As a senior in college, I know how overwhelming the transition from high school to college can be. I had a tough time adjusting to college life, and as a result my freshman year was not as fun as I had hoped. Here are a few things I wish I’d known before I started college:
- Dorm life is difficult. I lived on an all-freshman floor my first year at school. I was the only dance major there, and it was hard because my schedule totally conflicted with those of my non-dance friends. My dance classes started at 9am each morning, but most of my peers were able to sleep in before heading to classes in the afternoon. In an effort to make friends, I put my social life in front of my dance, and soon it became routine. I would often stay up with my friends playing video games and watching movies. I hardly got any sleep. In fact, I was so tired that I would often skip class. It was only after my grades dropped that I realized I had to make a change. The following year, I decided to live in a different dorm than my friends so I wouldn’t have any distractions. Today, I live off campus and I think it was one of the best decisions I ever made. I finally live in an environment of my own making where I can stay organized and focused.
- Beware of eating out too often. As a dancer, trying to eat a nutritious diet was hard due to the amount of unhealthy options at my fingertips at school. The campus cafeteria did not have the healthiest selections, and eventually I found myself ordering takeout almost every other night. Before long, I had gained over 20 pounds! I no longer fit into any of my tights or leotards and I wore sweats and baggy shirts to class to hide my figure. I finally decided if I didn’t change my habits, I would continue being unhappy. I started hitting up the school gym, doing yoga, and buying my own food from a local grocery store. With time, discipline, and motivation, I was able to create a healthy new me, and in doing so I felt even more empowered.
- Try to stand out. I felt invisible during my first year as a member of my school’s dance department. I was so focused on my social life and embarrassed by my out-of-control eating habits that I made it a point to do my best to fly under the radar with my professors and choreographers. As a result, I wasn’t cast in any dance show for the entire year. My disconnection with the department made me kind of an outcast. Things only started to change a few semesters later when I started reaching out to the other dancers in my classes and talking to my professors. After that, I started getting cast in shows and began to feel like I belonged.