Going to college is super exciting, but for upcoming freshmen, it's something completely new. To everyone who is about to enter college, I can assure you, you will have a blast! You are going to make new friends, learn so many different things, and grow tremendously. Although it has been amazing so far, there are a couple of things I wish I would have known before entering college as a vulnerable freshman.
1. Not everyone Is going to like you
I have always been a people pleaser and didn't have much drama in high school. I came into college thinking my first college roommate was going to be my best friend and everyone was going to love me. Boy, was I wrong. From day one, my roommate was not particularly fond of me. We had two completely different ideas of how our year would go and she actually ended up moving out. I just want to make it clear, roommate disagreements are going to happen and it is totally okay! When you're living with someone full time, you are sometimes going to do things that get on your roommate's nerves and they are bound to do the same to you.
We are humans and we're not perfect! It's also okay if you can't stand your roommate and need a switch like me and my first roommate. Hopefully, it won't happen to you, but it does happen and no one really prepared me for it!
So how did I deal with it? Well now that my roommate is gone, I have a single room to myself, but my friends basically live in here with me and I wouldn't have it any other way. My advice for picking your roommate is to really get to know them before you seal the deal. You might appear to look like you would get along on the outside, but just because you both have monogram everything doesn't mean you guys are perfect roommate material.
Talk about your social life, when you go to bed, whether you're a neat freak or a slob, and things that would be a deal breaker for you. Those are the important things that really matter when you're choosing a roommate.
2. College IS NOT a full time party
Okay, so we've all seen those movies where college is portrayed as an endless party and you don't really see much but friends laughing and having a good time. Yeah, college is very fun and my friends and I are constantly laughing, but we're also constantly studying for huge exams, writing 10 page essays, and trying to figure out impossible math problems.
I really struggled trying to figure out how to keep a balance between my social life and my academics first semester. FOMO (the fear of missing out) is a real thing, but your friends aren't going to abruptly disappear because you were in the library all night. Keep your grades up, after all that is the real reason why we're in college, right?
3. It is okay to make mistakes!!
Not a lot of people really talk about this one, but we are young and it is okay to goof up sometimes. The important part is to learn from our mistakes! If you thought Jimmy seemed like the perfect guy and you found out apparently he was perfect to Helen and Susie too, it's okay!
You, my friend, have just learned that not all boys are men in college and you should probably keep your guard up and not fall for every boy who seems charming. You are probably going to accidentally sleep in and skip a class at some point, you might be wasting your time messing around with guys and all of a sudden you realize that is not the life you want to live, it's all okay, college is where you become intelligent not only in the classroom but in the real world also.
We're all finding out about ourselves and it's fine to experiment and do things out of our comfort zone sometimes. Just be safe, smart and have a good time!
4. You are going to miss your family
It is so different living away from your family. I truly took for granted all those home cooked meals, birthday celebrations, and just good 'ole family time. I call my parents everyday walking to classes just because I miss them. It is so nice to receive a care package from them, but just calling them or writing them a handwritten letter can mean so much to them.
You are definitely going to miss your family, but remember this is a big milestone for not only you, but them too and you have no idea how much they are really going to miss you. Don't forget about your siblings either! Even if they will never admit it, they are going to miss you also. My little sisters text me all the time and tell me to come back home. Spend time with them on breaks and let them know how much you appreciate them.
5. Save money
A lot of universities do not allow freshman to have cars on campus. Not having my car on campus has put a huge hole in my pocket, simply because of Uber.
I'm pretty sure I have spent $250 this entire year on Uber, but hey if you're okay with walking everywhere and sticking to campus dining, you do you. You're going to need to budget and find a way to make your money last throughout the year, but you're also going to want to be able to go out with your friends and splurge a little.
As my dad says, college is the one time in your life where you can and should be selfish. Live a little and make some memories!! I have a job at a local donut shop 10 minutes from my dorm that I work at only on weekends so I still have time to do schoolwork.
Having this job allows me to be able to put money in my savings account and have a little money to throw around sometimes. Another suggestion is a Summer job, because what else are we going to do for 3 months without school work? My lifeguard job has been a tremendous help for buying dorm decor and college necessities.
