10 Things I Wish I Knew Before My Freshman Year

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1. Cleaning Supplies are Your Best Friend

Life tends to come with some messiness, and college is no exception. No matter how careful you are, at some point in your freshman year, you will spill something, break something, and stain something. You’ll want cleaning supplies for a quick fix. As a college student, you’ll learn to appreciate the powers of Clorox, bleach, and Tide To Go.

2. Never Wear Nice Shoes to a Frat

Fraternity houses are often the center of the college party scene. Cute boys, loud music, and several kegs, make frats a Saturday-night staple. In turn, frat houses are a sticky mess of sweat, beer, and other undesirable fluids. It’s no surprise that frat houses are where Jimmy Choos, Manolo Blaniks, and other expensive shoes go to die. If you want to have a good time at a frat and not worry about your outfit, wear something cute and cheap. No one will notice the difference anyway. Rebecca, a junior at Tulane University regretfully notes, “I’ve ruined way too many good shoes at frats. Now I just wear cheap flip flops when I go out.”

3. No Matter How Broke You Are, Don’t Eat Something That’s Passed Its Expiration Date

Expiration dates are put on food items for a reason. If it’s past the date on the box, just don’t eat it—even if you have absolutely no money. Having to ask your parents or friends to loan you some money for food, however degrading it may seem, is always preferable to getting food poisoning.  

4. Hall-cest Almost Never Ends Well.

You’re moving in and eye a cutie across the hall. Your eyes meet and you feel instant attraction. Resist the urge. Hall-cest is a big no-no. You’ll inevitably spend a lot of time with your freshmen hall mates and you won’t want to see a constant reminder of a crazy Saturday night whenever you come home. “My freshman year I hooked up with a neighbor down the hall from me,” shares Erin, a junior at University of Buffalo. “Every time I saw him for the rest of the year it was just completely awkward and a little embarrassing.”

5. Professors are Real People, Too.

Just like high school teachers, it’s hard to imagine your professors as people with lives—but they are normal people too. Try to remember that your professors will have great days, days when they’re cranky, and days when they just don’t want to be teaching. Respect that about them when asking them for favors, paper extensions, and letters of recommendation.

6. Take Care in Picking Your Alarm Clock Noise

The moments during which a college student wakes up are rarely pleasant. You may think that being greeted in the morning by the sounds of your favorite song, the information of NPR, or the mewing of cute barnyard animals, is the most ideal way to start your day off. Yet, as the semester progresses, you’ll find yourself hating mornings more and more, and resenting the sound that wakes you up. Take it from someone who can never listen to the quacking of baby ducks without grimacing—pick a neutral alarm clock tone. Your roommates will thank you too.

7. Rain Boots. Rain Boots. Rain Boots.

You wake up on a partly cloudy morning and decide to wear comfy shoes to your early class—sneakers, pretty little ballet flats, or flip-flops. Walking to class is completely dry experience but lo and behold, you get out of your 9AM class to discover a torrential downpour. You have no umbrella, no raincoat, and tragically, no rain boots. Now when you get to your next class across campus, not only are you soaked but whatever shoes you are wearing are completely ruined. Moral of the story: Whenever there is a chance of rain, wear rain boots. You’ll save yourself both money and aggravation.

8. Tupperware is King.

Some of your upperclassmen friends from English class are having dinner at their apartment and invite you over. They make tons of pasta and ask if you’d like to bring some home. As a broke college student, you’ll want Tupperware to store that free food. Tupperware is also great for bringing home extra food from the cafeteria. “I always bring a little tupperware to the cafeteria when I go to eat dinner,” Kerry, a senior at Hofstra University advises, “Making a PB&J for lunch the next day also has really saved me a lot of money.”

9. Sleep Isn’t Only For the Dead.

Everyone has heard the expression, “You can sleep when you’re dead.” College students use this all too frequently to justify all-nighters, hardcore partying, and even procrastination. When you hit your third day in a row of getting less than two hours of sleep, and you dose off in the library, knocking your sixth cup of coffee of the day into your lap, you’ll have wished you slept a little more.

10. Only Do Your Laundry Only When You Know You’ll Stay Awake

As the semester progresses and both dirty laundry and stress start to run high, the laundry room of your dorm will quickly turn into an all-out war zone. Many times, if you’re not present to empty the washer/dryer minutes after your cycle is done, you’ll find your clothes on top of the machine, or if your neighbor was feelingly especially vindictive, all over the floor. And if you’re doing laundry late at night and happen to fall asleep—don’t expect it all to be there the next morning.

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Junior > English > Wesleyan University

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