Just last year I was in your shoes, freaking out and getting excited about the same things you are. But with almost my first year of college done, I've realized that I've learned a lot. Your college experience is going to be exactly what you make out of it so here are some tips that I think every incoming freshman could use before August rolls around....
1. The professor really does make a difference.
College is hard and it's even harder when you have a bad professor. A boring class can easily become enjoyable when you have the right professor. In the same way, a class you thought would be awesome can really really suck if you have a lousy one. Rate my professor will be your best friend when picking out classes. Don't get scared away by reviews that say the professor is tough but run far far away from reviews that say the teacher is just not good at teaching, you're paying too much money to teach yourself.
2. There is no bad place to nap.
In the library? On a random bench? In the middle of the grass? There is no wrong place to take a nap. You quickly learn that no one cares or judges and it's a beautiful thing... the only thing you'll feel to the person passed out in the lobby of the library is pure envy.
3.You're in control of your schedule... take advantage of that.
This is the first time you don't have to get up at 8 am every single day for class and I'm telling you unless you absolutely have to take an 8 am....don't. You'll be amazed at yourself that you could wake up at 7 am the past 12 years of your life because once your parents aren't there to make sure you're awake, getting up gets really really hard.
4. Despite always telling yourself you won't, you will miss home.
If you're like me then you're counting down the seconds until you can leave for college and while the independence college gives you is amazing, going home for a weekend every now and then is needed. Sometimes you just really need your bed, your shower, your family, good food, and your dog.
5. You're going to feel lost.
College is all about finding yourself and as cliche as it may sound, sometimes you can't truly find yourself until you lost yourself first. There are gonna be phases in your college experience where you feel completely and utterly lost. You're going to feel frustrated, distraught, and many times not good enough or capable enough but hey...If you're not questioning what you're doing with your life every couple of seconds are you even doing college right?
6. Communal bathrooms suck, but they help form friendships.
There is nothing fun or enjoyable about sharing a bathroom with 20 other girls, believe me. And while you may never grow to love it, you sure do grow to not hate it. Some great conversations are had huddled over the bathroom sinks and sometimes after a rough night out, friendships are made next door in the stalls.
7. The professors want you to succeed.
I'm not sure about any of you but in high school many teachers make it seem as if professors are very distant from their students, race through the material, and give you no time to copy down notes. And while the material is definitely much more in depth and fast paced, many professors understand that you're trying to write everything down and will either post their slides online or make sure the majority of the class has what's important down. They constantly ask if there are questions and if you don't want to ask it then, they encourage their office hours. Their nice people, they don't have it out to get you I swear.
8. You have to put yourself out there.
If you see someone in class you think you want to be friends with walk up to them and talk to them. Don't double-think yourself, just do it before you can back out. If you think you may want to try out or sign up for something then do it! You can always change your mind but going out gets really old and you're going to want something else to occupy your time. Besides, Don't lose sight that you're going to have to build your resume and having clubs or activities you're involved in looks great.
9. You're going to master talking to strangers.
You know that mini panic attack you get when you're hanging out with someone alone for the first time and you're freaking out over what you're going to talk about? Yeah well, college at first is full of that but if there's one thing I've mastered so far in college it's how to have full conversations with complete strangers. You are going to meet a lot of new people, some people you'll know for 5 minutes and never see again and some people you'll become great friends with. By the second semester conversation with strangers will come naturally.
10. No one is going to hate you for one sloppy night - just try not to make it a habit.
It's true that no one likes the person that always gets too drunk and has to be taken care of but nights like this happen to everyone so as long as you learn your limits and don't make it a habit no one is going to think any less of you because of 1 or 2 bad nights. But hey.. if you see someone else having one of these nights, whether you know them or not.. help them out, we gotta stick together out there!
11. You're not going to have friends in every class...and that's ok!
It's perfectly normal to have classes where you don't talk to anyone in, that doesn't make you a loner. You're in college to get a degree and with classes only being a semester long and mixed with freshman, seniors, and a sixty-year-old man, making friends can be tough but that's ok, you're not meant to have friends in every class!
12. The "poor college student" stereotype is too real.
No, but really... sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is to just avoid checking your bank account at all costs. What you don't know can hurt you....
13. The weather is the biggest determinant if you're getting out of bed for class.
One of my biggest pieces of advice.. save your skip days. You will quickly find out that very little people actually go to class when it's raining or snowing. I mean who wants to walk across campus when it's pouring rain? The best gift you can give to yourself is to save those skip days.
14. Sitting alone is normal.
I know you think everyone is judging you but I promise no one is. I can't stress enough how normal it is to walk by someone sitting or eating alone. College doesn't come with a lot of alone time so sometimes you need to just sit alone for a second.
15. Make friends with the people on your floor.
Freshman year is probably the only time you're going to be able to run to your friends because their room is only a couple feet away. While it's important to branch out and meet other friends, the people on your freshman floor could be some of your best friends for life so take advantage of that.