15 Lessons I Learned During My Freshman Year

15 Lessons I Learned During My Freshman Year

You will learn more than just calculus and how to pull all-nighters during your freshman year of college.
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The school year is drawing to a close, and for freshmen like me, it's unbelievable how quickly the year went by. Freshman year is a whirlwind filled with friendships, exams, parties and memories, and it's hard to believe that's it's almost over. To reflect, I've compiled a list of 15 lessons that your freshman year of college will teach you—it's more than just academics!


1. College is way more difficult than high school.
Unlike high school, you actually need to do the assigned readings and spend hours studying for tests. There is so much more learning that you need to do outside of class, and it's easy to fall behind. Your grade could potentially be determined by how well you do on the midterm and the final—and that's it. Get to know your professors, go to class and use office hours. It will all pay off later.

2. The "Freshman 15" is a real thing.
You'll always have a friend who is hungry, and more often than not, you'll tag along with them and end up getting french fries. Not to worry: try to make healthy food choices (but Taco Bell at 3 a.m. once in a while won't kill you, either) and go to the rec center to workout a few times a week, and you'll feel a whole lot better.

3. So is FOMO.
There will be an opportunity for you to go out every night of the week. Your friends will always want to hang out. Something will always be happening around campus. Sometimes, you just need to take some time for yourself and skip out on whatever it is you want to do. It'll be hard at the moment, but it pays off later.

4. Sorority recruitment really does work out.
During recruitment, you probably heard to "trust the process" a thousand times. It's actually true though - take a deep breath and give your sorority a chance. So many people do not end up with their first choice sorority and it turns out to be the biggest blessing. Everything happens for a reason.

5. You don't need to bring your entire closet with you.
You not only have your closet, but also your roommate's closet, every girl on your floor's closet and your sorority sister's closets. You do not to bring need every piece of clothing you own. Not only is it unnecessary, but it takes up precious space in your tiny dorm room.

6. You will get homesick.
Even if you're the most independent person on this earth, you'll have those moments where you really miss home—sitting on your couch watching football with your family on Sunday, your mom's home cooked meals, fighting with your siblings, birthday celebrations and your best friends from high school. Getting homesick is natural, but it's nothing that Skypeing with your friends from home can't fix.

7. Going out friends are different than real friends.
You meet so many people so quickly, but not all of them will be your best friends. You'll have a friend who you can go out with and have a ton of fun, but you would never hang out with them on a regular basis. It's important to find friends who you can depend on for anything. They're the ones who will be there for you when you're on top of the world and when you feel like you want to curl up and cry.

8. Carrying a phone charger around with you is a smart move.
Your phone battery will be dead by noon most days, so throwing a phone charger in your bag is the way to go. Also, invest in a portable phone charger that you can bring with you when you go out; there is nothing worse than having a dead phone and not being able to find any of your friends.

9. Doing laundry is literally house arrest.
Carve out a solid two-to-three hours that you can stay in your dorm when doing laundry. Due to a Lululemon thief in my dorm, you can't leave your laundry unattended, which makes finding time to do laundry really tough. Grab a book and force yourself to study, or watch some Netflix, and laundry day becomes a little more bearable.

10. Calling your family will cure all of your problems.
When you fail a test, get in a fight with your roommate or when a boy breaks your heart, nothing is more reassuring than the sound of your mom's voice telling you that you are the best person in the world. As I said earlier, you will get homesick. Call your little brother and ask him to fill you in on what's happening at home. Even when nothing is wrong, call your family—they miss you more than you miss them.

11. You're tired all time time.
Sleep is hard to come by in college. You'll stay up late working on papers, watching movies, and eating pizza at 3 a.m. with friends. Don't skip out on the memories that staying up till dawn will bring you, but on the days when you have the opportunity to get to bed at a reasonable hour, don't stay up late watching Netflix.

12. Getting involved is important.
Pick a club (or 12) involved with something that interests you and join it! Write for your school newspaper. Go on a service trip. Look for internships. Whatever you want to do—do it! Getting involved not only keeps you busy and stops you from wasting hours on Netflix, but it makes campus a lot smaller and helps you meet even more friends.

13. You'll lose touch with some of your friends from home.
Staying in touch with all of your friends from high school is hard. There will be a lot of people who you considered your best friends in high school that you barely ever speak to. For the ones that matter, though, you'll make time. There are so many ways to keep in touch—phone calls, Skype, texting, Facebook and other social media—that you can use to make your time apart more bearable.

