A Letter of Advice To My Friends On Their First Day of College

A Letter of Advice To My Friends On Their First Day of College

It's not as scary as you may think
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Right now you’re probably experiencing a mix of emotions. You’re excited: you’ve finally reached the moment that you’ve been preparing for basically the past four years of your life. You’re excited for the independence, for making new friends and for some classes that might help you in the “real world.” However, you’re also probably nervous or anxious. You’re worried that you’ll be lonely away from home, that you won’t make friends, and that your classes will be too hard; and that’s natural. You shouldn’t let these doubts and fears overtake the good feelings, though, so I want to offer you some advice on how to make your first day of college the beginning of four years of success, fun and joy.

1. Make an effort to be friends with your roommate

Maybe you think your roommate is your soulmate – she’s just like you in almost every way possible; but maybe she’s not. Maybe she’s the complete opposite of you and you can’t imagine being friends, much less living together for a whole year. Either way, try to make an effort. College is a lot more enjoyable when you have someone to talk to in the mornings while you’re getting ready, to study with and to eat dinner with. So even if you’re not best friends and don’t do everything together, try to really get to know her and find things you have in common.

2. Set expectations for your room

As I mentioned, your relationship with your roommate is important and can have a big impact on your college experience. Starting off on the right note is a key way to prevent arguments and controversies in the future. Your RA might have you sign a roommate agreement that covers these things, but even if she doesn’t, it is still important to address your expectations. It’s a lot easier to get along with someone when you’re on the same page.

3. Have an open-door policy

The first couple weeks of college are all about making friends, and your hall is a great place to start. An easy way to meet the people in your hall is by leaving your door open so they can stop in and say hi. Don’t be afraid to knock on other people’s doors, too!

4. Introduce yourself to everyone you sit next to

This one may seem a little awkward, but I promise it’s not. For the first week of classes, introduce yourself to everyone you sit next to. They’re all in the same boat as you and just want to make some friends. Yeah, you may never talk to them again, but they could also turn out to be your best friend; you never know! It’s also nice to make a study buddy, especially for tough classes.

5. Get involved in a community

Professional clubs and organizations that relate to your major and offer networking opportunities are great, but find a group that allows you to be part of a community. This will help you to feel like you really belong at your new school and is an easy way to meet people who have similar interests or values. Whether this is a sports team, a campus ministry group or Greek life, find the group that feels like family.

6. Call your mom (or dad)

I know it sounds cheesy, but it’s true. You mom will feel a lot better hearing from you, and it’s comforting to hear her voice, too. This may surprise you, but she can actually give you some really good advice!

The start of college is an exciting time and you should enjoy it. I hope these suggestions ease the anxiety and prepare you for the start of four amazing years.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Waterbury

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.
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The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:


“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:

“FISH STICK! I NAMED HIM FISH STICK BECAUSE HE'S A FISH STICK, OF COURSE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 59)

When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:


"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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20 Things I Learned My Freshman Year Of College

I didn't expect college to be this much different than high school.

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1. Always carry your ID

You might need it to get in a building, use it for a test, or to buy something. You never know when you'll need it.

2. Take your classes seriously

College really isn't like high school. You have to go to class and study hard.

3. There is someone to help you

There are all kinds of helpful people in a college campus. Whether you need help with homework, options on education, or even therapy, there is someone to help you.

4. There are tutors for everything

If you are struggling in any class, there is someone who can help you learn the material. You could go to the tutoring center or email your professor or their TAs

5. Talk to your professor

It's important to talk with your professor, especially if you are struggling in their class. They will offer you the exact help you need. They are there to teach you.

6. Don't over work yourself

If you are working through college to pay for college, do not over work yourself. Make sure you have enough time to study and get help if you need it.

7. The library has textbooks

If you cannot afford textbooks, check the library. You can check them out for free.

8. Keep your syllabus

The syllabus is your best friend. It contains everything you need to know about your class including due dates, requirements, and regulations. Reading this can help you prepare and stay ahead.

9. Do not wait until the last minute to do assignments

Seriously, college assignments can take a long time. Especially papers. Try to get them done at least a day before they are due.

10. Use 'rate my professor'

Rate My Professor is a website where previous students have reviewed their professors. This is really helpful in choosing a professor that fits your liking.

11. There is a lot of free stuff

You can get a lot of free stuff on campus. You can get tons of shirts, stickers, sunglasses, food, and things alike from organizations and events around campus.

12. Prioritize

A college student likely has a lot of free time. Prioritize what you want to get done when you aren't doing much.

13. Get involved

Get involved in organizations. You can make new friends and try things that you find interesting.

14. Lots of places offer student discounts

There are so many places that offer a student discount, you just have to ask.

15. Make friends within your major

Students in the same major make the best study groups.

16. Do extra credit

Even if you don't need it, do the extra credit. It only helps.

17. Learn how to manage your stress

College can be really stressful. It's important to learn how to manage stress or manage the things causing you stress so you can relax. Don't be afraid to ask for help.

18. Start networking

Get to know people and meet people in the job field you are interested in.

19. Don't schedule class times that you won't make

Seriously do not take the 7:30 am class. You could do it in high school but college is a different story.

20. Do not wait until the last minute to enroll

Finding a class at a time that fits your liking can be difficult, especially if you missed the enrollment date. Make sure you know when you can register for classes and do it then!

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