Advice For ALL Incoming College Freshmen

Advice For ALL Incoming College Freshmen

Call your mom!
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Some of you may have been waiting for the day you have all your things packed up and be ready to start your new journey in a completely new home. Some of you may have been putting this day on hold hoping it wouldn’t come so soon. Some of you say, “I’m ready to do this whole college thing,” when in reality you’re terrified. All of you at this point have one thing in common at least: you have no clue what the journey ahead of you holds. While I, a college sophomore can’t prepare you for every little thing your upcoming year might entail I can tell you a few things that I learned my first year, and they just might help you out.

It’s okay to feel alone the first couple of weeks

Trust me I thought I was ready to dive into meeting new people and put myself out there right away, but in reality, I was terrified and spent my first week pretty much locked away in my room. Meeting new people in college can be hard and it is indeed scary at first, just remind yourself that everyone is in the same boat, others are probably dying to meet you, they’re just scared themselves. Don’t be afraid to eat in the cafeteria and ask others to join you, don’t be afraid to go check out someone’s dorm, who you just met, you never know who could end up being a great friend in the future.

Leave the things that need to be kept in the past, in the past

It can be hard to adjust to a new environment with new people and the want for your old space/people in your life will be there, however, change is indeed good. Sure, there are people who you will never let go of, let those be family members and your best friends. However, if you’re hung up on a short relationship with your boyfriend or girlfriend from high school and you continue to question, “Is this going to work” maybe it’s time to put an end to it. There are so many more people you will meet in the next four years that could be so much better for you, don’t be afraid to let go when you feel like you need to.

Be yourself always

Don’t try to be “the cool guy” or the life of the party if that isn’t you. One of the worst things you can do is pretend to be someone you are not. If you just be yourself it will be much easier to bond with other people similar to you. It can be hard to be your true self around complete strangers but everyone is feeling the same way and they’re probably just as eager as you are to find friends. It’s okay if you’re not the same person you were in high school, in fact, this is the time for you to reinvent yourself if you didn’t like that person, but remember to always remain to your true self for your people back home.

Never forget to check in with your people from home

In college, it seems like days go by so fast and there is so much going on that sometimes it’s hard to keep your friends from home and keep family members updated on your life. When times get tough just know these are the people who have either been through it all, or are right along with you experiencing it. They are also the best people to either give you advice or just to listen about your problems all because they care about you.

Get involved

Sure, this isn’t high school anymore, it is much more difficult to be a multisport athlete and be in five different clubs while tackling on school. However, the more you get involved the more people you will meet and the better person you will be. In high school clubs and sports came easy, you were given opportunities to get involved thrown at you, that’s not the case in college. If you want to get involved, build your resume you need to put yourself out there. You need to check in with your emails, go to involvement fairs on campus, talk to the head of student orgs. Sure, this all seems boring and “Uncool” but chances are there are tons of clubs that could interest you that you may not even know about.

Stay active

The odds of eat healthy in college is very low, so working out every now and then is a must. If you participated in a high school sport your body is going to get a rude awakening because motivation in college is at an all-time low. You have to walk to the gym just to work out? That’s a workout itself, or at least that’s what I used to think. You have to get in some sort of rhythm of working out at least once a week because the amount of downtime you have, and the fact that your gym membership is free is no excuse to not workout. Staying motivated to working out will keep you motivated in the long run, your brain and your body work together if you let one down there goes the other. Find a workout buddy and a good playlist and find the workout that works for you.

Learn how to take good notes quick

If high school classes were easy for you like mine, it’s probably because it didn’t require much more than sitting and listening, this isn’t the case in college. Be prepared to face large lectures with a thick notebook and a handful of pens because note taking is a must. If you’re lucky your professor puts the slides up online but this is very unlikely, plus writing down information you hear helps you retain it better. Write down the main points and categorize what needs to be, this will help you much later when you’re preparing for a test and have notes to look back on.

Pack lots of comfy clothes

Sure, it is fun to dress nicely the first couple of weeks of classes because you’re trying to meet new people and present yourself in a nice way, but no one cares anymore. In fact, people care more about just making it to class and on time rather than what they show up looking like to class. Second semester will come and all motivation to try looking good will all be gone and you’ll think back to this article when I say, “I told you so.”

