23 College Freshmen Give Their Advice To Incoming Students

23 College Freshmen Give Their Advice To Incoming Students

4 college campuses, 23 students, endless advice that can save you your first year.

Your transition into college is a hard one, no doubt, but it hardly makes it easier when your teachers, parents, and advisors try to prepare you for "what’s out there." Take their pieces of advice to heart, but what really counts is the advice from students who are living what you’re about to live. I asked 23 current college freshmen from different schools what advice they had for incoming freshmen.

1. "Always look for the positives in people, even if they drive you crazy. Building relationships has been the most important part of my college career so far!" - M.L.

2. "Don't abuse your new use of free time, it'll hurt you more than help you." - K.L.

3. “Stop trying to figure everything out; sometimes things just work or don’t work and it’s completely out of your control.” - G.H.

4. “Get to know your teachers personally, go to office hours!” - C.F.

5. “Things pile up but don't stress too much. You are strong and you will get through the worst of it.” - I.W.

6. “Don't be afraid to try new things all over campus!” - S.L.

7. "Push yourself to be social." - P.P.

8. "Don't let the excitement of college get in the way of school, be smart and remember what you came for!" - J.U.

9. "Try to choose the healthier option in dining halls." - K.P.

10. "You don't have to be best friends with your roommate, you just have to live together." - J.F.

11. "It's easy to get overwhelmed by how much new stuff there is and it's easy to get distracted, but you should always place academics first." - R.C.

12. "Don’t be afraid to do what is best for you! Do what you need to take care of yourself and don’t worry what other people may think!" - V.S.

13. "College isn’t going to be fun all the time: you learn to ride with the ups and downs and appreciate the journey." - M.N.

14. "Get yourself out there and get involved with the campus community, but don’t forget that it is okay to spend time alone." - M.G.

15. "Get involved, don’t sit in your dorm all day." - B.F.

16. "Your first year is a transition and it’s okay if you don’t do as well as you did in high school during your first year of college." - R.B.

17. "Make sure you get involved and take it one day at a time!" - A.W.

18. "Don't knock something before you try it!" - C.W.

19. "Take advantage of free learning resources like the Center for Student Learning and your professor's office hours ." - J.L.C.

20. "Don’t be afraid to be homesick, everyone feels that way, you’re not alone!" - L.C.

21. "Know that it's okay to fail as long as you're doing your best." - W.D.B.

22. "Get organized and keep up with your syllabus (use a desk calendar!) but don't forget to schedule in social time because college is full of it!" - D.S.

23. "Not everything is going to go the way you planned and you may start a path only to realize it’s a dead end, but don’t let that get you down because those experiences will strengthen you so you can take whatever comes at you after college!" - G.B.

As long as you take care of yourself, try new things, and keep an open mind to new experiences, your first semester of college will be successful.

Cover Image Credit: CofC Teaching Fellows

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A Letter To My Freshman Dorm Room As I Pack Up My Things

Somehow a 15' x 12' room became a home.


Dear Geary 411,

With your creaky beds, concrete walls, and mismatched tile floors, you are easily overlooked as just another room we were randomly assigned to— but you were different. Inside your old walls, I have made some of the best memories of my life that I will hold on to forever.

Thank you for welcoming my neighbors in with open arms who quickly became friends who didn't knock and walked in like you were their own.

I feel like an apology is needed.

We're sorry for blaring the music so loud while getting ready and acting like we can actually sing when, in reality, we know we can't. Sorry for the dance parties that got a bit out of control and ended with us standing on the desks. Sorry for the cases of the late-night giggles that came out of nowhere and just would not go away. Sorry for the homesick cries and the "I failed my test" cries and the "I'm dropping out" cries. We're sorry for hating you at first. All we saw was a tiny and insanely hot room, we had no idea what you would bring to us.

Thank you for providing me with memories of my first college friends and college experiences.

As I stand at the door looking at the bare room that I first walked into nine months ago I see so much more than just a room. I see lots and lots of dinners being eaten at the desks filled with stories of our days. I see three girls sitting on the floor laughing at God knows what. I see late night ice cream runs and dance battles. I see long nights of homework and much-needed naps. Most importantly, I look at the bed and see a girl who sat and watched her parents leave in August and was absolutely terrified, and as I lock you up for the last time today, I am so proud of who that terrified girl is now and how much she has grown.

Thank you for being a space where I could grow, where I was tested physically, mentally and emotionally and for being my home for a year.


A girl who is sad to go

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When Was The Last Time You Were Alive?

If you can't post it for everyone to see, was it truly a remarkable moment?


Being alive is an essentially effortless act.

In theory, as long as you're eating food, drinking water, and performing as a human, assuming no major health conditions, most of us are living.

The tragedy I see most often is so very few of us are alive.

Now, I'm not suggesting you drop your textbooks and sprint up a mountain, or go broke trying to find yourself in new activities and events.

That's the illusion pressed onto so many of us. Social Media, more importantly, FOMO, has taught us that in order to truly be alive we need to make sure we travel far and wide, eat gourmet and unique food, and essentially, immerse ourselves in something phenomenal. However, regardless of what you do- don't do it without an audience and the value of your experience will only be justified by the number of likes you accrue on your #bestvacation ever because you #lovenature. With your back to the camera and wispy hair flowing in the beach air, you hit all of your angles, how else will you prove that you're alive to Instagram?

I fell for this too. I spent so much of my life constantly trying to get to the next phase life had to offer. High school was fun, but I was counting the days until graduation. Growing up in a small hometown wasn't awful, but I had sticky note calendars until my next vacation. And day in and day out, events would happen all around me that were just too "normal." I wasn't alive, but I was living.

Setting your soul on fire and truly living is so much more difficult than you could ever expect, but not because you have to drain savings and take along a buddy to snap all the perfect moments.

Choosing to be alive is realizing how important it is to be in this moment or phase in life and accepting it for all its worth. Instead of racing to the finish line or trying to sprint into your next season of assumed happiness, take time to notice all the beautiful and small things that make this moment so important. There is so much life to be found in simple moments.

Semesters are ending, we are all racing to summer. Perhaps in the process, take note of the routine cafeteria worker that constantly smiles at you and says hello. Or perhaps, giggle at the fact that in just a few short weeks that bus driver you see every single morning won't be apart of your morning routine.

The farther I get from what used to be my normal, the more I miss that season of life. I haven't lived in my hometown since I was eighteen, but I miss the simplicity that came with my drives to high school listening to Kanye West and the coziness of a small town opening its doors to start a new day. I never stopped to be alive in those moments, I was just simply living.

Wherever your next phase of life might be, it will always be there. You will always have something else coming. However, once this moment is gone. It's truly gone. Don't waste beautiful views trying to capture just the right picture for Instagram, take in the moment.

Living and experiencing life can be as simple as trusting that you're exactly where you need to be in life. Cherish each moment as you're in it. The next moment is coming whether you're ready or not.

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