7 Things I Learned my First Year of College

College greatly defines young adolescents who fear change is on the horizon. We experience life as it comes, going to frat parties, chillin with our newfound homies; then there are those of us who stray from the spotlight and kick back in our converse, typing up stories, or chillaxin on our couches binge-watching the latest Netflix trend. 
College is how we will learn to define ourselves in our adult lives. 
Here are some pointers I learned while along my path: 

1. Take an Intro to Campus/College Life course.
Yes, they offer those. I learned so much when I took an Intro to Women’s’ Studies course my freshman year at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Not only did this course teach me about the values of what women are and what we can be, it also showed me all the spunky downtown hotspots; with this I have been able to study buddy and karaoke better along with newfound college friends.
2. Feel free to join a sorority/fraternity or the marching band. Get out there!
I proudly joined UNO’s Marching Mavericks; the “Heartland” band. I was a solid clarinet player for two years. Then I had to get braces put on(playing the clarinet, or any woodwind for that matter, is NOT a good idea with metal brackets glued onto your teeth); and wound up joining the drumline my junior year along with one of my closest college friends and bandmate. Being apart of such a diverse group of individuals allowed me to be myself and make lifelong friends as well.

3. Be sure to keep yourself informed about student activities on campus.
I was a brand-spanking new freshman in the midst of all the noise, the clutter, AND the enormous number of faces walking around with a destination in their heads. I wanted that too. I remember just aimlessly wandering around the campus, mostly the student center and coming across a poster for a small band I had never heard of . . . LUDO. Not only did it turn out to be an enduring and extremely amazing concert; my friends and I got to meet all the members of the band for a solid five minutes, plus a free signed CD.

4. If you’ve got a hidden talent or just want to be creative, put your knowledge out there. 
First and foremost, I am a writer. That is my identity. Obviously. Go on a search for your inner voice, outer voice; whatever voice is yours and yours alone. I found mine by looking at a string of flyers describing a new magazine that students who were currently in my writers’ workshop classes were being put in charge of. This magazine came to later be known as 13th Floor Magazine. They have been generous in accepting and publishing five of my poems all of which I had wrote and rewrote while in class with the editors.

5. Don’t be intimidated by your professors who teach the very subject you love. 
I am in love with poetry. Even the very art of it all. When I walked into my first poetry studio class, I felt uncomfortable and barely pushed myself out of my safe bubble. My professor told me on the last assignment that she wanted me to push the envelope entirely. I risked a lot of my my initial beliefs to bring her my best work. She not only gave me a passing grade, but she now mentors me from time to time and urged me to get it published(which I did in Fine Lines Fall 2012 Issue).

6. You will better look back at all the weekends you socialized than all the weekends you spent home studying. 
It’s a sad truth. Not everyone studies all the time. Nor anyone should. I spent the majority of my weekends at football games, with my family, boyfriend, bars, dancing, beating the highest level in a video game, etc. My life would feel so incomplete to this point if I had simply spent all my earned free time learning more about math equations that I know won’t be of much use to me in the desired profession I am after.

7. Keep any book that held a deeper meaning to you. 
I always keep any poetry or English textbook I ever had to use in college. Who knows? I may want to reference a source from time to time and I may need that one poetry book in which I absolutely loved that first poem. Right now, I am currently rereading Sharon Old’s Satan Says. I just adore that book.

Long story short, I value all the life lessons that college has taught me.


Amanda B Hansen

Amanda Hansen

Amanda B Hansen is a writer & poet who currently resides in Omaha, NE. 
She is a recent graduate of the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She holds a Bachelor's in General Studies. Her certifications include English, Music, & Creative Writing. 

Amanda currently splits her time being a full-time Customer Service Adviser at her local Walgreen's, and being an Editor/Social Media/Writing Contributor for Fine Lines Journal in Omaha.