10 Things All Incoming College Freshman Need to Hear
These 10 tidbits will help guide you through your journey from high school to college with (for the most part), no bumps in the road. So if you are in dire need of freshman year advice, you have come to the right place!
1. Do NOT come into college with an idea in your head of how your college experience will be.
I can honestly say that I am 100% guilty of doing this. I had to learn the hard way that everybody’s college journey is different so it is important to not base your expectations on what other people have done. As a junior in college, I have not checked off every expectation that I had for college (and most likely will not), but that is okay! The best thing for you to remember is that your college experience is unique to you and something that will be different compared to everyone else’s, do not be discouraged by the process because once you are a senior, everything will fall into place.
2. It is okay to be nervous.
This is something that I wish I was told the night before I moved into my dorm freshman year. It is entirely acceptable to feel nervous as the date for move-in day comes closer. Most people do not realize (me included) that once you start college, your life will change drastically. You are living in a new place with new people, taking classes you have never taken before, and there is the added pressure of deciding what you want to do for the rest of your life. Keeping all of those things in mind, it would almost be weird if you were not nervous about it. It is important to remember that every single freshman is most likely worried about the same things that you are, so take comfort in knowing that.
3. Go to class.
I know what you are thinking, this tip seems like a no-brainer. But you will come to realize that skipping class is very easy to do when your mom is not there to wake you up every morning. Skipping class can affect your GPA negatively, so you must attend class and be present while doing so. Be thankful that you have been allowed to go to college because a lot of people do not have the option of doing so. Also, attending class will allow you to build relationships with your professors, which will help you further down when you apply for jobs.
4. Try not to sign up for 8 am classes.
This is probably the biggest mistake most people make their freshman year (one that I have also made… and regretted). From grade K-12, we are trained to wake up at that time every day so you would think you would be able to handle it right? Wrong. It can be extremely stressful and draining, especially if you are a commuter. When you are sitting in your college classes, you need to make sure you are 100% wide awake and aware of what the professor is teaching you. If all you are doing is just attending class, but not retaining any of the information because you are feeling exhausted and worn-out, you will be wasting an insane amount of money. So do yourself a favor and try to avoid 8 am classes if you can, unless you feel that is what is best for your brain and your body.
5. You are going to feel like a high school freshman again (and that is okay).
One thing I never really thought about until I started my freshman year of college is that I am going to be the low man on the totem pole again. Although this is a very big obstacle that may seem hard to overcome at the moment, do not worry too much about it. At one point, every single person at your college has been a freshman, and just like high school you will work your way up and eventually be a senior. Also, something that I have observed is that there is not much of a split between class years. This is because there are generally a few people in your classes who are not in your year and they will not even think twice about the fact that you are a freshman because everybody’s end goal is the same: to graduate.
6. Losing touch with your friends from high school will be inevitable.
I remember this feeling all too well. I would barely check Instagram because I could not bear to see all of my friends from high school making new friends and finding themselves. What they fail to tell you is that college is a completely different world compared to high school. Your high school friends will meet so many new people, but the good thing about this is that you will too! You both will have similar experiences, and it is okay if those experiences cause you to outgrow your friends from high school.
7. It is normal to feel homesick.
If you are going away to college, whether it is across the country or an hour away, homesickness is just something that will happen no matter what. It is completely understandable to miss home because college is such a huge change. If you can make it through the first month though, you will be okay. Living at college can be such a weird experience filled with so many different emotions that you have to at least give it a fair shot before you rule it out entirely. But if you find that after a year of living at school that it just is not for you, there is absolutely no shame in that, just please, give it time before you give up.
8. Make use of the resources given to you as a student.
As opposed to what you might have heard, advisors know what they are talking about, professors do not exist to make your life miserable, and the college resources given to you will help you out as a student and will make your life easier in the long run. Do not be scared to take advantage of the resources that are given to you. Whether that be going to the writing center to get help writing an English paper, or going to your professor’s office hours, it does not hurt to go to these things because it will only make you a better student. So make the best of every resource that your college has to offer because before you know it you will not have these resources to turn to.
9. Do not skip meals.
This is probably the most important thing I can relay to you. You may think skipping a meal or two so you can have more time to do all of those take-home quizzes and group projects is the best way to handle things. If anything, eating will give you more energy and fuel to complete all of your assignments in a neat and orderly fashion. So do me and yourself a favor and take care of yourself and if you have not eaten today, please eat something because sacrificing meals just so you can turn that paper in at exactly 11:59 pm will never be worth it.
10. Do not think you are too cool to study or do homework.
College is a very fun, new, and exciting experience to try new things and make new friends, but do not lose sight of why you are there. College is not all parties and socializing. You have to make an effort and spend time studying, doing homework, and take part in group projects. If you do not take the time to do the work, your grades will suffer and it will be very difficult for you to bounce back from. So if you are reading this thinking you are too cool to study or do homework, you are not.
For more tips and advice for how to carry yourself as you inch closer to the professional world, or personal branding strategies, check out the rest of Power Move Marketing's blogs.
Author: Cristen Mahoney