Thought Catalog

50 Things University Taught Me: First Year

  • 0
Shutterstock / RyFlip
Shutterstock / RyFlip

Recently finishing my first year of undergrad, I compiled a list of the things I really learned after paying thousands of dollars. Move aside Foucault and Morrison, this is where it’s at.

  1. You will, without a doubt, hate everything you came to school for, at least once.
  2. Your parents were wrong.
  3. Suede, although pretty, is such a useless material.
  4. Your parents were right.
  5. Take chances. Always, always, take chances.
  6. It is possible to survive an entire day on a bagel and a carton of chocolate milk. Sometimes, just the bagel.
  7. All those habits you thought you were going to kick? Nice try.
  8. Sometimes, you just don’t want to be kissed.
  9. Engineers, regardless of what school they attend, are dangerous creatures.
  10. It is possible to watch a movie every night.
  11. Yes, T.A’s do hit on their students.
  12. Don’t come to university with the expectation that people are any more mature than they were in high school. They aren’t.
  13. Turns out, fulfilling your dreams requires a lot of paperwork and a high GPA.
  14. Never say never.
  15. You will miss people with every fiber of your being and not realize it till you hug them after months of absence and remember why you liked them in the first place.
  16. There’s no graceful way to eat a pita wrap.
  17. Being away from everyone you’ve gone to school with since you were 4 helps you sort out those worth coming home for and those worth forgetting. That is, if you didn’t already know.
  18. There will be students from other faculties in your major’s class who will do better than you on everything. It does not mean they are actually better than you. Numbers on a transcript have no relevance to passion. It’s okay.
  19. Nothing will make you make you feel more like a student than when you’re fishing through your wallet for spare change so you can buy a hot dog.
  20. You know nothing. But you also know absolutely everything.
  21. Never, ever, EVER turn down free food.
  22. No decent guy refers to the number of girls he’s slept with (be it in one night or cumulatively) as a “kill count.”
  23. Cover your boobs.
  24. Never interrupt during a discussion.
  25. “I used to be in Commerce, but then I realized I had morals, so I switched to Humanities.”
  26. Remember money? Remember how nice it felt to actually have some?
  27. Sex is beautiful. It’s a merging of limbs and ideas, a physical way to express your joy in the fact that the two of you love each other.
  28. Sex is dangerous. It is secrets and fears translated into desperate movement in the hopes that the body you’re clinging to, the face you’re looking at in the half dark, stranger or friend or someone in between, will help you understand something. It will not.
  29. When you go out of your way to so desperately look for something, it will go out of its way to make sure you don’t find it.
  30. It’s okay to cry.
  31. Your problems aren’t as big as you make them out to be in your head. Doesn’t mean you should disregard them completely. Just know you don’t have it that bad.
  32. Holding doors makes all the difference.
  33. Know that some people don’t realize that it’s possible to love someone in different ways.
  34. That one Double-Double was actually a Triple-Bypass-Why-Is-This-So-Sweet-Holy Shit-Why-Did-You-Buy-This.
  35. There is no set time to eat sushi.
  36. That look high school seniors give you when you wear your university sweater.
  37. The ones you loved and thought had left were just taking their time to find a way back.
  38. One of the best papers you’ve written all year will receive a failed grade because you were under the word count and you only talked about Russia. It’s an excellent paper. Deal with the shitty grade.
  39. Take a look at the people you last spoke to (via text, MSN, phone, etc) before heading off to bed. These people are who you really care about. These people are important.
  40. Just because someone is good to you, does not mean they are good foryou.
  41. Saying “fuck it” doesn’t work. “Fuck it” doesn’t write your essays or do your labs or edit your videos or get your lecture notes. “Fuck it” isn’t good to your GPA or your friendships or your sleep cycle.
  42. Everything worth knowing leaves scars.
  43. “It depends on the context.”
  44. There is something about the applause your professors receive at the end of the semester’s last lecture that will always make you well up with pride.
  45. Procrastinating on your schoolwork is a communal activity.
  46. When in doubt, cite it.
  47. The friendships you suddenly make at the end of the year, standing in line to buy coffee or over piles of exam notes, are more genuine than you give them credit for.
  48. Maybe you shouldn’t reread 1984 when you should be just doing readings.
  49. Always tell the truth. Even if it’s dirty and unpleasant. Do it. If the person doesn’t thank you then, they’ll thank you later, to your face or silently to themselves.
  50. Always reflect. TC mark

More from Thought Catalog

Thought Catalog Videos

    • Michael Koh

      I have a lot of time to eat sushi. Set aside time for it.

