One year under our belts and however many left to go. Everyone experiences their first year of college differently, so here are a few different perspectives, pieces of advice, and unfortunately funny stories from us as we pass down the title of "freshmen" to you all.
"Rooming with someone can be really tough… If things don’t work out or you find yourself unhappy-- don’t be afraid to change dorms! I ended up switching from an unhappy situation to living with one of my best friends!"
Ava Nixon, Clemson University
"Don't take a nap in between finals. Did that and showed up panting out of breath with fifteen minutes to take a 50 multiple choice final. Passed it but damn, did I cut that close."
"Don't sell your ticket to the Penn State game and miss the biggest comeback in decades. That happened."
Joshua Schrum, The Ohio State University
"Go see the professors during office hours!!!"
Amanda Myers, Bloomsburg University
"My friend was punched by a Tapingo driver, and I was a witness/with him in the parking lot when it happened. RIP the stromboli"
"I thought it was Tuesday when it was actually Wednesday. I ended up going through my Wednesday schedule on Tuesday. I sat down in an upper-level engineering class instead of biology. I sat in the center near the front and was too embarrassed to leave, so now I have notes for lecture 3 of a 3000 level engineering class."
Kait Nguyen, The Ohio State University
"Find upperclassmen to mentor you, advise you, and teach you how to work the system. can't emphasize this one enough."
"Don't spend all of your time with the same group of people. Expose yourself to differences. It's possible to have both breadth and depth in friendships."
"Know your limits for everything: alcohol, sleep, etc. College is the time when you find out your ability to be self-disciplined."
"Go to your professors and try to establish personal relationships. Ask them a stupid or dumb question in person or over email just to get the ball rolling and your foot in the door."
"Take hard classes. No one likes a person with a 4.0."
"Don't put yourself in the routine of class, homework, sleep, party. It's unhealthy and will burn you out. Spice it up. Be adventurous."
"Go to the social events: sports, Greek, etc. Be social."
"Call your parents and friends. If you're homesick, be honest about it. Don't repress it. Let people know. Recognizing the legitimacy of your emotions is the first step."
"Sit down with the kid who sits by themselves at the dining hall at least once."
Rik Ujaan, Wofford College
"I didn't know how to work the laundry the first time I did it. First time I tried I legit left my laundry in the locked washer for a good seven hours."
Jeremy Riyanto, The Ohio State University
"My biggest piece of advice for college that I think will make the most difference to know immediately is to recognize how much more opportunity is waiting for the college students that are looking for it early in their experience, but it rarely happens due to the mindset that you can't work because you know so little. But it's kinda the opposite, actually! A lot of times not knowing much but showing interest or care in a field is like an employer having an empty canvas that they can make the best working candidate over years of time. It got me into a position on a lab team that was completely out of my league with experience requests that I didn't meet, but my boss told me that he invited me because he saw I was the only one that came out of interest. That will probably lead me to my actual job post-college, and it's not always going to be that direct or fast, but the opportunity more often exists than not now that I'm in college."
"I guess surround yourself with good people, and remember that college is important, big and scary, but it's also important, big and scary for like 99% of the rest of your classmates so the feeling dissipates pretty quick."
Cameron Qualls, Clemson University
"I came into here thinking the first semester would be a cakewalk because many of the classes. I ended up nearly failing the first midterm. The first midterm was a major wake up call to get my head out of my ass and start putting some effort into my studies. The biggest help was going to the tutoring room. I think many students have too much pride and are embarrassed to go. There's no need to be. To conclude, college is much more difficult and time-consuming than high school, and it is absolutely crucial to study often and utilize the ample free resources available to succeed here."
Nick Connors, The Ohio State University
"College goes by so fast so make sure to spend your time doing things that make you happy with people that make you happy."
"You can make up a test, but you can't make up a party! I'm not saying you should prioritize your social life over your studies, and I definitely don't encourage missing tests, but it is okay to take a break and have a little fun. In ten years, you won't remember all the nights you stayed in."
Alex Wynne, College of Charleston
"Time management is the most important thing for sure, but also branching out when you first get there and meeting new people is really fun and important."
Will King, Colorado State University
"Never waste a day. Make the most of every experience, challenge, and friendship you encounter. Your first year flies by, and before you know it you’ll be leaving for summer, leaving behind some of the best times and friends you’ve had your entire life. So my advice to you is to take advantage of every moment you have at Ohio State, take risks, get involved, stay focused, have the time of your life, and appreciate every little thing your first year brings to you."
Gianna Klonk, The Ohio State University
"I would say my advice is to appreciate high school for what it was and that college is another chapter in your life. You have to be all in to creating your new life and meeting new people to be able to make the best out of your freshman year. Some of my friends who go home every weekend because they miss high school make the biggest mistake someone can make. All of my roommates who did that hate it here now and haven't met anyone. I stayed every weekend and wanted to make the best out of this year, and now, I never want to leave here."
Allie Jehle, Clemson University
"I think one thing I would pass to freshmen is to never get too overwhelmed with anything in college! Find people you can trust and be close with because you can't just rely on people from back home. Having nobody at school to help you out will just make your freshman year tough."
Nick Dawson, The Ohio State University
"For words of advice I would definitely say not to expect to do as well as you did in high school with grades and time management and that it's perfectly normal for grades to slip a little in freshman year. Also that it may be hard to understand your priorities at first, but as the school year goes on, you will quickly learn where your focus needs to be!! Also, it's so important to channel your stress into something healthy like the gym cause this creates great habits and keeps you healthy and focused!!!"
Stephanie Orrell, Queens University
"I would recommend going into your freshman year with no expectations. People often say that college is some of the best times of our lives. This is an impossible standard to live up to, especially during the first few months or even year of college. It can be overwhelming at times when you feel like you have to be trying to prove to yourself that you're living the "college experience." Instead, I recommend going out and exploring all of the wonderful and new opportunities college has to offer. I know I will always remember some of the fun things I did this year like seeing The Book of Mormon at the Kennedy Center, listening to speeches from prominent politicians, visiting the Capitol building, and exploring M Street with friends. Although this might not seem like the life-changing events everyone expects going into college, you will eventually realize how meaningful and special these small moments are. I believe if you have an open mind and have a willingness to explore, your college will start to feel like home in no time."
Ryan Nimmer, Georgetown University
As for advice from me, I feel like most of it I have already published in my articles. However, I really recommend attempting to make one friend in every class/club/program you are part of on campus. These may not be people you seek to hang out with on the weekends or the people you choose to confide in when things get rough, but they will be a familiar face to make campus feel more like home. You never know when that person you sit next to in a neuroscience class will be the one with whom you rant about awful finals and make up inappropriate acronyms for Mitosis, or when the person you met in Best Buddies will be willing to come to your dorm to sing and play guitar for you when you had a rough week. Find your people, and keep them close.
Also, if a boy tells you that you won't look good with pink hair, dye it pink any way. It's so worth it.