Stay civil with the people you live with

It’s not always that you love the roomie that you picked out from your school's Facebook page who you thought you would be “best friends” with remains the same person you thought you would be living with. Living with someone really brings out people’s true colors, which can be fine if your roommate reminds you to pick your clothes off your floor and do your laundry and motivates you to do your homework, but there are roommates who are the exact opposite of that. Your roommate can make or break your first year, but I would say the only way they break your experience is if you let them. Be friends with your roommate when you have to even if you don’t want to be. Chances are they will respect you a lot more if you are honest and nice to them. If something they do bothers you just tell them because chances are they probably have no Idea that their problem is even a problem for you. Invite them to things outside of the room and bring other people into the mix, this way no one is feeling left out and it’s an opportunity to meet new people too. Overall your year will be a lot smoother if you and your roommate communicate but will be the best year if you’re friends.

Call your mom

If you’re bored, you seem to have nothing to do, or if you’re extremely busy and need a break call your mom. If you’re in bed hungover and don’t know how to make the pain go away, call your mom. If you forget which laundry detergent works best for your white load, call your mom. You might think you’re all high and mighty living on your own and don’t want to break your ego but calling your mom will do nothing but good. Your mom is always going to be waiting for your call no matter what the topic of conversation is. In her eyes, you’ll always be her baby and she loves to hear from you.

Have fun

This is probably the most important part of college. It’s strange getting thrown out into the real world, living on your own at just 19 but how amazing is that? Here’s a quick news flash, you really don’t have to have your whole life figured out at this point. You don’t even have to know your major (because chances are they will probably change). All you have to know is how to have fun (with an exception of passing exams, that’s good too.) Don’t worry about the internships or jobs and careers you need to get started on you have your whole life to do that. At least for your freshman year just have fun. You don’t need a job you have enough stress on your hands. Go out. Explore your new city. Take lots of pictures. Do what’s going to make you happy on your own you have so much freedom and you will never have this much freedom again.

Cover Image Credit: Sierra Gardner

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30 First-Apartment Essentials College Kids Forget To Buy At Target And Later Order On Amazon

Don't wait until you need to take something out of the oven to realize that you don't have any oven mitts.

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If you're anything like I am, you're beyond excited to start planning and shopping for your first apartment. It's easy to get wrapped up in the fun stuff for your first apartment, trust me, as a former Bed Bath & Beyond employee I could spend hours wandering through shower curtains and bedding.

Before you get too carried away there are just some essential things that you'll need, but they aren't as much fun to pick out. Don't wait until you need to take something out of the oven to realize that you don't have any oven mitts, because I really don't see that ending well for you (I may or may not know that from personal experience).

1. Oven mitts

Gets those oven mitts because the sleeve of your sweater might seem like it will work, but I'm living proof that it won't, most sweaters have holes.

2. Trash bags

Don't wait until you need to throw something away to realize you don't have them.

3. Hand soap

It's not like a dorm bathroom where the maintenance staff refills a soap dispenser that's drilled into the wall. You're on your own kid.

4. Toilet paper

Again, no staff replacing it for you. Stay on top of it and make sure you always replace an empty roll, especially if you have roommates.

5. Water filter or pitcher

This one depends on whether your water is safe to drink or not, but be prepared. You don't want to move in under the summer sun only to realize you don't have any drinkable water at your snazzy new pad.

6. Tools

Hammers, screwdrivers, all that jazz. If you're moving in some furniture you're probably going to need tools to put it together.

7. Lighting

You don't want to be unpacking and stumbling around a new space in the dark your first night. Know what lighting is built in and where you might need to add some light.

8. Silverware organizer

Ok, so you probably remembered to pack the silverware, but do you really want to throw it all in a pile in a drawer? That's a good way to grab the wrong end of a knife by accident, maybe get some dividers to keep your silverware nice and sorted.

9. Dish towels

Most people think about bath towels, but if you're not used to having a kitchen you might not have thought of dish towels. You're going to need those when you're whipping up your favorite dinner.

10. Measuring cups

I'm a huge advocate for estimating and guessing in the kitchen, but if you're baking anything at all you should probably at least have some measuring utensils as a guide.

11. Bottle opener and corkscrew

You're going to want to crack open a drink and celebrate your first night in the new place. Wouldn't it be a buzzkill if you couldn't even get the drinks open?

12. Sponges

You have to be able to clean the counters and the dishes when you're done being an expert chef!

13. Paper towels

Spills happen, and you don't always want to clean them with your nice towels.

