Tomorrow will mark the 5th week since I've been at college!
Last Friday, I wrote about my "theme" for the past year, and I wondered about my theme for this upcoming year. I think that the multitude of changes that have occurred over the past few months, let alone the past five weeks, are enough to qualify for a year's worth of growth and maturity ;)
In this post, I'm going to be addressing a few of the "big questions" that I wondered about before coming, and before we begin, yes --- I am wearing a giant cable knit sweater in the South, because yes --- it gets COLD! (don't worry, this is a good thing for this cold weather person!)
1. Speaking of cold weather...does it really get cold down there?
YES. People told me that I'd be wearing shorts into December, but I've been wearing leggings and jackets every now and then since the second week I've been here! Being outdoors more often as a result of having to walk across campus to get to classes has been absolutely wonderful --- it's great exercise, and I don't think I've spent more time outdoors in the past year. There are some weeks where it drizzles (or down pours) consistently, but there are other weeks when you'll see nothing but clear, blue skies. The weather has been incredibly comfortable! Last Sunday, I went on my very first outdoor run (any run that I've gone on has been restricted to the treadmill) at 8:30 am, aka the time when nobody is awake. The campus was incredibly peaceful and it was one great run --- 1.5 miles has never felt so difficult since I'm used to running on level ground!
2. How's the food?
Sometimes it's unpredictable. I've been craving granola all this week, but the soy milk machine hasn't been refilled, so the craving continues. But that doesn't mean that the food is bad! There's actually some really great options, and there are some days when there are so many great options that there's nothing to do but figure out which dish to choose over the others! One issue that I have is that I can't serve myself at stations aside from the salad bar (I don't go to the pizza/dessert bar, so those don't count!). While sanitary precautions are important, the sweet employees always give us wayyy too much food ;)! And this girl cannot stand the idea of wasting food (thanks for ingraining that into my mind, Mom and Dad), so I tend to finish as much as possible. --- So why not choose fewer options? Well....cause I wanna try everything that looks good ;)!
3. So have you gained the freshman 15?
Not 15, but perhaps 5 due to an inconsistent workout schedule (partially due to the fact that I was incredibly sick for 2 weeks), the fact that I have been eating more carbs more regularly than I have over the past two years, longer days (burning more energy by staying up for longer requires more energy input --- which easily leads to excess input), and the fact that I've been walking a lot more (which doesn't justify me over snacking, but I do get hungry more easily).
Okay, so "excuses excuses". Never to fear, I've discovered a great way to manage my time (yup, this Type-A, hyper-organized, anal-retentive person had to refine her time management skills) that has allowed me to exercise for 6 days straight (of course today was the "day off" :P), which hasn't happened since I left home!
4. So what's this magical time management trick?
ORGANIZING MY DAY DOWN TO THE 1/2 HOUR!
I know, I've reached new levels of anal-retentive...and psycho, but trust me, this has been the only way that I've been able to effectively and efficiently get my work done. Walking across campus all the time to get to classes is pretty tiring, and a lot of my friends, including those who go to other schools, have said that it just takes so much longer to wind down/settle down when we get back to our rooms before we can start on homework. With my new little schedule, I have more time constraints and deadlines to meet within one day, and I'm able to get on top of my work more quickly. So with that new schedule, I'm able to schedule in more workouts more frequently. My roommate and I have made physical calendars for the week, requiring us to exercise (ranging from running through the nearby park to blogilates workout videos in our dorm) for at least 5 days a week. It's a great reminder and so far it's been working, so let's see how far it'll take us ;)
5. Stress levels?
I'll be honest, the stress levels were pretty high in the beginning, which is what I believe to be one of the main contributors to my two weeks of illness. Fortunately, things have settled down considerably, even with "midterms" (okay--- why call it a "midterm" when, A) it's not the middle of the semester, and B) we have two "midterms" so technically it can't be called a "midterm" -- you don't have finals twice a semester do you?!). Just getting used to the format of college classes has helped significantly, but let's just wait for the results of the first few tests before we can officially say that I've gotten used to college academics!
6. Is it hard to find friends, especially genuine ones, considering that everyone's new and can get away with any identity?
I think I've mentioned this before, but making friends is not an issue, especially that first week. Everyone wants to make friends, so everyone's super friendly, but what's hard is finding people to be super close to and feeling like you belong. All of that just takes time, and fortunately, I've been able to find five specific people who I've gotten really close to. Something that I live by is to "invest in people who invest in you", and I'm super grateful that I have people like that, five specifically who are my age. There are also several upperclassmen who have offered support and help, and I can't even begin to describe how grateful and appreciative I am for all of them. Something that I didn't realize would be so important to me is this one fellowship group that I've been going to --- I've felt so at home with them, and the people that I've met there have been absolutely incredible. Above is a photo from last Sunday's worship at a church that I've been attending, and I've gotta say, while I never connected with people at church before, things have definitely changed because I've been fortunate enough to connect with a lot of people through the fellowship group and church down here :)
I miss writing everyday --- I really do, and unfortunately, with the hectic craziness of college (even with the crazy insane schedules I make), it's just not realistic to be able to write daily --- but I still check up on the stats every other day, and there are people who still visit the blog daily.
If you're one of those people, thank you.
It means a whole lot to me, because I poured a lot of love into this blog over the past few years (I believe year 3 is officially coming to a close over the next week or two?!), and the fact that people find the content remotely interesting enough to click on the link to check this stuff out is humbling.