Pro tip: Start buying all of your dorm decor and supplies as soon as possible, but get the big items you want first and gradually get everything else you need.
6. Keep yourself healthy
Oh my, this one is serious. The freshman 15 is REAL and almost unavoidable. I have some tips that can help you, but seriously prepare and get ready for this one. Never, ever take elevators, always take the stairs.
At my university, people drive around on golf carts and ask if you need rides. ALWAYS say no. Do the extra walking, you'll thank me later. Oh and beware of the campus dining hall. Those ice cream machines will stare you down and trick you into thinking you really need that ice cream cone to cope with the stress of all your assignments, but that is not true!
Exercise really helps with stress, go to the gym! There is a campus gym for a reason. If you really don't feel like going to the gym, go for a walk.
Call your parents and just walk and talk! Also, remember to drink plenty of water. You only get one body so treat it right! Another thing you need to remember is make time for yourself and do things for you. I really take pride in having a clean room and as strange as it sounds, it makes me feel so good to have my room spick and span.
Your mental health is so important to keep healthy, if you are stressed, take a sticky note and write down everything you need to do. It will feel so good to cross things off. Another suggestion is a notebook. Sometimes it just feels good to write down your feelings or go to that friend that you will make and talk to them about whatever is bugging you.
Remember your parents, sometimes I just call my parents to tell them my agenda for the day and it feels so relieving to have my thoughts in order. Always put your health first!
7. Get some sleep!
I've got to be honest, this one I'm still working on. If you are not a morning person like me and struggle to wake up even with an alarm set, try to refrain from taking 8ams. Or just go to bed at a reasonable time and don't procrastinate by starting your essays at 12am! I am really speaking from experience here. Last semester I would stay up watching horror movies with my friends until 4am when I knew I had to wake up early the next day.
Don't do this, I learned the consequences the hard way. Set a bed time goal for yourself and make sure you aren't starting all of your assignments at that time. Power naps are also a necessity in college. You are going to want to take as many of them as possible, just make sure you aren't taking them in class!
8. This is where you are most likely going to meet your life-long fiends
After being in college for 8 months, I can honestly say I know I have already met some of my life-long friends here. The best thing about this one is there's no preparing for it. In high school, it was so different. Everyone was trying to fit in, but in college you have the ability to be yourself and people are going to love you for it.
Think about all of the adults who say "college is the best years of your life." Do you think they say this because of those endless lab reports you have to do every week? No, its because of the people and the memories you are going to make. College is cool because your college friends are all right there struggling with you and you can all relate and understand what you guys are going through.
Those days when you really miss your parents, when you fail a bio test and are really down about it, when you're upset because you think of the time you wasted with Jimmy, your friends can relate so hard because they are all feeling the same things. They're really going to be there for you just like you will be there for them. Don't worry, high school is almost over and college, the best years of your life, is about to start.
9. Be the teacher's pet
Guess what. In college its not weird to actually want to do well in school! So be a teacher's pet. If you know you are not going to make it to class, e-mail your professors and ask what you missed. Visit office hours, pay attention in class and be active in participation! Oddly enough, not many people do these things and professors love to see this happen.
There's a myth that college professors don't care if you succeed or not. If you show them you are trying and really want to do well in their class, they will try their best to help you succeed. Be organized and keep a calendar at your desk that has all of your assignments on it that you can visibly see. Print out all of your syllabuses and make sure you are on top of all of your assignments. In college, you are not reminded about big assignments that are coming up like in high school.
I accidentally learned this the hard way in my french class. I totally skipped over a part on the syllabus that talked about an assignment that was worth 10% of my grade. Do not do this!! Be prepared and know your due dates and assignments. If you have any questions, e-mail your professors or make friends in your classes and start a study group. Find what works best for you and keep up the good work because it will all be worth it in the long run!
10. Time flies fast!
It feels as if move in day was just yesterday. Here I am approaching my last couple weeks of school and I am not ready for it to be over. Make memories, take lots of pictures, grab dinner with your friends, and just enjoy your time because before you know it, it will be over. Do the things you have always wanted to do. If you love to sing, join an a capella group, if you really like basketball, join the club team or even try out for the varsity team. The worst type of regret is not doing something you love, so go for it and have fun!!