Movies and college are not synonymous. Freshman year is not some long movie reel of late nights, cool professors, "hot" upperclassmen, drinking games, and illegal shenanigans with the best friends you've ever met.
Actually, freshman year can be one of the hardest years of your life because we often end up facing some really bad stuff--whether by choice or by accident.
Disclaimer: College is REALLY fun, trust me! But there are some things you should know about freshman year before you experience it for yourself.
You Should Know How To Ask For Consent
Again, life isn't like the movies. You NEED to know about consent before you hook up or even date someone. Sex doesn't just happen like the media would lead you to believe--you can't just find someone and have sex with them without having a conversation first.
Before you test the waters of the campus dating scene, learn how to ask for permission before you engage in intimate behavior with someone else. Consent shows respect.
You Should Know How To Take Care Of Yourself
Obviously, you can't bring your mom to campus to wash and fold your laundry every week. So at the most basic level, you should learn how to take care of yourself. This extends to hygiene, homework, dorm upkeep, and sleep.
But you also need to learn how to watch your six. By that, I mean that you should practice self-awareness and make smart choices. Be mindful of who your friends are. Pay attention to your surroundings. Be careful in general! Life is precious, and college can be dangerous sometimes.
You Shouldn't Rush Into A Relationship
College is the perfect time to discover yourself! You shouldn't feel pressured to find a boyfriend or girlfriend right away because this is YOUR time. If you're dead-set on dating right away, more power to you.
But for a helpful timeline, live in the present and stay single until around October (hence the "October Rule"). The hiatus will give you time to meet new people, figure out your game plan for the next four years, and discover yourself as well.
Acquaintance Rape Is A Real Thing, And It Can Happen To Anyone
The unfortunate truth is that, according to RAINN, "7 out of 10 rapes are committed by someone known to the victim." I have a few things to say about this.
First, DON'T RAPE. It should be easy, considering what you learned about consent earlier in this article. If someone says NO, do not proceed with intimate or sexual behaviors.
Second, protect yourself. Be aware of the reality that sexual assault is very common on college campuses. Start a conversation about it with your friends and family. Make sure your loved ones know that NO means NO. As human beings, we have every right to say NO and be respected for it.
My wish for you is that you enjoy freshman year to the fullest. However, you should also know that you are responsible for your well-being and your success in life. So, live in the present, make smart choices, and be a good person.