It's now July, which means most "just graduated" high schoolers are starting to get ready to move away and begin their new journeys at their chosen schools. I just wanted to share a few tips and tricks I learned during my freshman year at Drexel and pass them on to incoming freshmen.
1. Everyone is in the same boat as you!
Drexel has recently started "Welcome Week", meaning all of the freshmen move in a week earlier than the first day of classes to familiarize themselves with campus and the surrounding city of Philadelphia. During this, I learned that everyone misses home, everyone is confused, overwhelmed and everyone is definitely in the same situation you are.
2. Make friends with the people on your floor, they're the ones you see every day!
My floor, according to my RA, made all of the other RA's jealous because of how bonded we were. The first few days, we went to get meals and do activities together because we didn't know anyone else. As it turns out, two of my best friends at school lived on my floor this past year and one lived a few floors up.
3. Nothing is "free", it's just included in your tuition.
If you see something advertised by the Student Activities Board or your residence hall is putting on an event, go check it out. Your tuition is paying for the "free" t-shirts they're giving away, which make great sleep shirts, while your housing fee is paying for that "free" food. Don't shy away from something because you think it might be "uncool". I met some great people by going out of my comfort zone my first week of school.
4. If you're in a city, spend your weekends exploring.
One of my favorite things to do is to explore Philadelphia. I've dragged my friends to farmers markets in Rittenhouse Square, taken many walks down the Schuylkill River Trail and I still have so much more to discover.
5. Check out the local music scene!
As a music industry student, most of my weekends are spent at shows. Most college campuses have "DIY/Basement Shows" where upperclassmen with houses host local bands to play parties. If you aren't a frat person, like me, you probably will love house shows. Most of the time it's BYOB, which means the $5 you pay at the door goes directly to the bands, helping them create more music!
6. Dining dollars will be your best friend.
If your dining halls suck like Drexel's do, you're going to want to make your own food or at least attempt it. Most of the residence halls on my campus have kitchens on the floor and it's fun to make meals with your friends. Using your dining dollars to get food from the market to cook is a go-to, or even getting that late night Chick-Fil-A is always a great option.
7. Fight the "freshman 15" by taking advantage of the gym!
A gym membership is included in your tuition, thanks to your school ID. USE IT! There are classes offered daily, as well as access to some of the best equipment you can get your hands on. There is literally no excuse not to use the gym. Grab your friends and take a Zumba class or even go play squash.
8. Speaking of fights, you will fight with your roommate(s).
Living in a room the size of a shoebox will bring on some unneeded fights. I promise, you will be fine. My roommate and I didn't speak for about a month and honestly, I can't even remember what it was about. We got over it, moved on, and now we're fine.
9. You are not married to a school, you are dating a school!
The only certificate that solidifies your "marriage" to a school is your diploma. If you find, after the first or second semester, that you don't love the school you're at, you can transfer. Do not feel guilty about it. Leaving and moving on to better things is what life is all about.
10. Don't be afraid to be in a relationship!
I know a lot of people warn incoming freshmen to stay single but honestly, relationships will come when the opportunity presents itself. Don't turn something down because you're afraid. On the opposite side of that, have fun and don't feel pressure to be in a relationship. If the right person comes around, you won't need to think twice about it.
11. Don't be afraid to try new things!
You're finally somewhere new, which means you should try new things. A fresh start means a clean slate. Try something you've been interested in but you've never had the chance to do. Universities offer hundreds of clubs, so take advantage of the club fares.
12. You have the choice to join Greek Life.
Drexel seems to be big into greek life. All 3 of my roommates were in sororities and almost all of the guys on my floor were in frats. But, I chose not to join because I felt it wasn't a good fit. Don't do something because everyone else is doing it, do it because you want to.
13. If you go undecided, use your interests to guide your classes.
I chose my major based on my interest mixed with practicality and I love every class I've ever taken. Don't do something that makes you dread going to class. There will be classes you dislike, but those are building blocks to help you decide if that discipline is right for you.
14. Back to #8, you don't have to be best friends with your roommate.
If anything, it's better to NOT be best friends with your roommate. You're sharing such close quarters that you're going to want some alone time. I lived in a suite this year, with 3 other people. My roommate and I ended up being good friends but we both had separate lives. Having that separation is good because you're waking up next to them every day.
15. Enjoy your first year of college!
Get ready for some of the best experiences of your life. It's your first time away from home, but remember to work hard AND THEN party hard. Make sure to set your priorities, get shit done and have a great time.