If you’re reading this, it probably means you’re an incoming college freshman. If not, then you’re just a very, very eager high school student. If the latter is true, sit down and buckle in buck-a-roo because high school goes by quickly and you really will miss it when it’s gone. If the former is true, congratulations high school grad! You did it.
Now it’s on to the big leagues.
People always ask “What are a few things you wish you knew before Freshman Year?” And you know what? My answer is, nothing. I liked learning on my own. I don’t think my year would have been as fun, as interesting, or as fulfilling without my own learning experiences. So while I’ll give you my own 2 cents, I encourage you to learn most things on your own. Why? Because the easy way out if for chumps, and you my friend, are not a chump. Also because learning things on your own helps drive that lesson home; you learn more from your own experiences than from reading on the internet. And finally, because, like I said, life is more fun that way.
So here, my beautiful graduate butterflies, is what you can learn from my Freshman Year:
1. If a boy wears a banana suit to Chemistry class, do not ask him about it.
2. Do not sign up for 8 AM classes. “Oh but I did it in high school.” Yes, yes you did. But you will not do it in college. I promise you. I myself am an early bird, and I can tell you that 8 AM classes are dreadful, and you will learn far less when your brain is half-asleep. If you’re still set on taking early classes, shoot for 9 AM. But I promise you, you will rue the day you clicked the “enroll” button. Thou shalt not sign up for 8 AM classes unless said 8 AM class is absolutely, positively mandatory.
3. #TreatYoSelf. #ButNotTooMuch.
This applies to two things: money and food. #TreatYoSelf to something nice. Maybe a new dress or some shoes. Makes you feel good, makes you happy, boosts your self-esteem, etc. and we all know how good that feels. I would even argue that treating yourself once in a while is good for mental health (Retail Therapy anyone?). But that’s the key: once in a while. You’re in college hooray! You’re a grown up! And now it’s time for grown up things, like managing your money. Fortunately, I started doing this at a young age, but I see many a college student burn out of their funds very quickly and are stuck fishing week old pizza from their neighbors fridge because they have nothing else to eat. Sparknotes? Set yourself a budget. Make it a weekly or monthly budget, and split it up between food, school supplies, miscellaneous things, and savings.
#TreatYoSelf to something yummy, but be mindful of what you’re eating. Many students discontinue organized sports in college (maybe you were captain of your soccer team but didn’t make the NCAA cut?). You think, “Hey! I’ve always been an athlete. Of course I’ll stay active.” I’m telling you now, it’s more complicated than that. Start good habits early and hit the gym. Join a club or intramural team! You’re sitting on your butt in the library more in college. When you’re more sedentary, it’s much easier to gain weight. You’re also surrounded by easy-to-access food, all the time. No more having to drive to the grocery store, or the ice cream shop, or the burger joint. Nope. It’s all just a 3 minute walk from your dorm. So be careful about what you eat, and what you’re keeping in your dorm!
4. Be daring. You don’t always have to play by the rules. Do something different. You’re at a point in your life where you have comparatively less responsibility. Have fun with it. (Just don’t do drugs. Please.)
(Seriously kids don’t do drugs.)
(I’m being so serious right now.)
(I will be very mad at you.)
(I mean it.)
5. Never trust a man who dresses up as a one-man-mariachi-band for Halloween.
6. Bring a box of whatever costumes you have to college. There will be many costume parties, themed parties, and themed date functions to go to. Whatever you have at home, even if it’s an old dance costume, bring it. I had a pair of fully sequined (multicolored) leggings from an old dance routine… I wore them three times. And a friend borrowed them too (mind you, this friend was a boy). Don’t go out and buy yourself a treasure trove of costumes; just bring what you have! The rest you can borrow from friends.
7. My Sociology professor told us all something I really liked the first day of class. He essentially told us to ask questions, whatever they were. He summarized how professors sometimes say very highly intelligent sounding gobbly-gook (yes, that is the scientific and professionally word for it thank you for asking) and students just sit there and assume they should know it, so they don’t ask. He said, “Don’t sit there and think, ‘I must be distinctly stupid. Because you aren’t.” And he’s right. You aren’t. So ask your dang question already. You don’t know the rest of the people in that lecture hall anyway.
8. Don’t cram. You’ve heard it a million times. It doesn’t work. Period. You know it’s bad. I know it’s bad. We won’t dwell on it, as long as you promise you won’t do it.
No cramming, and no drugs.
9. Have fun.
I had to end it in a cheesy way. Sorry guys.
But there ya have it folks! College will be the best time of your life, and your first year goes by way too quickly. Cherish it. And get excited!
Are you excited to start decorating dorms yet? Look out for my dorm decorating and tips posts around the Back To School season!