14. You'll start to call your dorm/school "home".
And it'll freak you out. When your friends leave school for the weekend, you'll tell them you can't wait for them to come "home." You call your dorm "home." It's a really weird feeling having a place to call home other than your actual home with your parents and siblings, but it's a good thing. Being able to feel so comfortable at school shows that you made a great choice.

15. It goes by fast.
I can't believe that I'm already reflecting on my freshman year of college. You wait so long to get to this point, and it's over before you know it. My only advice is to sit back and enjoy every moment, because before you know it, it will be over.

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To All Incoming Freshmen, When You Get To College, Please Don't Be THAT Freshman

I am pretty sure we all know who I'm talking about.

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As we are all counting down the days to return to campus, students are looking forward to meeting new people and reuniting with old friends. And then, there is the freshman.

We have all been there. The eagerness and excitement have been slowly building up through months of summer vacation, all waiting for this moment. I understand the anxiousness, enthusiasm, and insecurities. The opportunity to meet new people and explore a new area is very intriguing. But let's be real, you are here to make memories and get an education. So here are a few pieces of advice from a former college freshman.

1. Don't be that freshman who follows their significant other to college

This is the boy or girl who simply can not think for themselves. The 17-year-old puts their own personal goals and interests aside to sacrifice for a six-month high school relationship. This will more than likely end at an end of semester transfer after the relationship has been tested for a month or two in college life. So if you want to really enjoy your freshman year, make your own decisions and do what is best for you.

2. Don't be that freshman who lets their parents pick their major

"You are not going to school just to waste my money."

This is a statement you might have heard from your parents. As true as it might seem, this is definitely not a good way to start your college years. If you are not majoring in something you can see yourself doing, you are wasting your time. You can major in biology, go to medical school, and make the best grades. But if deep down you don't want to be a doctor, you will NOT end up being a good doctor. When it comes to picking your major, you really have to follow your heart.

3. Don't be that freshman who gets overwhelmed with the first taste of freedom

Yes. It is all very exciting. You don't have a curfew, you don't have rules, you don't have anyone constantly nagging you, but let's not get carried away. Don't be the freshman who gets a tattoo on the first night of living on your own. Don't be the freshman who tries to drink every liquor behind the bar. Don't be the freshman who gets caught up being someone that they aren't. My best advice would be to take things slow.

4. Don't be that freshman who starts school isolated in a relationship

I'm not telling you not to date anyone during your freshman year. I am saying to not cut yourself off from the rest of the world while you date someone. Your first year on campus is such an amazing opportunity to meet people, but people are constantly eager to start dating someone and then only spend time with that person.

Be the freshman who can manage time between friends and relationships.

5. Don't be that freshman who can't handle things on their own

It is your first year on your own. Yes, you still need help from your parents. But at this point, they should not be ordering your textbooks or buying your parking pass. If you need something for a club or for class, YOU should handle it. If you're having roommate problems, YOU should handle it, not your parents. This is the real world and college is a great time for you to start building up to be the person you want to be in the future, but you can't successfully do that if your parents still deal with every minor inconvenience for you.

6. Don't be that freshman who only talks to their high school friends

I know your high school was probably amazing, and you probably had the coolest people go there. However, I believe that college is a great time to be on your own and experience new things. Meeting new people and going to new places will allow you to grow into a more mature person. There is a way to balance meeting new friends and maintaining friendships with childhood friends, and I am sure you will find that balance.

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25 Things Every USF Student Needs To Know ASAP

Raw, humorous and valuable advice for new or already established students.

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Whether you are a brand new college student or you have a couple semesters under your belt, it's easy to get stuck going through the motions without allowing yourself to fully absorb everything that your school has to offer. These 25 students at the University of South Florida share some of their most valuable advice, secrets, and hacks when it comes to getting the most out of your college experience.

Going To The Football Games

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"If I could give a first-time student some advice I'd say to take off of work on Saturday and just go to the football games because they'll regret it if they don't." Ciara G.

Finding Opportunities

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"Read the Note-a-Bulls emails and flyers you see on campus. Sometimes you find a great scholarship, internship, and recreational opportunities." Abigayle R.

