Moving away from home & going to college is one of the most exciting, yet scary times in life. I know because I did it myself not too long ago.
My brother is going away for college soon & there are so many things I want to tell him! I feel like there is so much he needs to know, but I’ve realized you kinda have to learn as you go. But I’m going to do my best & share 23 Things I learned in college to help him & all other soon-to-be-freshman.
1.) Wear comfortable shoes for move-in day.
I made the rookie mistake of wearing Keds & trying to look cute. This is the only time I will tell you to put comfort before style… Try pairing a t-shirt dress with sneakers.
2.) Go to Welcome Week activities & get all the free t-shirts you can.
Anything for a free shirt! But really, getting involved is so important & can help you feel less homesick. And who knows, you just might meet your bff at a club meeting…
3.) Make your dorm room feel like home.
I was so tempted to throw all my bathroom stuff in a bag & act like I was living in a hotel for 9 months. But I didn’t, & my roommate & I were able to make our room look cute & be comfy. Feeling at home is so important.
4.) Don’t buy your books before class.
Trust me, it’s more stressful to wait in line for a return & keep track of receipts than it is to wait for your professors to tell you what you really need.
5.) Meet with your counselor before every semester to plan out your schedule & make sure you’re on track.
Some schools require it; I recommend it. You don’t want to get to second semester senior year & be told you’re behind.
6.) Make at least one friend in every class & get their contact info.
It’ll be 10 p.m. 2 hours before something is due, & you’ll have no idea what you’re doing. That’s when you phone a friend.
7.) Study with your friends.
It makes it more enjoyable & you have built in tutors.
8.) Form study groups.
To go along with #7, it is so helpful to have people to study with & count on for study guide answers!
9.) Balance out hard & easy classes.
Don’t overestimate what you’re capable of. College school work is not like high school school work. Do not over commit!!
10.) Get to know your professors.
They are actually pretty cool people & it can’t hurt to be on their good side!
11.) Take advantage of the “free” gym & any classes that are offered.
Technically, the gym cost is included in tuition, but I took yoga classes & I’m basically an official yogi now so Namaste.
12.) Be positive.
A bad grade might seem like the end of the world, but it’s not. Trust me. Grades do not define you. Or your intelligence. You’re gonna be okay.
13.) Make time for dining hall dinners… or breakfasts… whatever you have time for (!!) with your friends.
Because a good venting session can really help on stressful days.
14.) Don’t buy Starbucks every day with your dining dollars because you will run out.
Hahaha…um, I may or may not be speaking from experience here…
15.) Download Lyft & Uber.
You’ll need both.
16.) Go out.
You won’t remember the nights spent alone in your room with Netflix. You’ll remember the nights you went to French Fry Heaven & the cashier yelled at you when you asked if the bbq fries were spicy & your friend puked in the bushes. (True story.)
17.) Go to football games & sit in the student section.
Football games are the best!! And you will feel so much school pride being squished with 1,000 other sweaty, screaming individuals who also love *insert school name here.
18.) Do. Not. Procrastinate.
But balance out all that going out with studying. You do not have as much time as you think you have.
19.) Your mom is still only a phone call away.
She wants you to call her.
20.) Make time for yourself.
It’s so easy to get caught up with clubs, deadlines, dates, friends, football games & so much more that you’ll forget to take time for yourself. But alone time is so crucial for staying happy & successful.
21.) It’s okay to miss your past.
It’s okay to miss your hometown, your family & friends. It’s okay to admit that. But know that you’ll get to make new memories in college too.
22.) Do it all for you.
Have your end goal in mind with everything you do & every decision you make. Now is the time to do that one thing you were gonna do that one time before you got afraid & didn’t. Go do it. And don’t let others opinions or agendas get in the way. Do it for you honey.
23.) Have fun.
Through it all, remember that college is only 4 short years of your life. If you are fortunate enough to go to school & study something you love, explore a new place & meet new people, do it. Do it all & don’t be afraid to fail, because sometimes you learn the most when you make mistakes. Soon you’ll be a full-on adult wishing you hadn’t worried about your chem test & missed that pool party.
All throughout my freshman year, I made a list of “things I wish someone had told me before I came to college” in the notes section of my phone, so I could share it with y’all. I tried really hard to come up with real advice, & write about experiences that I came across when I was wishing I had someone to help me. My college friends helped me create this list too, & we’ve all been though the same things. So take this advice or don’t take this advice, but let me just tell you, you are in for one helluva ride…
P.S. Special thanks to all the people who contributed to this post. You just helped a freshman in need.