45 Things I Learned Freshman Year
Freshman year can be kinda scary and nerve wrecking, but going in with a little knowledge of what to expect can make things a little bit easier. I’m now going into my junior year, but still remember the feeling of entering freshman year as a newbie. Here’s some advice to make you a little more prepared.
1. Don’t wear your lanyard or orientation shirt. This is a dead giveaway that you’re a freshman. Everyone will know you’re the newbies on campus! And please, the love of all things good, DO NOT WEAR YOUR LANYARD TO A PARTY. I actually saw girls at a frat party last year wearing their lanyards…
2. Live on campus. Most colleges require this, but if it’s optional, I highly suggest living on campus. I met my best friend from my dorm! Living in a dorm gives you the independence of living on your own without the responsibility of rent and paying bills. It’s also just a really fun experience.
3. Call home! Even if you’re not homesick, this is an adjustment for your parents as well.
4. Attend Class. This is obvious, but so many people skip classes! Skipping class will not help you pass.
5. Drink lots of water! Staying hydrated is important, and chances are you will be walking around outside a lot. If you’re like me and go to school in the south, the “warm” weather can extend into early November! Invest in a reusable water bottle too, it’s cost efficient and good for the environment! Most campuses have water bottle refill stations.
6. Eat Healthy. It’s so easy to just grab a slice of pizza for lunch, but try and eat a balanced meal. It will keep you healthier and help you avoid the freshman 15.
7. Use a planner for class assignments. Most professors give out a syllabus at the start of the semester that list all the due dates, homework assignments and test dates. Write these dates down! It will keep you more organized.
8. Take advantage of syllabus week. Most professors give a light course load this week since many kids are adding and dropping classes still. Take this time to talk to your professors and get a jump start on any assignments.
9. Learn your way around campus. Campuses can be confusing, and when you have 10 minutes between class but don’t know if your class is on the north or south side of campus, well that can be a problem. Before the first day of class, walk around campus, finding where all your classes are.
10. Do laundry often (this includes your bed sheets). It’s amazing how many kids neglect their laundry until they literally have nothing to wear. I’ve even met people who didn’t know they were supposed to wash their bed sheets…. (P.S. I’ve found the best time to do laundry is late Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. Sunday and Mondays always tend to be the busiest days.)
11. Attend Tutoring. Colleges offer free tutoring, use it! If you struggle at all in any class, it’s amazing what tutoring can do!
12. Take advantage of the free events on campus. Colleges like to host so many events to get you involved. From career fairs to concerts, just GO.
13. There’s no reason to gain the Freshman 15. If you walk to class, utilize the gym, and eat healthy, there’s no reason to gain the freshman 15.
14. Don’t buy brand new textbooks. Chances are you will use the book for one class, and never touch it again. Plus, textbooks can cost a small fortune. I always rent my books, usually from Amazon and Chegg.
15. Keep your dorm door open when you’re in your room. This is a great way to meet new people on your floor, and it’s also a great way to circulate air into your room. Another benefit of this, it that it encourages you to keep your room clean.
16. Be careful with the caffeine. Drinking coffee after coffee may seem like a good idea when you’ve pulled an all nighter, but caffeine can become addicting, as well as create health problems! Drink caffeine in moderation.
17. Using ratemyprofessor.com will save your butt. Thankfully, most college students update this quite often. It is pretty accurate and I always read it before I make a schedule. At first I didn’t because I just figured I would make my own assumption of the professor. Well, in one of my classes freshman year, my professor was a complete jerk and always saying things way out of line (i’m talking sexist and racist comments). When a student called him out, his response was “Didn’t you look me up on ratemyproffessor.com? It says right on there I’m an asshole!” Since then I always check out the professor on there.
18. Not everyone in college drinks and parties. If you or your friends don’t drink, don’t worry! So many people choose not to drink and it’s completely okay. I promise no one will judge you if you choose not to drink. (If someone is judging you, then you don’t need someone like that in your life anyways!)
19. If you do drink, be smart. Don’t go overboard. No one likes a sloppy drunk. If you choose to drink, know your limit! You don’t want to wake up the next morning to find out you did something embarrassing or *unthinkable*. Plus, no one wants to take care of your drunk-self.
20. Take advantage of the school gym. Gym memberships can be pricey, so enjoy the free one on campus. Most gyms are state of the art, and if you need help getting into a workout routine, there’s usually people that work there that can help you out.
21. Don’t walk alone at night. This goes for everyone. Guy, girl, young, or old. Sketchy people can wander the campus at night. My school has alarms throughout the campus in case of emergencies that call the police when hit. Many schools also offer transportation on campus after hours.
22. Don’t let one thing define you. Whether you’re an athlete or join greek life, don’t let that one thing define you into some stereotype. Be yourself!
23. Look into study abroad now! Every programs different, so whether you want to go for a semester or a summer, start looking now. Some programs may require a certain amount of hours and some may have prerequisites. The sooner the better. The more involved in your major you become, the harder it can become to study abroad.
