College is hard. College is fun. College is weird.
I don’t know where to begin, but I can say I survived freshman year. Reflecting back on the time I had during my first year, there are several things I wish I had known before starting. Therefore, I’ve compiled a list of tips for anyone who needs them.
Don’t Over Pack. Seriously. I thought I needed my entire closet, but this simply was not the case. My roommate and I joked because we always wore the same few outfits and ended up with a closet full of unworn clothes.
- Pro Tip: Pick your favorite outfits along with a few other things because each time you go home for breaks you can switch out clothes with other ones.
Partying Isn’t Everything. I know there’s a universal thought that college is all about partying, but it really isn’t. Yes, you have more free time than you probably did in high school, but you also have way more work. I can personally say I was surprised by how much work I had for my classes and how little time I had for other things. You can definitely still have a social life, but nobody cares if you stay in the dorm on a Friday night to write a paper (And if they do, forget them). I can’t tell you how many people say “C’s get degrees” like it’s an accomplishment. Strive to do well because when you succeed, you’ll feel much better than the morning after a party.
- Pro Tip: Before midterms and finals, sacrifice one weekend to writing papers and studying instead of going out because I promise you will be less stressed.
You Will Still Take Classes You Don’t Want To Take. Everybody says college is great because you can take classes you want to take and at selected times you want to take them (aka not 8 am). However, that’s not completely true. If your school is like mine, you will have several general education classes (like public speaking) that in no way interest you, but you still have to take them. Similarly, classes that you have to take might only be offered at one time—like 8 am—and you don’t have any other options.
- Pro Tip: Just because you started class at 8 am in high school does NOT mean you can survive an 8 am in college. Seriously. Go for 9 o’clock at the earliest unless you are 100% a morning person. I had classes from 9:15-1:30 and that was my ideal setup because I didn’t have to get up before 8 but still finished class early in the day.
Get Involved. I know I said you really don’t have that much extra time in college, but getting involved is a great way to meet people and find your niche on campus. I wrote for the newspaper, met a lot of people, and made some good money. I also joined a sorority, which was kind of my saving grace this year. Depending on your school, Greek Life might either be non-existent or over the top. At my school, however, it’s a perfect in-between where if you aren’t in a sorority/fraternity you will still have a social life, but those who are have a great group of friends and supporters. I personally felt that joining a sorority made school feel more like ‘home’. The same can go for a sports team, intermural/club team, other clubs, service organization, or a job.
- Pro Tip: Look for things to join prior to starting school because a lot of sign up sheets/try outs take place the first week of school. It might be overwhelming for you to join things right when you start but it might help you get acclimated.