Gaining Friends And Losing Friends

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"Remember that some people come into your life for short periods and even though some make your life amazing while others make it awful…they're part of your story!" Ashley J.

Procrastinating

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"Always put school work as a number one priority. I know I sometimes slacked off and waited until the absolute last minute to do assignments my first year. Not only did that stress me out but that work also ended up not being as good as it could've been. Also, take as many pictures as you can because before you know it college is over." Sydney M.

Sidewalk Etiquette

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"If you walk slow, do not walk in the center of the sidewalk." Katie H.

The Squirrels

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"The squirrels get aggressive, just be careful." Alex K.

Doing Laundry On Campus

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"Always check the USF app to see if the laundry machines are in working order, and if you want your money back call, the app for the company doesn't work well…and keep in mind they'll give you a refund, but they will send a physical check even for something as small as a dollar." Megan M.

When In Florida, Do As The Floridians Do

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"Always carry an umbrella because there is a 100% chance that it will rain. Also, buy a rain jacket that can fit over your backpack in order to protect electronics." Sina W.

Dining Dollars and Beer

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"You can buy stuff that is not food from the pod with dining dollars and you can buy beer from the Beef O Brady's with dining dollars after 5 p.m." Carlin I.

Finding Parking

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"Be prepared to play musical chairs, parking lot version." Negin W.

Taking Alone Time

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"Remember to take time for yourself. Whatever that may be, always remember you deserve time for you!" Mary S.

Checking Your Emails Is Important

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"Check your email regularly. This is the only way advisors/faculty can communicate with you. Also, set your mail.usf email to forward to your personal email account if you don't want to check more than one email." Cherie D.

Letting Go Of The Past

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"Nothing from your past matters, not people or things, so don't dwell on it." Cameron H.

Sitting In Someone Else's Spot

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"Respect peoples non-assigned assigned seat. Also, people at USF are friendly so don't be afraid to talk to people and make new friends." Gaby M.

Talking In Class

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"Don't be afraid to talk in class. The class will go by so much better and will be less boring if you help the professor out and say something. Also, be sure to go to peer leading because it helps me so much." Brandon W.

Being Friendly To Your Professors And Classmates

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"Get to know professors as humans and mentors. Be the student whose smiling face they look for in class when they come in. Don't always dive for the empty table if you see others sitting alone. Maybe they need a friend too." Amanda F.

Being Involved On Campus

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"Take advantage of the stuff on campus. Like you pay for it. Do it." Leeland B.

Exercise And Finding Free Food On Campus

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"Join a sports team on campus, you'll get your exercise in and make amazing friends! Also, download the Edi-Bull app to find the free food on campus." Megan K.

Being Anti-Social

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"Go to USF events and just talk to people. That little voice that tells you 'ah people are scary, I shouldn't interact,' almost everyone has that voice in some sort of way so you already have something in common. Also, come to WOW (Week Of Welcome) and so hi to the PALS (Peer Advisor Leaders)." Ishaat Musrur H.

Not Knowing Your Purpose

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"Don't worry about figuring out everything (yourself, your major, your classes, etc) right away. It's okay to be a little unsettled as long as you are working hard along the way." Bonita H.

Sleeping, Eating, And Showing Up To Class

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"Set a structured schedule for yourself. Try to get up and go to sleep around the same time every week day-it makes waking up easier and it's healthier for your body! You don't have to live off of fast food. I know it's easier and all around on campus but try making yourself something- you'd be surprised how easy cooking can be. Also, go to class! Even if attendance isn't mandatory, you're paying for every single hour of that lecture. Better not waste it." Hannah W.

Controlling The Music In The Dining Hall

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"You can control the music in the dining hall using the Rockbox app." Nicole Y.

Figuring Out Where Your Classes Are

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"At least a day before classes start, walk around on campus to find out where they all are and go to your professor's office hours. Especially if it pertains to your grade, but even just for one little question. Get to know your professors." Demi A.

Picking The Best Classes

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"Prepare for the next semester! Try and figure out what classes you need for the coming semester ahead of time so you're ready to get them as soon as you can sign up!" Elizabeth S.

Appreciating Your RA's

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"Get to know your RA! They're here to help you get acclimated and enjoy your time on campus." Gia R.

The number one thing to remember is to have fun and appreciate each moment because these few years will fly by faster than you think. Go Bulls!

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