11 Things UIUC Has Taught Me In My Freshman Year Of College

11 Things UIUC Has Taught Me In My Freshman Year Of College

Some life saving and thoughtful tips I learned in my one and a half semesters at UIUC.

group picture
Erin Wunderlich

Just eight short months ago, I was still a nervous, shy, and fresh high school grad who had no idea what she wanted in life. But, she knew where she could start, and that was at the U of I. Even though my freshman year has been cut short due to the pandemic caused by COVID-19, I was still able to have a 'relatively' normal first year in college. Although it was not all sunshine and rainbows, I learned a lot of things about myself that I probably would have never realized under the wings of my parents.

1. Put yourself out there, and don't be afraid to be yourself.

One of the things I am so happy I did in the first couple weeks of college was put myself out there and make new friends. I was so nervous about meeting new people when I first arrived, but I found that everyone is welcoming and truly wants the same thing as you. As long as you be yourself, you will find the right people who compliment your personality.

2. Don't be shy! Be a yes man (or woman).

Say yes! If you are an introvert like me, staying in your dorm and keeping interaction to a minimum seems like the safe and best way to avoid awkward social interaction. However, you only grow by experiences and you only improve by doing. I encourage you to go out and do fun things with your friends and don't limit your time in college by staying to yourself. There will be so much more time for that afterward.


For me, a person who obsesses about grades and schoolwork, not slacking off was a given. But, through all of the fun, late nights, and adventures it's easier to slip on your studies than you think. I urge you to not be the person who has to cram two weeks of lectures and material into two nights before a midterm. TRUST ME, it's not fun.

4. Get enough sleep!!

This is one of the things I ended up struggling with the most. Getting enough sleep in so important to your health and ability to function. Without sleep, your focus will be off in class, studying becomes extra hard (especially in a quiet library—I recommend ACES btw), and when your friends want to go do something you will be too tired to join. Sleep is the ultimate nourishment for success in college—you can't get enough of it.

5. Don't forget about friends and family back home.

No matter how far away you are or how busy, try to make time for friends and family back home. I struggled with balancing the relationships I made at school with the ones I've had for life. My only advice is to make time for the ones that matter most to you.

6. Transit will save you in the winter.

I totally recommend that you figure out the buses by the time second semester rolls around because it gets COLD in Champaign. If anything, make sure you've got a direct route home when you are done with classes in the evenings.

7. Opportunities won't be handed to you—you have to take them.

Another thing I'm so glad I did was getting involved at UIUC. The only way to start making connections with other students, professors, and advisors is to put yourself out there. Whether that be in an RSO or your major, don't sit back and let all those opportunities pass by.

8. Try all the dining halls!

This one is kind of silly, but I urge you to try each dining hall on campus. Grab some friends and make it fun!! I recently met a senior in my RSO who had only eaten at the Ike in all 4 years she's been on campus. There are so many hidden dining halls that have good food, I especially recommend Late Night at PAR (Stir fry!!!).

9. Be kind to your roommate.

Each of us think of our sleep space as a safe area we go to when we are too tired or need a break from the world. Now that you are sharing a room with someone else, it's important to respect them and their belongings. Of course, if there is something that is bothering or annoying your PLEASE talk to them about it first. Other than that, go to your RA for help because that's what they are there for.

10. Take time for yourself.

College can get really busy and overwhelming. There will be so many things to do and choose from that it can start to feel like you are falling apart. It is always best to take time for yourself, doing whatever that may be, to recharge and come back to a positive state. Also, self-care is really important! Make sure you still have time to shower (funny, but true)!

11. Enjoy all of it, even the hard and frustrating parts.

College is an experience. And the only way you will be happy is if you open up yourself to change and try to see the best in everything that comes your way. There will be hard nights full of studying, late papers, disagreements with others, and homesickness. But what trumps all of those negative feelings and events is the fact that you are there to learn. You are there to learn about it ALL - even the parts that might not seem so fun. And trust me, I miss those late nights now stuck in quarantine a lot more than I thought I would!

I hope these tips will help you during your freshman year—I sure wish I knew some of these things before I started. Overall, college is a good time. I've been the happiest I've been in my life, but also the most stressed. I guess it's a balance of life. I wish you all the best freshman year possible!! Stay healthy and safe!

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

119 People Reveal How The Pandemic Has Affected Their Love Lives, And Honestly... Relatable

"I haven't been able to get out of the 'talking phase' with anyone."

The reality is, there's no part of life the pandemic hasn't affected. Whether it's your work life, your home life, your social life, or your love life, coronavirus (COVID-19) is wreaking havoc on just about everything — not to mention people's health.

