It's finally time - after submitting that application and getting that acceptance letter, nearly tripping on your gown walking at graduation, and days of throwing practically everything you own in a sea of endless Ikea bag, it's finally arrived.
Your first year of college. Move-in day. Freshman orientation. First day (ever!) of college classes.
How exciting! How scary!
I'm sure you're feeling all kinds of emotions right now - heart fluttering in your chest as you think of all the amazing new people you're about to meet and memories you're about to make but of all you're leaving behind at the same time. It's a lot, and while everyone you've ever met, from your parents to your best friend's older sister, may have tried to tell you what it'll be like, there's really no way to prepare for the wild ride you're about to go on. You have to experience much of it on your own, and most of what you learn over the course of the next six months or so won't be taught in the classroom; you have to figure a lot of it out by yourself.
Although, I can offer you a little guidance, straight from students who were in your place exactly one year ago. Here's what my friends and I wish we knew before embarking on our journey as college freshmen.
In no particular order....
1) "Getting in trouble isn't the end of the world, so don't be afraid to make mistakes, or to do something 'totally crazy' - within reason, of course. Live a little."
2) "Stay organized, and invest a planner! It saved my life."
3) "Stay busy - get involved and STAY involved. Go to O-Fest and sign up for anything and everything that interests you - then pick & choose later what you really want to be a part of the most!"
4) "Don't try and force yourself to make friends/be friends with someone - true friendship, the kind that lasts forever and is what makes the college experience so great, comes naturally, and often when you least expect it."
5) "Give yourself a break - it's okay to stop studying or doing homework for a bit to let yourself rest."
6) "You might grow apart from your high school/home friends, but that's okay. Everyone is on their own path, and college is where you met your lifelong friends, and the people that will eventually matter the most."
7) "Remember why you're at school, and practice good time management skills/prioritize accordingly. Yes, college is supposed to be fun, but it's also not just one big party."
8) "Don't be afraid to try new things - sign up for a new sport, rush a sorority/fraternity, take that 'weird' class - make the most out of every opportunity you get and challenge yourself as much as possible."
9) "Clean your room, and try to eat breakfast everyday!"
10) "Don't be afraid to ask for help - college may seem really difficult at first, but just remember that you're not alone, and people only want to help you, not drag you down."
And, most importantly,
11) "Put yourself first."
Welcome to college, freshmen. Get ready for the craziest year yet.