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What To Expect In Your First Year Of College

"You suddenly or sometimes won't feel so smart anymore."
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Here’s what incoming college students can expect during their freshman year, the good, the bad… and what’s to be determined.

You’ve got more freedom.

Now that you’re in college, there’s more room to breathe. You handle your own schedule and if you have no uniforms, you get to express yourself more freely through your sartorial choices. There’s a newfound sense of independence (and responsibility, of course)—which is one of the best things about college.

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New school, new routines, new friends.

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You will no longer be staying in the same room for an entire day. You’d have to move out of your 8 a.m. classroom and rush to your next lesson. Your M-W-F schedule may also vary from your T-Th one, which means socializing with different friend groups more often. There’s a lot of adjustment in terms of the schedule and routines, but you’ll get used to it eventually.

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Change in diet.

If you've talked to upperclassmen from your college about what to expect, some might have warned you about the Freshman 15. Despite a lack of scientific evidence, what it basically suggests is that freshmen--due to being immersed in an unfamiliar culture and being shaken up by a sudden change in schedules--will gain weight (about 15 pounds, hence the term) by the end of the year, most likely due to stress eating and the freedom to eat out more. Again, this isn’t a scientific fact, but the bottomline is that college students believe that freshmen tend to experience a change in weight upon entering college. TBH, it varies for students. Some do gain weight while others lose it. As long as you stay healthy enough, it's not something to fuss over. It makes for a good college anecdote, though!

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You suddenly or sometimes won’t feel so smart anymore.

You might notice that the atmosphere is more competitive compared to when you were in high school, and after constant exposure to other college students who seem to always do better than you, it’s normal to feel like you aren’t as intelligent and skilled as you once thought you were. 

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This particular fact will hit you hard in freshman year, but as you go along your college journey, you’ll realize that it’s a normal experience among your fellow students. It's a hard-hitting realization about the real world—that we aren't as good as we originally thought—but it doesn't mean that it's completely true. You are smart enough, good enough, and skilled enough in your own way. You just need to find your place in the real world, and the college experiences ahead of you will help you realize them.

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Mylene Mendoza
Candy Staff Writer
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If you know me, and know me well, I am not the biggest fan of idyllic lifestyles. With a Type A personality, I act immediately upon whatever challenge that needs to be addressed. I actually enjoy keeping my mind preoccupied: doing university work in my favourite cafe then running errands around town, grocery shopping here, updating my accounts there, photocopying documents on the way down the street - all just in time before having a glass of champagne at the bar with my friends come evening.

And so, you could imagine my bewilderment when the next challenge to be faced was an extensive self-quarantine protocol. I didn’t know what to do when my greatest responsibility in this situation was to do nothing at all. My first few attempts to combat my consternation were very much rooted in distraction and imagination. My distractions involved conducting research, writing songs, calling family and friends, filming videos, and eating chocolate! My imaginations and fantasies were centred on travelling, shopping, even clubbing (which I rarely do) for when they find a cure to COVID-19. I did anything and everything that could be considered constructive in order to pass the time, mainly hoping I could just undertake the basic human necessities to survive - that is, eat and sleep the day through - until the next day comes, until the world is closer to becoming a better place, until quarantine ends, until my flight follows through, until I see my family and friends again.

Days in self-isolation and suspended flights turned to weeks and turned to months. By the third extension here in Spain where I study Fashion Business, I had to tell myself this shall be my new normal now, that I was blessed to be healthy, that I was tired of merely existing and missed what it was like to actually live - even if just within four walls. Little by little, I began to find significance in the simple occurrences of the day: the soft glare of the rising sun beaming golden streaks through my bedroom window upon waking up, the fragrance of freshly washed bed sheets that I had painstakingly hung to fit a relatively small clothes rack without crumpling them, the crunch and tanginess of warm toasted bread topped with raspberry marmalade, the buzzing sound of a phone call from home just waiting to be answered, to the caress of a fuzzy sweater to keep warm at night. I realised, “What pleasures to be enjoyed in the pause of slow living!” Through this continued pause, which I loathed at first, I began to appreciate each moment of the day rather than wish it would pass more swiftly, moments I had overlooked so often before the lockdown. I started to find that the challenge of self-isolation was never to pause both the regular routines of life as well as the positive emotions that came with these - as initially, I thought it meant to pause all happiness, so as to withstand a time of endurance in hopes for a better tomorrow, much like a form of delaying gratification. Life is just too fragile these days to delay gratification any further.

Life has paused, but it has not stopped. Believe that like any punctuation mark in a sentence, the pause will provide the right timing of things to take place. Till then, let us not waste our time waiting. Instead, we could be in the moment, seek substance in simplicity (that is, in what we already have), And enjoy the pleasure in pause. “Practice the Pause. When in doubt, pause. When angry, pause. When tired, pause. When stressed, pause. And when you pause, pray.”

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