Transitioning to college life isn't easy for a lot of us, unless you welcome new beginnings with wide and open arms, but they're essential for living life and adulting. Having already one year of college under my belt, I'd say I have a pretty good idea of some of the things incoming freshmen can expect - from bad hair days to completely improvising college-kid meals. Going through freshman year and all of its new challenges, I thought to myself, "I should really write this down for my friends coming into college." Now I get to share what I've learned so far with you.
Here are ten tips to help any incoming college student make the most out of their freshman year:
1. No matter how awkward it may seem at first, don't give up on the icebreakers.Giphy
Even in college, fun facts and icebreakers are still a thing. But that's totally okay because literally everyone in the room or orientation group will be in the same position as you. It does, however, help to have an idea of what to say before the time comes (which is kind of why I'm stating this point here and now). If you get stuck, ask a close friend or family member what they feel is unique or interesting about you. And if you're really stuck, here are some topics to think about:
1. What's your favorite show on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime?
2. Where you are from?
3. Where is the last place you traveled to?
4. What kind of pets do you have?
5. What kind of pet do you want to have?
6. What do you plan on studying in college?
7. Why did you chose to go to your university?
2. Have a sleep schedule.Giphy
I don't care if I sound like your parents, sleep is super super SUUUUPER important. We're all told that eight hours is the recommended amount of sleep for the average person, however, some people function differently. I am very used to getting about five or six hours of sleep and then I'm set for the rest of the day without dozing off at all. I cannot say the same for everyone else because some may sleep more and some may sleep less. Be careful with the amount of sleep you do get - too little or too much can do more harm than good and make you sluggish, drowsy, irritable, and can even impact your health.
3. Get ready and GO!Giphy
Alright, so you totally disregarded my warning about sleeping and went to bed at 3 AM, you've hit snooze on your alarm for your morning class twice, and now you're scrambling to get ready. It happens - we've all been there where we're cramming for an exam or finishing one more episode before watching two more and BOOM! The birds are chirping and dawn is breaking through your window. If you're struggling to find exactly what to wear, keep it simple. Find your go-to piece - whether it's a pair of shorts, jeans, or your favorite shirt - and build around that. And for your seemingly untameable bed-head, messy buns can be a girl's best friend.
4. Try to meet your roommate beforehand.Giphy
No matter how many roommates you have, there's a good chance there will be awkward silences between you two, and that's OK. If you're able to find out who your roommate is beforehand, set up a day to get to know them, video chat with them, ask them about their major, ask them where they've been on vacation, if they have any pets, and or any of the other icebreaker questions I previously mentioned. Once you meet in person, the ice will be broken and it will let you take a more relaxed breath around them.
5. Respect your roommate's boundaries.Giphy
It doesn't matter if you share a room or have your own private room in your dorm, be respectful of your roommate's things. You wouldn't want someone going through your stuff or invading your privacy without them asking, so do not do that to them. Over time, you won't be as stiff around each other, and you will start building up your trust for one another - which is great! But don't assume it will start off like that. If you or your roommate has set boundaries; respect them, don't test them.
6. This might sound like common sense, but please have manners.Giphy
Whether you're hanging out with your friends or you're asking for help from someone, don't be rude. This seems like the most common sense thing to keep in mind, but trust me, people sometimes don't know common courtesy. No one likes a person who tries to act like a know-it-all when asking for help from a professor or obnoxiously telling a story when others are trying to get information for a dorm procedure. It's not cool. It's not cute.
7. Respect other's opinions.Giphy
I feel this is super important, now more than ever, as current events in the world are intensifying. We all have our opinions but that doesn't mean you need to challenge everyone else who disagrees with you. You shouldn't be trying to change someone's mind when discussing a topic. When you do talk about something, you should make sure to check your background information, facts, and essentially know what you're talking about. Another important thing when discussing something is to not talk over someone - no matter what you're talking about or who you're talking to, no one likes being talked over. Also, body language is huge and being mindful of it goes a long way.
8. Respect yourself.Giphy
Yes, you should have a study routine and be focused on studying, but you shouldn't be stressing yourself out to the point of falling apart. If you notice your mood changing, you become more irritable, or you know you don't feel like yourself anymore, then schedule an appointment with a psychologist or health and wellness program on your campus (that is what they're there for). I've met people on my campus and outside of my campus who don't use what's there when they need it. We all take care of ourselves in our own way, but sometimes we need to figure out where to start, and that's completely and 100% OK! Respect yourself.
9. Search Pinterest for easy, cheap, and healthy meals.Giphy
While ramen is typically the first thing that comes to everyone's mind when thinking about "broke college student food," everyone knows it's not the healthiest meal, and we're continuously told to stay away from it. Likewise, a lot of freshmen and other students in college turn to junk food for meals. There are many other options for making a quick and easy meal while being a college student on a budget (that also help to keep extra pounds off). Experimenting is one way to go, whether it's with sandwiches, pasta, rice, or any kind of tortilla wraps... it really becomes an endless assortment of options. Something that's really helped one of my roommates and I was going on Pinterest and finding easy recipes.
10. Don’t be intimidated.Giphy
If you're more excited than nervous for college life, you're going to have an amazing time! But if you are more nervous than excited, you are still up for having some of the best years of your life. There are people you will meet who are probably just as nervous about transitioning to college life as you are. You won't be alone, and you are going to make some of the best memories you'll ever have. This chapter in life is an opening for new beginnings.