There’s a ton of things incoming freshmen are dying to know. Sure, you’re an adult and you feel like you might be able to figure it out on your own — but a little help doesn’t hurt anyone. Looking back on all of the victories and downfalls I celebrated during my first year in college, there’s a lot of knowledge I have to pass on to those seeking it.
Here’s the freshman 15 that you should be worried about heading into your first year of college.
1. Don’t Take Your Parents for Granted
Sometimes it’s really easy to get caught up with everything happening at your new home that you forget about what’s happening at your old home. Don’t forget to call your parents. They know you’re having a good time and that you’re busy, but a call once a week brings everyone back down to earth from the busy lives you hold at least for a couple minutes.
2. Find that Sweet Spot for Studying
There’s a lot of different places on campus that have spaces to study and do homework. The library stands as the obvious option, but study areas hide in nearly every nook and cranny on campus. Don’t spend all of your time working in your room. Explore campus and see what’s out there. Working in your room will just make you tired and distracted, especially if you study in bed (I guarantee you’ll fall asleep).
3. Take Advantage of Nap Time
If you’ve had a long day and you’re feeling tired, just take a nap. It won’t hurt you. A 20 minute nap is good for recharging. Your work will still be waiting for you on your desk so you might as well take that extra 20 minutes now before you’re fighting to stay awake later. After your recharge, you’ll be ready to get back to work.
4. Don’t Stress if You Want to Change Majors
A lot of people do it, and you won’t be disappointing anyone. This year is all about figuring out what you like and what you don’t like. It’s actually really healthy and normal to change your major. This is definitely something you hear a lot before getting to college, but once you’re there it’s scary committing to the change. But don’t call it quits just yet. Trust your gut because you’re on the path to finding your actual passion.
5. Find Your Independence
It’s okay to eat dinner by yourself, go shopping by yourself or study by yourself. When you become more independent and spend more time with yourself, you get a better sense of who this person you’ve been living as for the past 18 years really is. You don’t have to rely on people all of the time. Take some nights to yourself to continue your week refreshed and recharged.
6. Office Hours are Everything
Your professors have office hours for a reason, and some of them sit in their offices for two hours with nobody showing up. Office hours are meant to help you. You can get help with homework, studying for an exam or even make good connections with professors. A lot of opportunities can come your way when you take the time to show up.
7. You’re Not an Actual Adult Yet
Everyone says that once you get to college, you’re in the real world. I realized that’s far from the truth. As a freshman, everyone gives you breaks. They understand you’re trying your best and that it takes time to adjust. “Aw you’re a freshman?” It’s okay. You don’t have to jump into the real world just yet.
8. Don’t be Afraid to Get Lost a Couple Times on Campus
My first week on campus I tried to take an alternate route to the dining commons. I felt so confident about myself. I ended up on the complete other side of campus. When I finally got to breakfast, my friends were so confused about how I ended up there. I was confused, too. And, not gunna lie, I cried a little bit. It did help me learn where the art museum on campus is, though.
9. Get Involved—But Know Your Limits
Involvement fairs are great, and you should sign up for a bunch of clubs. Sign up for anything you’re interested in, and then go to the first meeting to see which groups you like the most. Keep at least two. However, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s okay to drop more of them. The club isn’t going to hold a grudge against you for saying that you’re stressed and need to take a step back.
10. Planners are Incredible
I was already an avid planner user, but my freshman year just confirmed that I was right. They’re the easiest way to get your life organized. Planners help to keep track of your clubs, homework, class cancellations, professor’s office hours and so much more. If anything happens, just turn to your planner for comfort.
11. Your Roommate Doesn’t Have to be Your Best Friend… Or Your Enemy
Everyone has horror stories about their roommates, or stories about how much they love their roommate. Sometimes, you have neither. There’s just a mutual understanding that you’re not friends, but you also don’t hate each other. Sometimes you just don’t click, and it’s okay to live together and have absolutely no relationship with each other. It’s kind of refreshing. Whenever you want quiet time, you already have it. Yes, there are some things that my roommate and I do that bother each other, but it doesn’t consume my life.
12. There are so Many Free Things on Campus—Take it All
Any kind of fair, booth or table is incredible. You never know what you’re going to get. Candy, cups, pens, shirts and even food. Your meal plan is fleeting. Take as much free food as you can get (though most of the time it’s pizza — as long as that doesn’t bother you).
13. College Parties Aren’t All that Great
It’s a great time to hang out with your friends, but if you’re not that into drinking it’s just not worth your time. Even if you are into drinking, most of the time it’s a lot of standing around. But maybe I’ve been to the wrong ones? I’d rather plan a movie night, anyway.
14. The First People You Meet in College Most Likely Won’t be Your Friends
All those people you’ll be forced to hang out with and exchange numbers with during new student orientation are not even going to remember your face by the end of the semester. You talk for about a week. You all are just trying to find your place on campus. But you’ll both find better friends that you weren’t forced to be with. So, you don’t feel pressured at the beginning of the semester to make connections. You’ll find a great group of friends on your own.
15. Don’t be Afraid to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
You aren’t going to know most of the people on campus, and they aren’t going to know you. Freshman year is a great time to become the person you always wanted to be in high school. Go ahead and say hi to someone you don’t know. Take new risks. It could lead to new friendships and opportunities you didn’t even know were out there.