Here’s the thing about college. You spend all 4 years of high school thinking about it, being prepped for it, imagining what it will be like to go five minutes without your mother telling you to unload the dishwasher before she gets home (at last!), and listening to people older than you gush about how much they love it. Your teachers in high school and your college counselor groom you with the hopes that you will attend a lovely university and thrive. Hours and hours and hours and days and days and days are spent on that darn Common Application, and writing those “Why would you like to attend (insert college here)?” essays for various universities can send you into an overwhelmingly stressful situation when your answer turns out to be “I’m not exactly sure.” I was also in this conveyer belt thinking trap of high expectations for my college experience overall and my performance both academically and socially. I didn’t take into consideration that keeping a dorm clean, living with a complete stranger, getting enough sleep so you don’t feel tempted to take a nap on an outside bench in between class, and trying to not starve to death while on a basic meal plan would all be incredibly difficult to get the hang of. What you don’t think about while you are trying to find a twin XL bedspread three months before move-in day is what you’re going to do on your first Monday night when you don’t have any homework left, snacks left, or YouTube videos left to watch by 7pm. When your high school friends are busy hundreds of miles away and your brand new friends seem to have forgotten to invite you to whatever they are doing. These nights were my downfall during my first semester. I would sit at my desk in my little dorm room with the blinds shut and miss my bed, my neighborhood, my car, my cat, my family, my childhood friends SO BADLY that I couldn’t move. This might not be the case for some of you who are either A) more socially adventurous than I or B) attending a college near your hometown, but for me, being almost 300 miles from home was not an easy adjustment. I can safely say that this feeling does become more manageable as soon as you find friends to meet at Starbucks to do your journalism homework with, but it never truly goes away. The way to avoid falling into a five hour period of not leaving your bed is to GET OUT OF YOUR ROOM AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE. Even if you think you are so tired that you can’t move, meet your new friend from orientation class at the dining hall or take the walk to the gym to fit in a workout and improve your mood. I know it sounds incredibly cliché, and your mom will probably tell you this over phone calls and text messages multiple times that you need to “get out there!” (or at least mine did), but you really do. Schedule FaceTimes with your best friend from high school but also put the effort in to strengthen connections with people who are strangers but could easily become best friends. I found myself at a sleepover last night with two of my closest friends at 3am on a Tempur-Pedic mattress (only Kentucky dorms would have these I swear) and realized that college is really not that bad. My first semester was also conflicted with some issues in my personal life which didn’t make adjusting to a new state any easier, but I just had to give it time. Everything gets better. When we were driving through Lexington on our way to Cheesecake Factory last night, my friends and I decided that college is basically prison that you have to pay for. But even prison can be manageable if you have at least a few friends.