14. Toilet plunger

It's one of those things you never really think about... that is, until you need one.

15. Air freshner

You know, for after you use the toilet plunger.

16. Extension cords

You probably have a larger space than you're used to, sometimes those cords that come with all your new electronics just aren't quite long enough.

17. Utensil container

A little round pot or bucket is the perfect place to put all of your kitchen utensils. Things like spatulas and whisks will take up space in your drawers and create clutter. Plus, keeping them out makes them easier to grab when you're whipping up some food.

18. Batteries

There's nothing worse than getting your new TV all set up and realizing you can't use the remote.

19. Curtains

If you need darkness to sleep, you want to make sure you get those bedroom curtains up and ready to roll.

20. Toilet bowl brush

Sorry, but I'm certainly not reaching in there with my hands.

21. Ice cube trays

To keep you cool as a cucumber during this stressful time.

22. Can opener

Try prying a can open with your hands. I dare you.

23. Stain remover

For when you try to pry the can open with your hands and manage to spray tomato sauce all over yourself.

24. Carbon monoxide/Smoke detectors

Cause we don't want any tragedies here.

25. Collander

We both know you will be making pasta every night, so you're going to need to drain it.

26. Coasters

You definitely don't want to ruin your super fancy new Ikea table.

27. Dry erase board

No need to argue over who should take out the trash, just make sure to write down everyone's chores.

28. Underbed storage

On a college budget there's no way you can expect a walk-in closet, those clothes and shoes will have to go somewhere.

29. Drying rack

For when the dryer in your building inevitably stops working.

30. Step stool

If you're short, like me, you need a little help reaching that top shelf.

Hopefully this list has helped you feel a little more prepared to move into your first apartment. The decorating and planning is so much more enjoyable when you know you have all of your bases covered. I wish you the best of luck with your first major endeavor in the world of adulting!

Note: As an Amazon Associate, Odyssey may earn a portion of qualifying sales.

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Why You Should Bring Your Close Friend As Your Formal Date

Before asking that cute girl to formal think about asking a friend

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Every year since I was a junior in high school I have always looked forward to homecoming or prom. When I got to college I began to look forward to my fraternity formal. I was never concerned with what to wear or the expense of formal but rather who I was going to ask. It can be difficult to make a decision. If you ask anyone friends with me they will tell you how I am one of the most indecisive people out there. There are so many people I am friendly with or have a close relationship that it can feel difficult to make a decision. But let's look at that phrase again. You might think why does he want to bring someone who is his friend to his fraternity formal rather than someone he likes or is dating. To answer this question, some of the girls I have liked I have not been able to be the true me around and that also applies to the girls I have dated as well. I am different around my friends and I want someone to know the real me rather than me just having to pretend.

Maybe I am still experiencing the effects of a fun weekend but I have noticed that every formal or prom that I have brought a date with not only was a fun formal but interacted and connected well with my friends. That is the main thing I look for in a formal date, they need to be liked by my friends and many of them are still pretty friendly after the formal. You are spending the weekend with them and the drive down for you formal. There will be a lot of time spent with your date so it is important to bring someone you know you will have fun with. I am not saying that there isn't anything wrong with bringing someone else but I always found it best to bring a friend if you are not dating someone.

Think about the people you know you will always have fun with. This can be an indication of who you should bring and why but you should also think about the positives in this situation. Your fun and the time spent with the people should be prioritized before anything else. This event is about you and you should have someone with you that you know is fun to be around and someone you can enjoy yourself around along with your friends. Friends know you as well as you know yourself so there is not an idea of having to pretend to be someone else. The good thing about friends is that you do not run out of things to talk about and there is always something new to learn. Take your formal as a trip that you get to experience with the people closest to you. That is my take.

The key for me is to know that I will have fun with my date at formal. The drive to formal can be long and you are sharing a hotel room with your date along with spending time with them during the trip. I talk a lot. I want someone I know who I can carry a conversation with and will not just respond with words such as Yeah or Sounds good. I have always been able to remember not only my formals but specific parts of it as well. I think this is possible because of who I have brought and the memories I made with them.

Formals are important to everyone so think about who you want to spend that moment with. There is nothing wrong with bringing someone who you like but there also is nothing wrong with bringing a friend. Some people might bring someone they are dating but you should not have to compare yourself to other people. Do what makes you happy but remember this weekend is about you and you deserve to bring someone you will have fun with.

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