As my first summer in college is coming to an end, it's finally hitting me that I've been in college for a year. It's almost that time to stock up on pencils, binders, countless note cards, Red Bull and more coffee than usual. Looking back, there's not much that I necessarily regret, but I would do a few things differently.
1. Go to class.
Trust me on this. You've heard teachers say, "80 percent of the class is just being there." They're right. my grades dropped significantly my second semester because of this. I went to class every day unless I absolutely could not get out of bed first semester and had straight As and one B that still haunts me to this day. Second semester rolled around, and I thought I had everything figured out. I could just get on canvas, copy the PowerPoints and make it. Wrong. I ended up with Cs across the board. And sure, Cs get degrees, but it hurts going from As to Cs.
2. Go to the library more.
More than just for finals week. Take advantage of the study rooms. Take advantage of the quiet. Just take advantage of the library.
3. Be more organized.
Pictures of other people being organized makes me want to get my shit together. Use a planner. Color code notes. Write down everything. Make sure your desk is neat and you have a spot for everything, because there is nothing worse than hitting snooze until 10 minutes before your class starts and then not being able to find that research paper you printed off the night before just so you could sleep in.
4. Don't procrastinate.
I'm so guilty of this. I'm the person who will wait until the very last minute to get an assignment turned in because I was on Pinterest looking up studying hacks. Ironic, I know. But seriously. Start an assignment the day it gets assigned. Makes notes in your planner, calendar or reminders on your phone a week in advance so the due date doesn't sneak up on you.
5. Get a random roommate.
I loved having someone I grew up with as a roommate because it made the transition a bit easier, but having a random roommate assigned to you is the easiest way to make your first friend in college. And if you and your roommate just do not get along whatsoever, you can always request a room change.
6. Actually stay in your dorm.
I was constantly in my boyfriend's dorm freshman year. It's OK to go visit every now and then, but once you've got your own drawer in his room, it's gone too far. Stay in your dorm. Decorate it the way you want to. Leave your door open for people to come in and say hello. Make your dorm a home away from home.
7. Go out more.
Not necessarily just to parties, but go out and explore your town. Meet new people. Try new foods. Take pictures. Just have fun.
8. Talk to people.
All of the friends I have in college are people I met through my boyfriend — which is totally OK, I love the guys. But I don't care how many times you say "I'm one of the guys," you're going to need your girls. People are typically genuinely nice people. Start up a conversation. Chances are they were too shy to say anything first.
9. Go to sporting events.
I went to every home football game that I could go to if I wasn't at work, and they are amazing. However, I didn't go to any basketball, volleyball, baseball or even softball games — and softball is my favorite sport. (Not to mention UNA won the national championship!) Students get into all of the home games for free. Why would you not take advantage of that?
10. Have more school spirit.
I don't care what you read on Pinterest. Have. School. Spirit. Wear your school colors, paint your face on game day, show off those letters, buy anything with your school logo on it, be proud of your school. Roar Lions.
11. Take advantage of free stuff.
There will be a lot going on throughout the semester, especially if you go to UNA. Lots of activities means lots of free T-shirts, free food, free blankets, free cars (seriously, we give away a free car), free everything. Go to everything.
12. Watch out for the freshman 15.
It's real, and it will hit you like a truck. So, stay away from fast food as much as possible. Yes, even Taco Bell — even though it's the best thing ever. Go to the gym on campus which again, is free. Walk to class. Go hiking. Do whatever you like to do to stay active becuase your metabolism drops. Fast.
13. Take it all in.
I didn't believe people when they said time would fly by, but here I am writing this, telling you the same thing. I swear, I just moved to Florence yesterday, and now the new freshmen are piling in. So sit back and enjoy the ride.