Freshman year of college was a whirlwind for me. My life did a 180 from what it was before. During freshman year, I was sadder than I’ve ever been in my life, happier than I’ve ever been in my life and made almost all new friends. Through all of the new and crazy experiences I’ve had, I learned a lot about myself and the world around me and have come out on the other end with some advice for those of you who are about to start the great journey that is college. I’ll start with the more surface level stuff and end with the more heavy, deep stuff.
Develop healthy eating and exercise habits early on.
It goes beyond just what you eat in the cafeteria. For one, if you plan on participating in the drinking scene, realize that alcohol plus the sugary mixers add up fast in sugar and calories. Also, you will be offered food a lot more than you expect. My roommates would bake late night snacks ALL THE TIME and I would also go to events and be offered treats that I would gobble up without giving a second thought.
Use a planner.
Between social stuff, clubs/activities and class, it is easy to lose track of events and assignments. It is also easy to feel overwhelmed and disorganized. Planners definitely help you feel like you have your life more together.
Make your teachers love you.
No, don’t be a teacher’s pet, just make them like you, make them want to help you. You never know, at the end of the year, you could be on the cusp between a B+ and an A- and they will tip the scale in your favor because they like you and think you’re a good student. Actively listen in class, ask questions and speak up when you need help.
Be the best roommate possible.
Right off the bat, say to your roommate, “Listen, I want us to get along and have a great relationship. Please, if you ever have any problem with me, tell me straight up to my face so we don’t have any passive built up anger and resentment towards each other.” Trust me, having roommate issues SUCKS. It can literally make your life miserable and make your dorm not feel like home anymore (and then you don’t have anywhere at school that feels like home and you feel so lost).
Write in a journal as often as you can.
I wish I had written down my feelings, thoughts and experiences more during freshman year. There is a good chance that this year will be the best or one of the best years of your life and I’m sure that it will be a year that is transforming and memorable. You will thank yourself later for being able to remember, reminisce, learn from and reflect on those times when reading your journal entries.
Don’t go looking for love but be open to it.
Most people will tell you to avoid a relationship your freshman year like you would avoid a plague. Relationships tie you down and you want to be free and independent during college, especially your first couple of years. I use to agree with this but not so much anymore. At my school, a lot of girls stayed with their high school boyfriends throughout the school year. Yes, some girls let these relationships consume them and prevent them from going out, having fun and being a normal college kid. However, others were able to balance their relationship with a very rich and fulfilling social life that involved going to parties and doing typical college kid things. Honestly, the only “college” thing that being in a relationship will prevent you from doing is having random, one-night hookups (which isn’t something I would ever regret missing out on, personally).
Live in the present.
This is the tip that I want to emphasize most! If I haven’t said it enough already, starting college is one of the craziest and coolest parts of your life you will ever experience. If you find yourself at a pizza place at 2:00 A.M., laughing with your best friends until it hurts and everything just feels so right and perfect, take a mental picture. Savor the good moments, no matter how small because those are the moments that will mean the most to you when you are looking back on your life in the future.