Dear Incoming College Freshmen
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Dear Incoming College Freshmen

This year is going to be better than you could ever imagine, just try to follow these few hints.

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Dear Incoming College Freshmen

Congratulations! You graduated high school and now you are moving on to the college of your choosing. This is such an exciting time because not only are you going to be starting school somewhere that you have decided that you love and want to attend; also, this is likely the first time you are going to be living away from your families. Now this isn't true for all incoming college freshmen; some still live at home while attending college or some started living alone during high school. No matter which situation applies to you, it is still a super exciting time. You are going somewhere where no one knows who you are and that can be scary but exciting at the same time. There are no bad stereotypes following you anymore, you're away from your family for the first time, and you have freedom that you never had before. Most won't admit it but almost all incoming freshmen are nervous about starting college for various different reasons. I'm here to assure you that it's going to be okay, and to give you a little bit of advice since I just finished my freshmen year of college.

1. Look at this as a fresh start

Going into college nobody has ever met you before and that can be really exciting and scary at the same time. Instead of being scared, look at this as an opportunity to become the person you want to be. Nobody knows anything about you, those labels that you had in high school don't exist in college. No one knows that you dated (insert horrible ex here), or that you made a complete fool of yourself at prom. What people think about you in college is going to be completely based off of how you act and portray yourself now. Take advantage of this, and be the person that you want to be.

2. Don't worry about not making any friends

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I understand being worried about this, I moved 900 miles away to college where I didn't even know one person. The most important thing is to be yourself, and to just put yourself out there. You aren't going to make any friends sitting by yourself in your dorm room; every university has some kind of incoming freshmen welcome event, go to it and introduce yourself to everyone you can, I know two girls who are inseparable now that met at one of those events. Keep your dorm door open, this is a great way to meet people because as they are just walking by they will stop and introduce themselves. Almost everyone in college is super friendly, and don't worry because almost all of the incoming freshmen are just as nervous about making friends as you are. If you're still nervous, look online there is practically a incoming freshmen facebook group for every college just look for (Insert your college here) Class of 2020.

3. Wake up for class

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Now I am the biggest hypocrite in the world on this one because I slept through countless classes, but it really is so important to attend. You are paying for these classes so you should probably actually go. After the first semester I scheduled my classes so that my earliest class was at 2:30 in the afternoon because I am just not a morning person. Now this might just be me because I know some people that love having morning classes, but personally I think 8:30am classes are basically death and should be avoided at all costs. I know you think you took class at 8:30 your whole life, but I'm telling you it's a mistake.

4. Go to office hours

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I know everyone tells you this, and you probably never will but it honestly is so important. When you go to your professors office hours you not only can get the answers to any questions you have about the class answered, but you also gain a relationship with the professor which can make a huge difference. Some professors have thousands of kids and they aren't going to make an effort to get to know you, it's your job to get to know them and have them know who you are even if you don't like the class. It makes a huge difference when the professor knows you, rather than you just being another face in a lecture hall full of students. If you have so much studying and course work to do one week that you just don't think it's possible to finish certain essay on time; the professor is going to be a lot more likely to grant you an extension if they actually know you rather than if that's the first time they have ever heard from you.

5. At least check out the greek booths

Now you may have it in your mind that greek life just isn't for you and there is no way you're going to join a fraternity or sorority but at least give it a chance. I think you will be surprised to find out that greek life is nothing like you thought it would be, and doesn't even close to resemble what you see in the movies. Maybe you decide that it isn't for you, but i'm telling you don't make that decision until after you have gone and talked to some of the members from every chapter. Your school probably has a couple days that they will have booths out on campus, just stop by and see what it's all about before you make the decision that it isn't for you.

6. Be nice to your roommate

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Now your roommate doesn't have to be your best friend but at least be nice to them. You have to live with this person for the next year, so try to set some rules or boundaries right from the start. Some people really just end up with crazy roommates and no matter how nice you are it won't help but this is rarely the case. Just be respectful of each other and each others personal space. It's hard living in a small room with another person, but it will be a whole lot easier if you both just have a common respect for the other.

7. Make friends with people around you

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This is really important because if you're super sick and you missed a class it's really nice to have a friend in that class to send you the notes on what you missed. Also become friends with the people in your hall in the dorms, I have some of the funniest memories with people in my hall the first semester. We used old water bottles and a foam basketball and set up bowling in our hall in between classes until the RA came and made us stop because sports in the halls isn't allowed. You're going to be around all these people for the next year or if it's class mates for the next semester. Make friends with them so that you can set up study groups, have movie nights, or just have friends to go get coffee with in between class.

9. Find a balance

This is one of the most important things in college is balancing everything you have going on. Making sure to give yourself enough time to properly study for all your classes, get enough sleep, eat, workout, and still have a social life is basically a juggling act. Try to find the perfect balance can seem impossible but it's not, just try to find the perfect balance that works best for you. Because every person is different, you need to find the best schedule for yourself to make all your priorities fit.

10. Caffeine is your new best friend

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I don't know what more to say about this besides that it will save your life. There are going to be nights you have to pull and all nighter to study for a class, or nights you were just out with your friends until sunrise and caffeine is basically what is going to get you through it all. Whether it's coffee or energy drinks find what works for you, but remember to try to actually get some sleep now and then.

11. Don't think you're too good for anything

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Some people come in with bad attitudes thinking they are too cool, or to good for something and having that attitude won't get you anywhere. You may have been the most popular kid in high school, but no one really cares about that now. You still need to show up to class and do your work just like everyone else. Being involved is one of the best things in college, so don't think that youre too cool to go to that freshmen welcome party, or to sign up for that club or team.

12. Call your parents/best friend from home

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This sounds dumb, and like a no brainer but it's easy to get so busy that you just forget to call. I had a super busy schedule so I always found the time to call my parents if i was walking in between classes or walking somewhere to get food. Whatever works for you try to make time to call your parents as often as you can, they probably miss you and want to hear how you're doing. There is nothing like facetiming your best friend from home when feeling homesick.

13. Become a part of something

There are so many options to become involved in college from greek life, student government, multicultural clubs, volunteer clubs, basically any club or group you can think of you can probably find on your campus. You don't have to be on a sports team or in greek life, but find something you love and stick to it. When you become a part of something on campus you not only become more involved as a student, but you also gain a group of friends with the same interests as you. Be as involved as you can: go to all the football/basketball games that you can, join a sorority or fraternity, volunteer, join a club, become part of student government. Find an organization on campus that interests you and join! Becoming involved on campus is probably one of the best decisions you can make as a college student. Also according to: "The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE Studies) shows that student success is directly linked to student involvement."

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