Now that I’m wrapping up my second year of college, I’ve come to the conclusion that the preparation for college that I received in high school and even the advice I’ve gotten from college prep programs at the university I attend now (which I love so much) was just one foot step into the door. Nonetheless, as an incoming freshman I did not take any of the advice seriously. Don’t be a dummy like me and not listen! I can say this from personal experience, YOU WILL REAP WHAT YOU SOW. I would go into my story, but that’s another blog post for another day. I’ve learned and matured so much my past two years here and can honestly say that maturity definitely goes hand in hand with listening. Here’s what I’ve learned:
- You’ll never regret staying in to study. There are probably six of the SAME parties you could go to every weekend where you’ll see the SAME people, but you really only get one shot at each exam. Not to sound like a mom (I’m about to sound like a mom), but the grades you make freshman year are the most important ones. Your friends might give you a hard time and what not, and going to a party or whatever is more fun than staying in with a stack of textbooks, but you’ll feel so much better later. Trust me!
- Don’t buy books from the university! Unless your professor states that that’s the one you need to get. It’s all a scam. Go to the neighborhood bookstore or order on Amazon.com or Chegg.com.
- Hey ladies… here’s one. College boyfriends are sometimes just for the learning experience and won’t actually be anything more than ‘that guy you cuddle with on Saturday nights.’ Haha, you’re probably thinking I’m being dramatic but no, connections like that do exist and aren’t made to go any further.
- Here’s actually one thing I didn’t take advantage of: FREE FOOD. How much free food there is at different events all over campus is ridiculous but regardless, take advantage of that shit. Don’t think you’re always going to want to eat dining hall food or have money to spend to eat at fast food restaurants all the time.
- Okay I lied. Here’s another thing I didn’t take advantage of: GO. TO. OFFICE. HOURS. I cannot stress this enough. Even just to say hi, or to mention how much you enjoyed a new book that’s related to the course. Honestly I’m not going there to do all that. I actually need some one-on-one with my professor when I’m stuck in a class, but make an effort. Professors have to be there anyway, you might as well give them someone to talk to.
- Take professors, don’t take classes! I had to take a chemistry class my freshman year, mind you I HATE SCIENCE, but I loved it because my professor was so engaging. So I didn’t mind going. Usually when I’m creating my schedule for next semester, I’ll go on ratemyproffesor.com and look up the professors’ name for the classes I have to take and look at their reviews. It helps.
- Utilize the gym. Not only is it the only time ever you’ll have free membership, but you will gain the ‘Freshman 15’ no matter how fit you were in high school.
- You’re starting from scratch, so no one will care that you were top of your class in high school or the weird kid. This is your opportunity to reinvent yourself.
- You might not be best friends forever with your roommate(s), and that’s okay. Most college dorms pair you up with a random roommate or two, and the Hollywood perception is that you guys will end up best friends and spend the rest of your amazing college adventures together. Hahahahaha, NO. Sometimes, but only sometimes, that will happen. But maybe you’re like me and aren’t cool with having a random. Fortunately for me, I already knew or had some type of connection with my roommates from freshman year and we chose to live together. Random or not, you’ll find yourself invading each other’s space from time to time and will soon know if living with them again is the right choice. Ultimately, it will be an experience you don’t forget and don’t regret. Although we do not all live with each other now, we are all still good friends ’till this very day.
- If you don’t already like coffee, you will soon. Now if you’re like me, I’m more of a tea/frappe (which if you didn’t know, doesn’t have caffeine)/juice or water drinker way before I’m a coffee drinker. I won’t pick up anything with caffeine unless it’s my only choice. I didn’t start drinking coffee very heavily ’till I had my first 8 AM. Next thing you know, I’m getting a latte before each class before 10 in the morning. This year I’ve actually went down on my coffee intake and simply did two things: A) stop taking 8 AM’s and B) making time for breakfast.
- You might think you know how to study, but you actually have no idea how to study. Memorizing facts from a textbook is not the same as developing complex understandings of topics you’ve probably never heard of. In high school, you probably had a test every week. In college you’ll have about 3 exams that cover about 2-4 chapters each. They’ll also count for so much more of your grade, so there’s added pressure. You’ll soon realize all your studying techniques are garbage, but that’s okay, because you’ll develop new ones. 🙂
- That relationship you had while you were in high school.. yeah about that… you won’t know how hard maintaining a long distance relationship is until you’ve gone to college. Especially if he’s/she’s not living in your college town. If you are in the same boat as I was, here’s how to go through that: don’t. If you feel like you cannot trust him/her, begin to become controlling, doubtful & worrisome, or even feel like you need space/want to venture college, do it and let go. Like everybody says, if it is meant for you it’ll always be for you. I’ve lived by this through other situations including this one and can say, it holds 100% truth.
- It’s okay to not know what you want to do with your life before going to college. You aren’t the only one. Going to college is honestly the first step. I regret this now, but coming from a family of doctors and lawyers I was heavily influenced into going into the field of physical therapy. I changed my major about two times and soon learned that I wanted absolutely nothing to do with science. In this process, I learned that there were so many freshmen just as lost as me. College is definitely an experience for the books so trust me when I say this – being involved on campus and taking different classes will help dramatically when you don’t know what field you want to venture in. It’s also okay to go to college undecided, which is what I wish I did.
- With that being said, BALANCE AND TIME MANAGEMENT IS KEY. Go out with friends, get involved, get a job on campus if you want to! But always make time for studying and other academic responsibilities. Finding the balance between work and play will probably be one of your hardest struggles while in college.
- Go out and get help if you need it. The help will not come to you. Utilize all resources on campus whether it be advising, tutoring, financial situations, etc. My biggest downfall my freshman year was being too scared to ask for help and guidance. The transition from high school to college was a big challenge for me and I promise you it would’ve went 110 times smoother if I’d just ask for help.
That’s all folks! I hope this helped some of you with a billion of questions about freshman year of college. Feel free to ask me anything in the comment section below. Thanks for reading! 💚