Reflection on my first year of college + Tips for freshmen year

I have been home for almost a month. I have gone into Manhattan a few times, but I’ve just been blogging, cleaning, and organizing all my belongings while I’m in New York City for the next three months.

Last year, at this time, I was desperately looking forward to my final year of high school in which I would graduate and move onto the next stage of life: college! My first year of college has been the most challenging, adventure-filled, isolating, life-giving time of my life. It has been a unique mix of highs and lows. I’ve learned that each semester is a different entity in itself and figuring out who you are while also trying to find people to do life with is quite the process.

First of all, I’d like to say that everyone’s experience is different. Because I am an out-of-state student, I literally moved 9 hours away in a setting different from where I grew up in addition to being in a different stage of life.

My first semester was rough and overwhelming. I felt lonely for most of it, I was always in my room alone on weekends. Things really picked up in November, where I started to meet some of the amazing people I know now. One of the things I wrote in my journal was “College is waking up and not knowing what the other side of the days looks like.” And that honestly has been so true for me. I’ve gotten involved in communities I couldn’t even imagine in the past, but now, can’t imagine my life without. Second semester was a LOT more fun than the first, but it also had some low moments. I have been rereading my journal, and there are so many moments that I read and I just smile thinking about – sharing a meal with friends, having a road trip, random dance parties at midnight. Some dreams do come true!

The whole point of this post is celebration = I MADE IT! HERE! By God’s grace and some serious hard work, I have finished my first year of college.

Tips for the freshman going to college next year

University of Virginia football game Scott Stadium dorm roommate UVA Studying Life with Gigi studying life with gigi orange blue Cavaliers Hoos cavaliers hoos
A UVA football game at Scott Stadium with my dormmates

Get out there!

Go to that football game. Or that mixer with freshmen. Go alone. Or with your roommate. But do yourself a favor and just go. You’ll never know who you’ll meet. And it honestly beats sitting in your room on a Saturday night watching Netflix. While watching Netflix with friends is fun (I binged American Horror Story!), get out there and see your campus. Make that space YOUR home!

Slaughter Gym University of Virginia exercise gym UVA Hoos
Slaughter Gym at the University of Virginia


The number one reason everyone gets so sick living in a dorm (besides the fact that you’re living in close quarters with so many people) is the lack of self-care. Getting up at 7 to sleep at 2. Drinking endless amounts of soda. You are taking a bad situation and making it worse. Take care of yourself. Sleep. Drink water. Do a face mask. Go to the gym. But most of all, take care of yourself.

University of Virginia Green Game John Paul Jones stadium
University of Virginia Green Game at John Paul Jones stadium

Get involved with the connections you make.

You will meet so many people in college. I will repeat. YOU WILL MEET SO MANY PEOPLE IN COLLEGE. Tell them about your interests. Get to know theirs too. You may know someone that’s interested in what they like. Someone else may know a club that you can join for your interests as well. It’s networking 101. Use it well!

Introduction to Computer Science Rice Hall University of Virginia Studying Life with Gigi
Introduction to Computer Science at Rice Hall at the University of Virginia

Study tips (‘cause you’ll need them)

Quizlet is your best friend in a language class. Or a class where you need to memorize things word by word. Block out time for writing papers, and write them in advance. If you don’t understand something, go to office hours. Set deadlines for yourself. Use the whiteboard in your dorm. Mind mapping helps with creating connections AND memorizing. This literally saved me for my philosophy final.

Journals Christian journals Hope Trust in the Lord marble striped Van Gogh
All of my journals from 2015 to 2019

Have a morning and night routine.

This will help structure your day when all hell is breaking loose. Because, in college, all hell like to break loose on your face, i.e acne. Have a set time when you will wake up. For me, that has been 7 am. Maybe you read in the morning while having breakfast. For me, I journal at night before bed. But make sure whatever you do – you do it for you.

Beach Outer Banks North Carolina weekend trip goldfish Yankee hugs Sour Patch kids
Beach Trip to Outer Banks, North Carolina for a weekend

Be intentional.

Looking back on the amazing memories, the reason I had all those memories to look back, was that I took time to reflect them. For me, I got to journal every day of my entire freshmen year. If you want to do something, do it! Join that club, write that blog, meet those people. Go after the things you want!


Cue the pictures!


This year I traveled to so many parts of Virginia. I went to Goshen, Richmond, Southwest VA, etc. I have so many memories of laughter, and I got to end this semester with my first concert ever with Parachute. IT WAS SUCH A BLAST. I literally sang and jumped around so much. I ended this year by heading to Rockbridge with InterVarsity – amazing weather, friends, and food. I loved every minute!

For you freshmen who are going into college soon, I hope that you have an amazing year that’s better than what you could have dreamed of.

Signing off,


What class are you? I’m Class of 2022! Go Hoos!

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