Ahhh good ol' freshman year. The best times and the worst times. Going to college six hours from home was the best decision I had ever made for myself, but the transition would have been much smoother had I known the things I know now. You cannot take on this beast by yourself, so allow me to lend a hand and guide you through one of the most exciting and different years of your life thus far. I have compiled a list of 10 key things to avoid your freshman year of college in order to ensure a smooth, happy, and fun first year!
1. Chad from Sigma Why
There is no coincidence I put this as the number one thing to avoid your first year on campus. Nine out of 10 fraternity boys can and will make life messier and harder than it needs to be. Avoid the Brads in this world.
I recommend focusing this year on finding yourself and figuring out your place without adding ignorant sex-crazed boys to the mix. Sure they can be fun to party and spend time with, but if you give them too much of your time you may find yourself in a sticky situation. I promise you will not find your husband at your first fraternity party in college, so focus on yourself and living your best single life without getting involved with a Chad.
2. Accepting questionable solo cups from any male whatsoever
I don't care how hot Chad is, or how cute his friends are. If a boy offers you any open container, either say no thank you or take that cup and put that thing on the floor seconds later. Most college boys are super sketch, and I would only trust your close girls in the get-go. To be safe, stick to beer at parties or simply bring your own drink (unless you're down to wake up next to Chad having no clue what happened the night before).
3. Wasting all your dining dollars within the first two months of school
This one is sad but true. You don't want to be the one kid with zero money left when all your friends are chowing down on La Madeleine and Taco Bell the second month of school. I have too many friends who blew all of their dining dollars in the get-go and have to sit around sad and hungry for the remainder of the semester. Just be smart and frugal, and all will be well!
4. Going to the busiest library when you need to grind out a 15 page paper
At the University of Kentucky, Willy T. is the library of choice by most. It is large and beautiful, but it can be very busy and distracting at times. If you are only going to get one small assignment done and socialize, go for the "fun" library, but if you have to work on 6 hours of anatomy homework and write a 15 page essay, I recommend going to a smaller library on campus. It will be much quieter and 10 times easier to focus and be productive.
5. Skipping class frequently
I'm going to let you in on a secret. Going to every class every single day is, in theory, a great idea, but is it practical all the time? The answer is no. Here is my special recommendation:
1. Attend all your mandatory classes unless you are throwing up everywhere and or actually dying. Having to go to office hours and do a bunch of extra work for not attending out of laziness is big dumb.
2. Skip the less important classes when and if you feel you can. I was able to skip biology most days because our lectures were posted online daily. I also skipped philosophy and linguistics many times for the same reason! Be smart and don't forget exam dates and due dates if you decide to sleep through class for the 15th time.
3. Take your exams on time!!!! It is a hassle to reschedule the exam with your professor, so just take it when you're supposed to. Push through that hangover if needed, you will make it out alive I promise.
6. Avoiding taking the bus. You are never too cool to utilize campus transportation.
First semester I made the mistake of being that person who was "too good" to take the bus. Man was that stupid! Perks of taking the bus include:
1. Getting extra sleep. Wake up late? Hop on the bus and make it just before class starts.
2. Not having to bear scolding heat, blizzards, or monsoons.
3. Enabling the lazy person you are. Eliminate the extra walking you have to do for the day.
7. Stressing over assignment after assignment
My philosophy is stress is a choice when it comes to school. Stress is a natural thing and all of us encounter many stressors on a daily basis, but school is the one thing I believe you CAN control. Make the conscious decision to not allow anything to get to you. If you have a gigantic paper coming up, acknowledge the fact that you are going to have to write it and move on. Get it started and make some progress, and then get on with your life. Letting an assignment dictate your life and happiness is not something I am about, and I am a much happier person now that I accept everything that comes my way and do not allow it to stress me out.
8. Sitting in your dorm when everyone else is out having fun
Freshman year is the time to have fun and say yes as much as possible. Don't be picky about who you spend your time with, just try to experience as many things as possible. Do not limit yourself to the same three people. Expand your group and be as inclusive as possible! If some girls on your hall are going to lunch and invite you, go! If your guy friend from Communications class wants to study with you at the library, go for it! If your sorority sisters want Waffle House at 2 a.m. on a random Wednesday night, join them. Experience. Experience. Experience.
9. Staying in your comfort zone
You are not the same person you were in high school. Think of coming to college as a rebirth and a completely new beginning. If you were super shy in high school, but want to be more outgoing and social in college, do it and don't feel nervous about it. Nobody knows who you were in the past, so work toward creating the version of yourself you aim to become and roll with it
10. Being a douche to everyone
If you want people to like you, the only piece of advice I have is to not be mean to others. Sounds silly, but the people I like least in college are the ones who think they are too good to be nice to others and treat everyone with respect. Please include others and do not allow anyone to feel like an outsider (unless they're a douche bag and rude, let them be alone). If you can be a decent human and nice to everyone, I promise you will make so many friends and truly love your college experience.