Starting college can be a scary thing for some people. It’ll be the first time you are really on your own, to do whatever it is that you want. You make the rules, the big decisions, and the choices. After finishing my freshman year about a month ago, I thought of some useful advice that would have helped me going into my freshman year. Hopefully these will help you too!
1. Go to your college’s events
Sometimes it was pretty lame to go to the events your high school would throw. But go to the ones at college. Not only is it a great way to meet new people but they are fun and make for great memories. Typically during the week before and week after classes start, colleges throw a ton of events. This is typically when you sign up for clubs or participate in rush if you want to be in a sorority.
I go to Clemson University, so speaking from my personal experience, there are parades, activities all over campus, Rent-A-Puppy, downtown is closed and there are free stuff given to you, and more! Also, a lot of colleges offer events specific to freshman students, GO TO THEM! Go to the football games, the random stuff held on campus, the free concerts, the baseball games. IF ESPN GAME DAY COMES TO YOUR COLLEGE WAKE UP AT 4 AM AND GO!
2. Branch out and meet new people
If you’re like me, almost half my grade went to the same college as me. I learned that in college, it is OKAY to break away from your high school friends. A lot of the time for the first year of college, people stick to what is comfortable. So they do what all of their same friends are doing, even if they d on’t like it. Its completely okay to still be friends with people you went to high school with, I am still good friends with some, BUT don’t be afraid to branch out and meet new people and do new things.
It is also important to go out and do things. Don’t just sit in your room and avoid doing things. If you don’t have any high school friends or anyone you know, go out and meet new people! Listen to point #1 above. Go to your college’s events, go to club meetings, and go to anything and everything!
3. Join clubs that interest YOU!
This can also apply to #2, but just because your roommate or best friend is joining intramural lacrosse doesn’t mean you have to! If you would rather join a hiking club, then join it! Make decisions on yourself, college is the first time of your life where you get to experience making your own rules and decisions. There are clubs for EVERYTHING. There was a club that I joined where I had to feed puppies at a local animal rescue and when I was done, I got to play with them for as long as I wanted! I also got back into riding horses this year and plan to ride even more next year.
4. You don’t need to party every night or every weekend
When I was in high school, everyone thought that I would go buck wild in college because I was pretty sheltered in high school. I thought the same thing! I thought that the freedom, free beer, and wild aspect of college would get to me and would result into me going out all the time and doing things I probably shouldn’t. I know I’m not the only one who thinks that is what happens in college before they go. College looks SO glamorous and wild. There are some people who party every night or every weekend, there is nothing wrong with that as long as their grades don’t reflect it. But, it is completely, 100% OKAY to not go out all the time. If you would rather take a bubble bath and watch netflix, then do it! You are your own person and you don’t need to conform to what your friends are doing. I had people from high school come up to me, who I have not talked to in a year at the least, telling me they’ve heard I don’t go out to frats, or don’t party or get drunk. I look them in the face and tell them, so what? There is more to life than a frat party that results in throwing up all night. Been there done that the first semester of my freshman year.
5. Don’t be loud in quiet spaces
This could go for any college student, but DO NOT BE LOUD OR ANNOYING IN THE LIBRARY!!! Respect other people
6. Things that were “weird” or “lame” in highschool will be completely normal in college.
Sit alone in the cafe, fall asleep on a bench, set up an eno or hammock on the trees around campus, ride a scooter to class, cry in the corner of the library. Do whatever the heck you want because 9 times out of 10 other college students are not going to care or judge you unless their assholes
7. Do not pack your entire closet with all of your cute clothes and fancy shoes.
You’ll more than likely end up wearing the same group of oversized t shirts after the first 2 weeks of class. Trust me, 1, you’ll get lazy and 2, no one cares what you’re wearing. There will definitely be times when you want to dress nice. Pick the clothes that are staples and can be worn multiple times in different ways. This way, you’ll have room in your (most likely) tiny closet and you won’t have things untouched either.
8. Don’t sweat it if you’re not close with your roommate(s)
A lot of people go to college and only know their roommate, it’s okay to do things with them at the start. But if things stop working out, let yourself know that it is okay to not be close to them. Sometimes people will feel bad if they don’t include their roommate or if they don’t include you, but don’t sweat it. Go out and do your own things and make your own friends! (That is if you want to, I didn’t have a good relationship with my roommates so this applies to people like me!) Or if you end up not getting along, that’s ok too. Sometimes people will room with their best friend from home and end up hating each other, or you’ll get a roommate from hell, or you’ll get someone who you are just an acquaintance with. If it ends up not working out the way you had imagined, don’t sweat it. It’s not that big of a deal trust me.
9. Embrace afternoon naps
When we were a kid, we fought our parents so we could get out of taking naps. But I SWEAR to you, you will live for naps. I take naps every so often, but people like my boyfriend, take naps every day. College students love naps and no one will judge you for taking them. You’re going to be exhausted in college. You’ll have homework, studies, friends, clubs, class, Netflix, etc. Whenever I take naps if I sleep for longer than 15-30 minutes I feel dead, so try to take naps in your REM cycle rotation! Take your afternoon nap and embrace it. Sleep tight!
10. Do NOT take 8 am’s
This goes with #9 in a way. Unless you are a morning person and enjoy getting up early (the girl I’m living with this upcoming year said she enjoyed her 8 ams for the most part and got to start her day) but that is pretty much unheard of in college. You’ll be up late at night doing probably everything else besides sleep. There is late night studying, partying, procrastinating, online shopping, Netflix binging…. you name it. The earliest class I took my freshman year was 9:05 am and I HATED it. Trust me, you’ll value being able to sleep in.
11. Don’t wait until the last minute to do assignments or to study
You’ve probably heard this from everyone, but its the truth. This is one of those “Do what I say, not what I do” things, because I am the queen of procrastination. BUT, it is something I am going to work on this upcoming year. There were countless nights that I would stay up way to late studying for the exam that is the next day, because I hadn’t studied before. Or nights that I would stay up writing my speech or research paper. Just study ahead of time in intervals and work on assignments before the night before.
12. Step out of your comfort zone
Don’t be afraid to do things you normally wouldn’t do or things that scare you. The 4 years of college are the years that we have to figure out who we are and what we want to do with our lives. At least, hopefully we’ll figure those things out…. BUT in these 4 years, its a time to step out of your comfort zone. If you are a shy person, go out and make yourself be outgoing. If you want to go sky diving, join the sky diving club. (Clemson offers this, and I am PETRIFIED but I think I’m going to join it this year.) Its the first year to be on your own and be yourself, be carefree and do things that scare you.