I Wish I Knew is a series of personal essays written by the courageous young female ambassadors of UChic. Learn how to survive and thrive during your freshman year from girls who have been through it.

This week we are featuring UChic blogger and ambassador Clarissa Ford. Ford is a student at Temple University.

Clarissa Ford

Like most high school students I was thrilled for graduation. I loved all of the change and excitement surrounding my transition into college. But there was a lot of anxiety too. There were many goodbyes and hard decisions to make. My biggest challenge during this time was to pick which college to go to.

After much thought, I decided to move my life two hours south to Philadelphia to study at Temple University. To be honest, my expectations about freshman year were based off my friends’ Facebook posts, Instagram photos, and movies. I expected to stress over exams, but also to have a blast on the weekends with all of my new friends.

So far my first year of college has plagued me with two nasty illnesses. One illness landed me in the hospital during the Super Bowl. I also experienced a family sickness at home. I felt absolutely helpless two hours away. I struggled to form real friendships with people because I was so busy studying and getting my work done. I wasn’t the college kid they show in Hollywood movies. I was a worried, stressed, and overwhelmed young adult.

I wish I would have been easier on myself. You aren’t always going to make the right decision. You will make mistakes. And those mistakes will help you make better decisions in the future. You will feel homesick and lonely. You don’t have to be mad or judge yourself for feeling overwhelmed during this major life change. In time, you’ll feel more at home. You’ll gain a better appreciation for your family and friends back home as well.

Second semester wasn’t easy, but I started to feel more connected with my new life. I created a blog and became more involved with on-campus activities. By joining the Public Relations Student Society of America, the yearbook, and the baking club, I made more friends and began enjoying different aspects of college. I have started to take advantage of all the cultural aspects of the city. So far, I’ve been to sporting events, concerts, museums, and restaurants.

I expected that college life would be easy. However, now I know, freshman year is about being flexible so you can transition to a new life that doesn’t have all the comforts of home. As the year begins to come to a close for me, I am proud to say that I came out in one piece. I now know my own strength. I had to adjust to city living, taking on the challenges of being an adult, tackling a new workload, and making new friends, all while attempting to deal with life’s unexpected twists and turns. Today, I know I can handle those changes. And I can create the life I want.

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