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Congratulations! You’re a college student now. Now, here is some college freshman advice!
Freedom and your future are at the tip of your hands now. Freshman year is a major and memorable event in your life. It was personally the year of college that learned the most and changed a lot as a person. As a student, it was honestly the most difficult year I had because I learning how to get the hang of things.
In this blog post, I want to give you 13 pieces of advice for a college freshman. I am a first-generation student with one more semester to go to college! College has taught me a lot, outside of the books!
College Freshman Advice:
1. It is nothing NOTHING like high school.
You know when your high school teachers were like, “You won’t be able to do that in college?”
They were telling both lying and speaking the truth. Teachers in high school both breathed down your back and pacified you. The main difference between college and high school is that you’re 10 times more independent. High school gave you endless opportunities to shine at everything. Meanwhile, college makes you work harder for recognition and rewards.
However, college, in my opinion, is way better than high school. You’re not limited and you can make your own decisions. College is honestly what you make out of it. Also, college life is fun and exciting.
2. Don’t pack every single thing you own.
Moving into your dorm or apartment will be the first enduring thing you’ll experience as a freshman. You’re officially on your own. Likely, you’re bound to forget something yet still manage to pack your whole room. It’s best to pack the bare necessities. You don’t need to haul everything or buy everything your residential department on campus recommends.
3. Your Student ID will be your lifeline
During my freshman year, I lived in a dorm and I had to have my ID with me in order to go into my room. Secondly, this card was expensive to replace. You’ll use it for testing, buying on-campus items, getting into free events, going to sports events, and bonding over how bad it looks with classmates. (You don’t have to wear it on your neck, but keep it in your wallet or buy a pocket for your phone.)
4. Check your email!
One of my first slip-ups as a freshman was not checking my email. As a senior, I overdo it. But as a freshman, you need to form a habit of checking your school email every day. You’re also paying for that email address. So use it. You never know! One of your professors might cancel your class and send it through email!
5. Ask for help.
Do it. If you need help for anything, ask for help from classmates, friends, family, your RA, professors (especially them), a faculty member, or a counselor. People are more than willing to help you out. Simply asking a question can save tons of stress, anxiety, confusion, and mistakes.
I always tell myself: the answer is always no until you ask.
Even if someone doesn’t want to help you, find someone else who will.
6. Join clubs and do not stay in your dorm.
Another mishap of my freshman year was that I stayed in my dorm a lot. After my roommate moved out, I didn’t really go out or do anything and stayed in. I also did not stay in any clubs I joined due to worrying that it’ll take too much of my time.
Free Bonus Tip: Try something first and if it get too overwhelming, let your club members know. Don’t get caught up in thinking that you also have to impress people; most clubs are happy to have more members.
7. No one really cares.
This piece of advice is both a relief and so disheartening. This goes outside of college and more into real life, too. No one really cares.
We are so caught up in our own problems and lives that we sometimes care about others. Unlike high school where you were surrounded by judgmental, mean people, college is where a lot of people go to escape that. Most people are friendly and want to meet new people. This is also another mishap of my freshman year, too.
No one cares. Wear that outfit. Play that instrument in the courtyard. Do cartwheels. People just will simply say, “That’s college for you.”
8. Don’t take a 7 or 8 am class.
Unless you love waking up super early in the morning, don’t take a 7 or 8 am class. This is a no-brainer for most students, but once again, I fell for this trap. We’re used to waking up at 5-6 am in the morning to go to school. Yet in college, we aren’t in a homeroom class or hanging around most of the morning. College courses are denser and tend to move on despite most of the students not knowing what’s going on.
Morning classes require more attention and intention. You don’t need to follow the same schedule you had in high school. Switch it up and see what works for you.
9. Drop a class if you need to.
Hey, if you need to, drop a class. Do it early on in the semester to avoid getting it placed on your record. There’s no need to be in an extremely difficult class in your first semester. You should be getting the ropes of college first. You’ll have plenty of time to take harder classes.
I was forced into a senior-level history class due to my dorm. It was too much for my first year and I dropped. I made sure to go to a counselor to make sure I still have my financial credits. Dropping a class is not as big as it seems. Personally, I prioritized my mental health over stress for a class I did not sign up for.
10. Do things that you wouldn’t do or too afraid to do.
Undoubtedly, you’re going to college to learn. You don’t learn until you do something a bit adventurous. Don’t let your past or fears stop you from doing what you want. Go out there and do it. But be reasonable. Ask for advice but don’t hold another person’s opinion stop you from starting your business, creating a vlog, or trying new food.
11. Put effort into your health and exercise.
Unquestionably, I would tell my freshman year self to do to the university’s gym and do yoga classes every week. I’d spend less time indoors and outside. Sure, breaking a sweat walking from class to class is sorta like exercise, but…
Anyway, put some sort of effort towards your health (both physically and mentally). College life can be draining. Exercising can help you in many ways. Eating healthy will give you more energy. Trust me on this one, I’d eat a meal the size of two people at the dining hall and wouldn’t have any energy to study afterward.
12. Learn to prioritize your classwork, but do not neglect socializing.
Personally, I took school a bit too seriously during my freshman year. My self-worth was based on my grades. I would stay in my dorm while everyone else had fun. I didn’t make too many friends on my own and relied on other people.
If you live in a dorm, please try to get to know at least 2-5 people outside of your room and hallway. I spent most of my time declining people’s requests to hang out to do assignments that I could do later and not inviting people to hang out.
Make socializing a priority and go into college without being judgmental!
13. Take advantage of every activity, building, discount at your college because you’re really paying for it.
Finally, this my final piece of college freshman advice. I always say that college is an investment. You are putting in time and money towards your education. As a student, you should take advantage of everything, especially free food and events. A part of your tuition is going into keeping your campus running. Your voice as a student matters.
Attend any event with free food or t-shirts. If there is a student discount available, use it. Study in buildings on campus.
Being a student is one of the best things on this planet. You have plenty of opportunities to use. Never let them go to waste.
This blog post was all about college freshman advice.
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