      I don't have time to edit my paper though.

      • eunice

        Sometimes I eat sushi with my bare hands and it's awesome. So primal but so good. Like you, I don't have time to edit my papers either.

        • Anon

          Sushi is meant to be eaten that way.

        • Char

          Sushi is meant to be eaten with chopsticks.

      • Aelya

        Oooh, no, what I meant was there's no proper set time to eat sushi. During exam week, it was all I ate, breakfast lunch and dinner.

        I'm gross.

        • Rick

          “Like lol I'm so gross, even though there's nothing gross about eating sushi. I actually hope you all think I'm cute.”

        • Aelya

          Damn, exposed

        • bappada boopy

          daaaaaaamn rick you drankin' some-o-dat HATERADE today bro! (Aelya you're cute. sushi rules)

    • Nolan Allan

      51. Making lists of generic platitudes is the best way to demonstrate how “meaningful” and “unique” your college experience was

      • Aelya

        I know, right? How dare I make a list about my first year at university. How dare I forget to mention the part about all those things being unique to my experience.

        • Morris

          you're just mad he called you generic

        • Aelya


        • Guest

          bro, u doth protest too much

    • Tory

      What I liked about this list was that it wasn't one long reiteration of the old “You will get drunk four nights a week, destroy your liver and your GPA, and have sex with everything that moves” line on freshman year at university. You actually said some things which were both new (for this site) and true to more than just the stereotypical party school population. Thanks for this.

    • Chantz Erolin

      fuck you, lydia.

      • Lydia G

        Definitely the most appropriate place for this comment.

    • EmilyAVasquez

      “Everything worth knowing leaves scars”

      I hope this is your own quote because it's great. It's one of those “awesome but cliche but you love it anyways” type of lines.

    • Johanna

      This hit home pretty hard for me. I'm doing my first year at university at the moment. About 75% of what you wrote pretty much sums up my experience.

    • Srmoore33

      I am about to graduate from my university and I've been reflecting a lot on my freshman year. most of what you said made me smile because I experienced/came to the same conclusions you have. I hope you enjoy the rest of your college experience!

    • Michael B

      “Numbers on a transcript have no relevance to passion.” ugh this is my life

      • xtos

        umm naw this is a huge fucking self-serving cop out that everybody should stop using.

    • Katie

      I really liked this. I hope to see more of your writing. :)

    • Jen O'Neill

      “It depends on the context.”

      Haha yes. If I had a dollar for every time I hear this…

    • Miriam Mogilevsky

      This is great, wow. I'm a sophomore this year but I can definitely still relate.

    • I_janeb

      “FUCK IT” really doesn't get you anywhere.

    • Scarlett

      Holy fucking christ undergrads are insufferable.

    • Kyle Angeletti

      Damn I feel old now.

      Good list though; should do this after each year and compile them.

    • Thought Catalog

      Reblogged this on makeyourmoment.

    • 50 Things University Taught Me | My University Journey

      […] going through these 50 things listed on this website (, I realized how every single number was incredibly applicable to my life. Every number. I have to […]

    • Reflecting. | shecharbytheseashore

      […] Reflecting. […]

    • Thought Catalog

      Reblogged this on The Chronicles of Me.

    • Thought Catalog

      Reblogged this on Behind the Mask and commented:
      Smirked, smiled and nodded my way through the list. Fairly accurate.

    • | Inside Her Brain

      […] 0 […]

    • | Life's Musings
    • Linh

      Reblogged this on Meliora.

    • alittlehoneyformyheart

      Reblogged this on A Little Honey For My Heart.

    • 21 things i've learned by 21 - j a y e m s e y

      […] a somewhat-related note, writing this reminded me of something I found back in high school, called [50 Things University Taught Me: First Year]. It’s very honest and provocatively written, and I think out of everything I read to prepare […]

    blog comments powered by Disqus