With my own impending graduation just 12 months away, like any senior, I would do anything to go back to freshmen and orientation and be in your position. Unfortunately, I can't! But I have learned a lot and would love to share it all with you to make your four years the absolute best they can possibly be. The ultimate goal? Graduate without having any regrets.
1. Go in with goals, both career and personal.
This is by far the most important thing I can tell you. Ask yourself who you want to be, as a professional and as a friend, a daughter, a girlfriend, etc. Know yourself, know your worth, and know what you're capable of accomplishing. It's not about knowing what you want to do with the next four years of your life, it's about understanding how you want to develop yourself.
2. Google Calendar is the best thing that has ever been created.
Keep every plan you have ever made with anyone, any assignment due or exam planned even months in the future, and every birthday, holiday, reminder you need. Be organized! You're in charge of your own plans now.
3. Choose your friends wisely.
If you don't want to be friends with someone, don't. In high school it's often the tendency to just deal with people who you may not love for the sake of keeping the peace in your friend group. But in college, be friends with who you genuinely love and respect. Be nice to everyone, but be mindful of who you're surrounding yourself with.
4. Know your values.
College gets tricky. In high school, everyone around you had pretty much grown up with the same set of values. But now you may find yourself surrounded by individuals who put different values first. You'll find yourself in situations where you question your choices, but if you follow your values, you'll always find your way. This also helps when it comes to making friends. Make friends who share your values.
5. Go to that party.
Especially in the beginning. Take every single opportunity to meet the students in your class. You never know when you'll meet your best friend. Go out, mingle, and have fun.
6. Stay on campus the first few weeks, but make sure to explore later.
I think it's tempting to some people to explore the area around your college before getting to know your own campus. I'm sure you'll have lots of time to do that. Just make your rounds on campus first to make sure you know the ins and outs!
7. Don't act too cool for orientation.
These people were the worst. You don't have to love it, but keep a positive attitude. No one thinks the person refusing to do team-building exercises is really that cool. Make friends with the people in your group and make the most of the silly things you're forced into!
8. You won't like everyone.
But the good news is, now you go to school with thousands of people! Don't expect everyone at your school to be the best, but you'll find your crowd.
9. Join any club that interests you with all that extra time.
You'll probably only have about 4 hours of class each day. That leaves 20 other hours of the day. Fill them with things that inspire and energize you!
10. Spend twice as much time in the library as class.
For an hour lecture, you should spend two hours in the library reviewing the notes for yourself. Don't fool yourself into thinking you know more than you know. Now that you're taking classes that you love, spend time on the material. Educate yoself!
11. If you don't love your major, switch it.
You're young and you have 8 semesters to take classes in something that you actually love so do yourself a favor and get out of the classes that bore you.
12. Ask people to get together for every single meal in the beginning.
No one knows who to get breakfast with and no one wants to go alone. Get people's numbers early on and ask a different person to eat with you each meal so you can get to know others and grow a friend group!
13. Don't forget about everyone at home who loves you.
You've made friends in the past and you can do it again. Don't get discouraged and keep an extremely positive attitude and huge smile! People are attracted to happiness. Call home and let us know how you're doing!