Freshman year can be nerve wracking just thinking about it. Experimental, but crucial. You learn a lot about yourself and who you are as a person. Finishing up my senior year in college, I look back to my freshman year and reflect on the changes I could have made, or the advice I wish I would have taken. From a senior’s perspective, I compiled a list of tips on how to make the most out of your freshman year:
#1 You don’t have to bring every little thing you own to college. Just bring the essentials. I made that mistake my third year in college. You’ll regret it once you get around to organizing your room, and realize you don’t have any room.
#2 Although it may be scary entering into uncharted waters, don’t be afraid to try new things, make new friends and step out of your comfort zone. Attend all campus events, there’s ought to be free food. And you’ll meet great people as well! Go check out the new events that are going on around campus, join an organization, or start volunteering––you’ll never know what you like until you try it.
#3 Get to know your roommate. Trust me, it’s much better having a roommate who’s also your friend than living in a hostile environment. You never know, this person may become one of your best friends, some of my lifelong friends were once my roommates.
#4 Build healthy eating habits. This will benefit you in the long run. Sure, it may be easy to just go down to the caf and pick out the comfort foods that your mother never let you eat, but when you realize that you gained the “Freshman 15”, you’ll regret not having implemented some sort of discipline in your eating habits.
#5 Exercise at least 30 minutes a few times a week. Not only will this help you make healthier eating options, it’ll also serve as a form to de-stress from all the papers you have to write.
#6 Establish a routine. Whether that is through making a weekly schedule, or setting up alarms to remind you when to wake you up, workout, and start on papers. You’ll be grateful for doing so, making it easy to go through the rest of your week. Once you have established a routine that enables you to manage your time wisely, it’ll allow room for discipline in your studies, workout routines, and sleeping schedule.
#7 Get organized! Buy a planner, calendar, whatever you need to organize your classes and work schedule (if you work). I have found it so much easier to be disciplined in my studies when I have written out my daily homework assignments, that way I don’t have to keep referring back to the syllabus. Writing out due dates on a calendar also helps you exercise your time management.
#8 Set deadlines. Even if you know a paper is due at the end of the semester, don’t leave it till last minute. Set weekly deadlines, breaking up the assignment piece by piece. That way you’ll be able to get a head start, and you won’t be so crammed the week it is due. It’s better to be ahead than to fall behind.
#9 Go to class. You will be grateful when you attend class in the long run. Professors give out great information, especially when a lot of students are missing class. Sure, there may be days where you don’t even want to get out of bed, but do it. My first semester in college, I never went to class, and my GPA reflected just that. Remember, someone is paying for you to attend school, whether that’s you or your parents. Don’t let it go to waste.
#10 Use college discounts to your benefit, they add up. Companies such as Sam’s Club and Apple, offer special pricing for college students, so make sure to take advantage. You can always look up companies who offer discounts or special pricing for students, and if it’s not listed, don’t be afraid to ask. I once got a 15% discount on a manicure just because I asked!
#11 Make friends with everyone–the cooks, campus security, the cleaning crew. Not only is it courteous, but they’ll be able to give you the best advice on how to make the most out of campus accommodations.
#12 Get to know your professors. This will be one of your biggest advantages when you get sick around allergy season and can’t make it to class for that big midterm. Most professors will be understanding, just maintain constant communication with them. My first semester in college, one of my professors, invited our whole class out to lunch. Only a few of us actually went, but the few of us that did go, got to know our professor and got great advice on how to make the most out of the career we were studying.
#13 Get headphones. These will become your best friend during your study crash sessions in the library (and when you have a roommate who snores).
#14 Study, study, study any chance you get. The first semester in college really sets your pace for the rest of your college career. If you made a bad grade in one course, don’t beat yourself up, just make sure that you buckle down next time around to make the best grades possible.
#15 Don’t forget to call your parents. Yes, you may have three tests and a big paper due in one week, but they will appreciate you calling them. Let them know how you’re doing, and use this to establish a stronger relationship with your parents or grandparents.