Dear Incoming College Freshman: What I Wish I Knew Before Starting School
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Dear Incoming College Freshman: What I Wish I Knew Before Starting School

Some of my tips from (almost) surviving my entire freshman year away at school.

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Dear Incoming College Freshman: What I Wish I Knew Before Starting School

Dear Upcoming College Freshman,

Let me tell you, you are in for the ride of your life. College is full of ups and downs. Full of first and last experiences. There are times when everything feels perfect and times when you feel like the entire world is on your shoulders. Despite some rough days, I wouldn't trade my experiences, including all the stress of this year, for anything. College teaches you more than just some general education classes your advisor forces you take. It teaches you some life skills, from surviving on little sleep to how to deal with real adult situations that you have never had to face before. While you will learn a lot on the spot, there are some things I wish I knew before going to school and have since learned, sometimes the hard way.

Most importantly, your family is always there for you. I was always the kid that wanted to go away, that went to school a 13-hour drive from where my entire family lived. Sure, I planned to talk to my parents and sister once in a while, but I was going to be super busy and the amount of talking would decrease. Wrong. I think I talked to my parents more once I moved away to college then I did my entire senior year of high school. It is true what they say, that you don't know what you got until it's gone. In the beginning, there were days I was homesick, days where things just didn't go right. I didn't want to call my parents because I was eighteen, I thought I could handle all my problems and being homesick? Come on, you are in college now, an adult. However, soon enough I realized the importance of talking to my family. They listened to all my crazy rants, my stories, gave me advice and were there every step of the way. Heading into college, don't have the mindset that you are all on your own now. You are not. Your biggest supporters are just waiting for you to reach out. Also on this note, remember your high school friends. Sure, you are going to lose touch with most and you will meet new and exciting people while away. However, don't drop the really close friends you have had most of your life just because of distance. It is really nice to be able to vent to someone that does not know the people/ exact situation you are talking about since they are not here, and get some unbiased opinions. Also, it just brings back a lot of good memories.

I also assumed college was just going to be endless good days with school work. College seemed like all these great things always happened. Once again, this was a very wrong misconception. This is just another part of life, so there will be bad days. Days when you forget you had homework due at midnight and it's already 11:50. Days where you put all of your effort in an assignment or towards studying for a test, and you failed it. Simple as that, all of your work did not pay off. There will be days where people hurt you and instead of avoiding them by staying at home like you did in high school, you run into them everywhere around campus. However, you need to remember that as always, things always get better. Soon enough, some of the sad, embarrassing, awkward stories that once ruined your day, actually become kinda funny. There are some days that I'm not at the point yet but, for the most part, most of what I was worried about actually brought me to something better or wasn't as bad as I had thought at the time. This will happen to you as it does to every college student. It is an ongoing cycle.

You will be introduced to so much. From parties that are happening on Wednesday nights to clubs that you never thought of being a part of before ( I joined quidditch!) college brings so many new experiences. I was concerned about finding a balance of having fun and doing work. I still struggle with finding this balance. However, I can tell you to go with your gut. If there's something you really want to do on a school night, go do it. If you want to join a club that seemingly takes up a lot of time do it. The social aspect of college is almost as important as the academic part. Learn some time management skills now, so this way you can actually do it all. It takes a lot, but you can. Know when to stay in and know when to go out. Find some balance.

Well, that's what I have for you. Trust me, I'm no expert on college. There's so much I'm still learning and there have been of mistakes that I have made. However, enjoy it. It truly goes by fast. It seems like yesterday I graduated high school and now 1/4 of my college education is finished. Enjoy, make mistakes (not too bad though!), have some fun, and keep learning.

An Almost College Sophomore

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