24. Always lock your door. This semi-contradicts #15, but everyone on your floor may be your friend, but you never know who may have interior motive, and who may be wandering the floor when you’re gone or sleeping. Rule of thumb, if the rooms empty, lock the door.
25. Keep Lysol wipes and hand sanitizer on hand. When illness sticks, it’s easy to get sick living in a dorm. You’re living in shared, confined places, making it easier to pick up germs. Wipe down door handles and surface areas, and keep hand sanitizer close by.
26. Start looking for internships. It’s never too early to start looking. Many majors and jobs require internships as part of the criteria, and the more the better!
27. Join clubs. There’s clubs for everything in college, from chess club to ball room dance to the chemistry club. Joining them will create connections for your future and can open your eyes to new interests in your life.
28. Hang a calendar in your room. This has been a lifesaver for me. I use it along with a planner. Basically, on my (whiteboard) calendar, I write the days I have events and assignments due and for what class, then in my planner I put the details of that assignment. It’s nice to be able to just look at a calendar and see if anything is due for that day. It also helps to color coordinate classes.
29. Accept the fact you may drift from your high school friends. This can be difficult. Even if your friends go to the same college as you, chances are you’ll each find different groups and grow apart. It sucks, but it’s part of life, although there is no harm in texting an old friend from high school to catch up!
30. Do the extra credit. Every now and then you’ll get a proffessor who’s nice and gives extra credit. Do it, even if you have an A in the class because you never know how difficult that next test might be, or when the next pop quiz will catch you by surprise. It also makes you look good to the professor, because you’re taking the extra time on “unnecessary” assignments.
31. Speak up in class. In a lecture hall of 200+ students, it’s easy to get lost in the crowd. Ask questions, make yourself known, because when it comes to grading an assignment, if a professor knows who you are and that you participate in class, they might be kind enough to round that C+ to a B.
32. Go to office hours. This goes with #31. Making yourself known to a professor is important and be beneficial to your grades. Office hours are also perfect for asking questions and getting one-on-one time with the professor.
33. Make friends in the community. Not just the kids in the dorm across the hall, I mean the dining hall staff, the librarian, staff at on-campus restaurants. Not only will it make their day, but it can help you out in the long run. Maybe they’ll let you know of a special going on, or give you advice of what’s new on campus, or even free food (hey, one can be hopeful!). It helps to know people from the community.
34. College is “Free Things” central. The amount of free t-shirts, koozies, and random thing you get is unbelievable. Living in a dorm can provide even more freebies, like free pizza night, free ice cream sundaes, etc. Take full advantage of anything free!
35. Go to the Library. Sometimes a change of scenery is helpful when studying. If you go often enough, find your “spot”, aka the place you can get the most work done.
36. Have a lazy day every now and then. College can be stressful, so take a day every now and then to not work on any assignments, stay in and be lazy. Order food and just watch Netflix all day. Giving yourself a mental and physical break is good for you.
37. Don’t wait until last minute for an assignment. That one page paper seems easy enough, so do it NOW. Don’t wait until the night before, because before you know it, you have 3 papers due the same day, and you only have time to do one.
38. Choose a schedule that fits you. If you’re not a morning person, then don’t take 8 A.M.’s. If you like to get things done and out the way, take early morning classes. College gives you the freedom to make your own schedule.
39. Create a balance between work and fun. I go to a school that’s known for being a “party school”, but before we have our weekend fun, we spend our time working our butts off. Your parents aren’t here to tell you to do your homework before you go out, but you need to do it. I promise there will be a hundred parties and tailgates in your college career, but your college career may be cut short if you choose not to do your school work, or study for that test, so you could go out and have fun. Make a balanced schedule, but remember, school always comes first.
40. Use your student discounts. So many places offer student discounts if you have a student ID. Always ask if they do discounts for students, even if it’s not mentioned anywhere! (I got a discount on my phone bill for being a college student!)
41. Go to review sessions. Not all professors will do this, but when they do, GO. They’ll more than likely cover whats on the test, and allow questions. Even if you think you know everything, sometimes there’s that one kid who will ask a question on something you didn’t think of (or know would be on the exam)! I personally have gotten much higher grades on exams than I would have if I hadn’t gone to a review session.
42. Take advantage of the campus health center. Everyone gets sick. It’s gonna happen. Luckily, most campuses offer free healthcare at their health center, and they do everything from physicals to vaccines. Yes, they do offer STI screenings and pregnancy tests, but the most common reason for visits is colds and viruses.
43. Stock up on snacks in your dorm. The dining hall isn’t always open, and sometime you’ll get those midnight munchies, plus when it’s raining or freezing out, chances are you won’t want to leave your warm, dry dorm room.
44. You’re all in the same boat. Every single one of you are experiencing the same nerves and emotions. You’re all starting a new chapter of life together, so I promise no one is judging you, and every upperclassmen has been in your shoes.
45. Enjoy your clean slate. Once you crossed that graduation stage, everything in high school got left behind. No one cares if you were the most popular or least popular, that you were a star football player or just a bystander in school. When you meet people in college, they know you for you, not who you were. Be who you wanna be.