Dear Incoming College Freshman,
Welcome to the craziest four or so years of your life. Congratulations on making it here!
You will experience so many new things! Like all-nighters to cram for those exams, you'll forget about. You will also gain so many new skills; one of these being how to survive with severe sleep deprivation and no money.
1. Attend your orientation and take it seriously.
This is the perfect opportunity to meet other individuals coming to the university who are alone and scared like you! Something I regret is skipping many of the orientation events. You pay for these events so you better get your money's worth. Also, they allow you to learn about your campus community which can be useful knowledge to have later.
2. Get familiar with your campus before classes start.
You do not want to be thirty minutes late to your first day of class because you cannot find the building! If you are offered a tour during orientation, take the tour! If you are not offered a tour, explore the campus on your own time. Grab a few other people in your dorm hall and ask them to find the library with you so you don't end up like Spongebob Squarepants.
3. Get a job on campus.
I was employed on campus ever since the second semester of my freshman year at school. Above is a photo of the office assistants during the spring of 2017 at the Rec/IM.
There are many great reasons to be employed on campus. If your university is closed, it is extremely likely you won't have to work! Also, employers at universities are much more understanding of your situation than other jobs. If you need to pull out your flashcards for your oral Spanish exam, your on-campus job will usually allow that whereas most bosses do not.
4. Establish a routine.
For many of you incoming freshman, you will be living on campus and will not have your parents as an alarm clock if you fail to wake up. Establishing a routine and writing down your daily responsibilities in an app or notebook will help you accomplish all of your work and allow for free time!
5. Get good sleep every night!
If you want to be successful in your academic career, getting good sleep is a must. I know I said earlier you will learn to live on sleep deprivation; however, it is important you try to be as awake as possible for your classes and exams.
If you find you are having trouble getting enough sleep at night, try taking a nap in the daytime!
6. Workout at least 3 times a week.
I know you will be so busy in college and working out may be something that you cannot do often. I do recommend you attempt to hit up your recreation center at least three days a week for 30 minutes a day to get your blood flowing and keep from gaining that dreaded freshman fifteen.
7. Stay positive!
You will QUICKLY learn how different high school is from college. College is a shit ton more difficult and requires a lot more work from you! But don't give up after the first few weeks! Keep your head up! As you get more familiar with the expectations of college, everything will be slightly easier for you!
8. Join an organization or two.
The best way to meet people with similar interests as you is to join an organization. Whether you are looking for a non-profit organization, greek life, a religious group, or a professional organization to build your resume, you can find many clubs at your school that will be a great fit for you!
During my time in college, I was involved in mock trial, greek life, a service organization (Omega Phi Alpha), a non-profit organization (Best Buddies), Psi Chi professional honor's society, and various other groups! These groups look great on my resume and gave me great connections.
9. Take many photographs.
Four years is a long time. People will come and go from your life. Your major may change once, twice, maybe even ten times. Take photographs to remember the fun times in your life. Take photos so you don't forget about all of the experiences you'll have.
10. Attend your classes.
If you plan to get a more advanced degree (MB/MA, JD, Ph.D., etc), you should be a good student in your classes so you have professors to give you recommendations later on. If you want to encourage a professor to write you a nice recommendation letter, show up on time, don't look at your phone, participate in class, and go to the professors' office hours. While Cs may get degrees, As and Bs are more appealing to graduate programs and employers.
If that hasn't convinced you to go to class, realize that you pay around $1000 for that class without including the cost of books. If you want to throw away that money and learn nothing, that's on you.
So it will be a difficult four+ years but I can promise you that it is worth every penny and every tear. Be strong and work hard.
A Recent College Graduate