When it comes to romance, in particular, people are all handling things differently and there's no "right way" of making it through, regardless of your relationship status (single, taken, married, divorced, you name it). So, some of Swoon's creators sought out to hear from various individuals on how exactly their love lives have been affected since quarantine began.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

If 'Hockey Is For Everyone,' Why Is Matt Dumba So Alone In Fighting For Racial Equality In The NHL?

If the NHL is using #WeSkateForEquality, why is Dumba alone in the fight for equality?

On Saturday, August 1, 2020, the National Hockey League resumed play for the first time since March 12, 2020. The season was paused due to the growing coronavirus (COVID-19) spread and a concern for the players contacting the virus and spreading it through the League. Fans and players sat and waited for the hockey season to resume, which took more than 140 days.

Keep Reading... Show less

- Though as a little girl, I had the silkiest, softest hair that would get compliments everywhere I went, since I turned about thirteen I've since had coarse, dry hair no amount of deep conditioning masks or sulfate-free shampoo could fix.

- I started using the Raincry's Condition Boar Bristle Brush several months ago, and while I noticed that my hair had been softer, silkier, and shinier than it had ever been, I didn't make the connection because I never thought a simple hairbrush could make any difference in my hair texture.

- I will be the first to admit that I thought it was ridiculous to spend nearly a hundred dollars on a hairbrush, but this one eliminates the need for me to use any heat tools or styling products on it.

- I put some oil or a serum in my hair when it's wet, brush my hair with the boar bristle brush once it's dry, and end up with the lowest maintenance, shiniest hair I've had since I was 8 years old.


Keep Reading... Show less

Bingeing a romantic comedy is always a good idea, and during this pandemic, these movies bring us one of the only elements of romance we can get. Through all the break-ups, obstacles, and struggles in our love lives, romantic comedies have always been there to make us laugh and keep us company while we cry.

While we love these movies for the beyond gorgeous male love interests, the female protagonists are still the ones we always remember. Although rom-coms are far from reality, it is always fun to imagine what our life would be like if a cinematic studio was behind our love life. So what does your favorite romantic comedies say about your dream guy?

Keep Reading... Show less

Whether you're in an unhealthy relationship currently, you know someone who is, or you just want to have these numbers saved just in case it could one day save someone's life (if not your own), this article is for you. Here are three numbers to save in your contacts ASAP so you can always be safe, both physically and mentally, in every relationship.

Keep Reading... Show less

7 Things You Need To Know About Our NEW Bachelorette, Tayshia Adams

Could THIS be the most dramatic season in "Bachelorette" history?

Bombshell news coming from Bachelor Nation today, Tayshia Adams is replacing Clare Crawley as the bachelorette!

Rumor has it that Clare found her person early on in the process and did not want to continue with the process of leading other men on throughout the season.

Keep Reading... Show less

The NBA is back, and for basketball fans, like myself, it has been the BEST news we have heard since COVID-19 shutdown play indefinitely. I mean, come on, we need to see if James Harden can once again perform so well he has back-to-back 50 point games, Kawhi can lead another team to the championship title, and whether Giannis is going to be back-to-back MVP... among like 500 other things running through our heads!

In the midst of all of the amazing statistics and records that these players are breaking, though, we also just love the NBA because well, there are some pretty good looking guys out there. Here are the 19 hottest NBA players (in no particular order) you would totally let slam dunk on you now that the NBA has returned.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Everything You Need To Know About Macronutrients, Because A Diet Should Be More Than Calories

Pay attention to what you're eating, not just how much you're eating.

Plenty of people are familiar with the "calories in, calories out" (CICO) method of dieting which can be used for losing, gaining, or maintaining weight. This method relies on calculating a person's total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) to ensure that they are not overeating or undereating to achieve their desired weight. TDEE considers a person's height, weight, age, gender, and level of activity to determine what their caloric intake should be — some calculators can factor in body fat percentage as well. When I used a TDEE calculator online, it said that my TDEE would be 1,990 calories if I was trying to maintain my weight, but are all calories created equal? I'd argue that they're not.

It might seem obvious to some of you that 1,990 calories of macaroni and cheese are not healthy at all compared to 1,990 calories of varied foods (fruit, veggies, meat, bread, etc.).

Keep Reading... Show less

Just Because You're Asked To Be In A Wedding, Doesn't Always Mean You Should Say Yes

If you can't invest time, money, and YOURSELF, maybe say no to the offer for the bride's sake!

Being in a wedding is a really big commitment. I personally think if you've never been in one before, you don't understand the time, money, and energy that goes into being a part of it.

Keep Reading... Show less

As any poor college student, a little kick of caffeine for less than a dollar has always sounded great to me. So, naturally, AriZona Iced Tea has been a go-to for as long as I can remember.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

Dear Closeted Latina,

You were never alone.

Remember how the Latin world got rocked when Ricky Martin came out?

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments