Going into my junior year of college seems absolutely insane to me. These past two years have gone by so fast and I know the next two will go by just as fast. Thinking back to my freshman year, I realize that it was crazy! Being eight hours from home, there were a lot of things that I had to figure out on my own. Here’s 10 things that I wish I had known before my freshman year.
1. You have a ton of free time, use it wisely
So many people told me that one of the biggest differences between high school and college was the amount of free time. You more than likely won’t be in class from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. straight. Second semester my freshman year I had class from 8 a.m.-11 a.m. and then I was done for the day. This creates a lot of free time. My advice would be not to waste a lot of it watching Netflix. It sounds boring but get your work done first and then watch Netflix or do whatever. You will feel way more productive if you get your work done first and you won’t have to worry about it later on.
2. Professors don’t really care why you didn’t get your work done
High school teachers are very lenient. You didn’t get a paper done? Just hand it in next class. College professors aren’t like that. You didn’t get a paper done? Okay, hand it in next class but you’re getting 15 points off. Honestly, some professors will just give you a zero right then and there. So just get your work done on time.
3. Not going to class can effect you more than you think
I saw this happen to so many people. They wouldn’t show up to class, thinking they would be fine, and they weren’t. Not going to class has both short term consequences and long term consequences that are even worse. By missing a day or two of class you can miss a lot of important information that the professor might not give you. You more than likely will have to either go to their office hours or get the information from a friend. Some professors will take off points from your final grade if you miss too many classes. If you miss too many classes, at some schools, it could result in the loss of any scholarship or financial aid that you have. Unless you’re really sick or there’s a family emergency, go to class.
4. You’re going to see some crazy stuff
Coming from a small town and going from a school with 1,000 kids in high school to a college with 6,000 undergrads it was an adjustment. With many people in one place there is bound to be some crazy things happening. The craziest experience I ever witnessed was a cop chase on campus.
5. It’s okay to be a “teacher’s pet”
Having your professors know your name is not a bad thing. In most cases it will be a good thing. Go to your professor’s office hours if you need help. Email them any questions or concerns you have. Stay five minutes after class if you don’t understand something. Doing all of these little things will not only help you get better grades but it will show your professor that you want to work hard and do well. Once they see this, they will be more willing to help you with work and tests. It also may help you later on if your collegiate career if you ever need a letter of recommendation.
6. You are going to meet some of the most amazing people
It really is true when people say that you meet your friend’s for life in college. In high school, there were some people that you were friends with because you saw them every day. That friendship may not carry into college and that’s okay. The friends you make in college are going to be the ones you stay in contact with 10 years after you graduate. I live states away from my friends from school but when we go back in August it’s like the summer never happened. I know that no matter the distance, they will always be there for me.
7. You may change as a person
For most people, going to college will be the first extended period of time that they are away from school and away from everyone they have grown up with. This new found freedom and new people may change you. That could be for the better or for the worse. College is really a time to figure out who you are and as long as you stay true to yourself then that’s all that matters.
8. There will be fire alarms at 2 a.m.
Fire alarms are inevitable. Someone is going to burn popcorn, forget to put water in their Ramen, or forget to turn their straightener off. Most of these things just happen to be in the middle of the night. You’re not going to want to get up but just do it. You could get a huge fine if the fire department finds you still in the building. My advice for the 2 a.m. fire alarms? If it’s fall or winter bring a blanket outside with you. You don’t want to be that person standing in the snow with nothing to keep them warm. These fire alarms can last a while.
9. You will appreciate home so much more
You may not necessarily get home sick, I never did, but you will appreciate your hometown or state so much more. Being eight hours from home really made me realize just how much I love home and miss my mom’s cooking. When you get the chance to go home you will enjoy it so much. Don’t get me wrong, you will be excited to go back to school but you will value your time at home so much more.
10. High School is not the best years of your life
People say that and maybe they just didn’t have a good college experience but from my point of view college is so much better than high school. You have so much more freedom in college. There are so many more adventures you will have. 1 a.m. ice cream runs on Tuesday nights are a pretty common thing. You get to choose when your classes are. You get to choose how many classes you want to take. You meet the best people possible. You truly get to just be you and do what makes you happy. College is an amazing time and it goes by in the blink of an eye.
To everyone starting college this fall, enjoy it! You will be stressed out of your mind when all of your professor’s schedule tests on the same day. But you will feel so relieved an accomplished once it is all over. You will make some of the most amazing memories during these next four years that you will never forget.