amazing things that UGA and any other college campus has to offer, and I highly recommend attending a club or activities fair. Last year I was involved in the campus magazine, this year I’m leading a mentor program at the local high school. Whatever your interests are, I’m sure there is something for you-you just gotta dig a little!
With that being said, I’m not bashing Greek Life at all. Y’all all know I’m in a sorority-and I absolutely love it. It’s a great way to meet amazing friends and mentors, an instant support system, a great way to get involved, and make an enormous campus seem bearable. But after sitting in Emma’s dorm room, reminiscing on my own time in an 8×10 shoebox (ily @Jules), and listening to her and her hallmates rant about how there’s not enough hours in the day to get everything done, I decided it was time to share how I survived freshman year. Or at least got through first semester in one piece.
Emma and I joke about it all the time, but in reality, BALANCE IS HAPPINESS. If you’re like me, and you like to constantly be busy, you might find yourself being stretched a little thin between social, studies, and sleep. I remember the first few weeks post-Bid Day. New member meetings, socials, swaps, mixers (whatever they’re called!!), pledge socials, pledge rides, and our first date night coming up in TWO WEEKS!? I barely knew the girls in my pledge class, let alone any boys I could ask on a date night! My social calendar was stacked to say the least, and I made it my personal goal to make an appearance at every single event. There were some mornings I physically had to drag myself out of bed only to fall asleep in my 9 a.m history lecture. Skipping STAT to get an extra hour of sleep? Don’t put it past me. And I admit, I got lucky. My grades didn’t falter due to my increased social outings, but even though I was going out 3-4-5 times a week (I know, I cringe now), I still didn’t feel like I had found my place or purpose at UGA. I was constantly sick-I blamed it on the nasty dorms (seriously though I think they changed the air vents in 1968)-but in reality, it was because I was not taking care of myself. I passed up the gym for dinner with my sisters or Wine Wednesday at Theta Chi. I found myself keeping unhealthy food in my dorm room, because that’s what everyone else was doing. And because of my desperation to find my friend group, to fit in at UGA, to really experience college, I found myself with an extra 17 pounds around my midsection when I went home for winter break.
My FOMO (fear of missing out) caused me to abandon my previously healthy and balanced lifestyle. I went to the gym maybe like 4 times first semester, then would complain how I was getting out of shape. Hello dummy: not working out + alcohol + unhealthy eating??? Not a good combination. I remember even being surrounded by all my new friends and sisters, I still felt lost. I still felt like I didn’t fit in. And that’s when I realized I should never try to change myself into being someone that I’m not. My orientation leader said “at the end of the day, you have to think about who do YOU want to be. What do YOU want to do?” Your college experience is no one else’s except yours. Only you can decide what you want to get out of it, and when I moved back to Athens second semester, I realized the party lifestyle wasn’t for me. Even at its peak, I still felt like I was missing out on something.
No one cares if you didn’t go to that social. I’m sorry if that sounds a little harsh, but you’re not missing out on much if you don’t go. I’m not saying be an introvert, but don’t sacrifice your health and GPA for Shots Around The World. And the whole new friend thing?? Relax. I am not going to lie, it took me a hot minute to find my friend group. And now living in the house and post study abroad, I find my friend group to be changing again. THIS IS NORMAL. I still hang out and love my high school friends. While me and my friends from first semester may not hang out as much anymore, we’re still close. What I’m trying to say is, it takes time. It’s an age old piece of advice, but be yourself. I know every single one of you reading this right now is a quirky, amazing person who is beautiful inside and out. So embrace your you-ness and let it shine. Nothing attracts people more than being comfortable in your own skin.
So this is the part where I tell you that its not scary. Well in reality, it is. But that’s okay. Fear is good. Fear means you’re growing. At the end of the day, only you can control what you get out of your four (or more) years in college. You have to decide what is it that you want to achieve. I urge you to go out and explore all your options because you never know what opportunities are available if you limit yourself. There’s a whole great big world out there and so much lies unexplored when you settle for something less than you are. There’s so much more to college than going to frat parties and date nights and socials. Go to a sporting event, make a list of all the restaurants you want to try and have weekly date nights with your girls, go hiking, running, biking, swimming, take a fitness class at the gym, the list is endless!! This is me telling you to go out and find your place (top floor of West parking deck), find your people who will take you to cookout at midnight to make it the best night ever, and find your balance. Balance is happiness.