There are thousands of these all over the internet, okay I don’t know if thousands, but a lot and I have read a lot of them to make sure I didn’t copy any exactly. However, I will say that if I think it is important enough I did repeat it. Anyways, without further ado, here are 11 things I wish I knew as a college freshman.
- Use your resources: I am not kidding. This is important. Nearly every campus will have a tutoring center, writing center, math center, health center, career center, and about a dozen more centers. USE THEM! PS If your school is anything like mine the health center is way cheaper to get prescriptions from than your local Walgreens if you are sick. And the health center will likely include mental health if that is something you need.
- It is OK to change majors: It doesn’t mean you have wasted your time or that you are indecisive. It is better to do it now than the semester before you are supposed to graduate or even before you hit the workforce. College is for you and that means making decisions that are best for you.
- Rent your textbooks: There is a lot to be said about textbooks: don’t get them before you have sat through your first class (unless your professor says otherwise), don’t get them from your campus bookstore (unless they price match), and finally rent, rent, rent. If you rent your textbook and throughout the semester it is life changing or you think you will use it in your career, then you can buy it at the end of the semester, but most likely you won’t care to look at the thing ever again.
- Go to class: Almost every article out there says this, so it must be important. This isn’t to say you can’t skip a class every now and then, but going to class is the best way to learn what you need to know. Sit your tush down, look at the professor, and learn. College is expensive and every class is worth a good bit of money, don’t waste it! If it motivates you sit down with your phone calculator and take the total of your tuition and divide it by the number of classes you are taking: that is how much you are paying for one class the whole semester. You can keep doing math to figure out how much a single class costs but I figured it out based on my tuition and it is somewhere around $40 per single class. I could buy a new pair of Jack Rogers by saving money from a single week of skipped classes and my school isn’t even that expensive in comparison to many. Bottom line: GO TO CLASS!!
- Going to Office Hours does not make you stupid: My first year of college I refused to go to office hours because I thought that my professor would think I wasn’t paying attention or that I was too dumb to be in his/her class. That is not the case at all. Most professors will care and are eager to help you understand. Your success is just as important to them as it is to you. SIDE NOTE: If you don’t know what office hours are, it is basically tutoring with your professor.
- You don’t have to be Greek to be involved: I am sure Greek life is great, heck, I wanted to be Greek when I started college (that’s a story for another time) but you don’t have to be Greek to make friends and get involved. In fact, you don’t have to be in a campus organization to make friends and get involved, community organizations are cool too. If you don’t want to be in an organization, you can meet people at different events that are happening around campus.
- Go to sporting events: Yes, even if your school sucks. At some schools students get in free and at others student tickets are way discounted. Don’t waste that opportunity. At the very least go to the biggest game (rivalry, homecoming, etc.) and sit in the student section. It is a great way to make friends, I know from experience.
- Freshman 15 is real thing: Do to stress, eating on the go, and finding a new routine life can catch up and so can the Freshman 15. If you are worried about it at all, try eating healthy or exercising or both. But either way whatever happens, you are beautiful and the size of your waist does not define who you are. You are wonderful and perfect.
- Student Discounts are everywhere: Asking about a student discount at your favorite restaurant is not annoying, it takes 10 seconds and who knows you could save a couple bucks, which is totally helpful in the long run. Two bucks is two bucks.
- On-campus jobs are a great way to go: Want to make some money but don’t want to sacrifice your grades or get way too stressed? Find an on-campus job. Since the job is on campus they likely will have you doing small tasks and you might even find some time to study while you are on the clock. Heck, I am writing this blog post while I am on the clock. They also are usually only open between 8-5 and M-F, so you get your weekends and your evenings.
- Listen to your mom: You know, “don’t drink the kool-aid” “don’t go to parties alone” “don’t walk on campus alone in the middle of the night.” Those all matter and they could save you from a lot of bad things that people don’t like to talk about. Seriously, listen to her.
- Don’t wear workout clothes every day: I know what you’re thinking, that every where you look online everyone only wears workout clothes. That is a myth. Sure, a lot of people do, but not all the time. In all honesty your professor would also appreciate it if you didn’t look like you just rolled out of bed to come to his/her class. Throw on a pair of jeans and a simple tee, there you go.. easy outfit.
- People don’t care as much as you do: Whether we are talking about partying v. not partying, what you look like, eating in class, or literally anything else that you are over thinking, nobody cares as much as you do. If you want to wear sweat pants to the first day of class, go for it (except that it’s still pretty hot in most places). If you need to eat your breakfast in class because you are running late, do it.
- It is okay to be late if it means eating: I can’t tell you how many times I have been late to my 8:55 class because I needed to make/eat breakfast. I don’t do it all the time because as a future teacher I know how annoying that would be, but if it happens, so be it. Also that doesn’t mean you should ever be 30 minutes late to a 50 minute class, that’s just a waste. Eating breakfast really helps you stay focused on the material and not on your growling stomach so if you need to sacrifice 5 minutes of lecture time to pop a bagel in the toaster every now and again, then that is what you gotta do.
Overall, college doesn’t suck and it won’t suck as long as you make sure that you are doing things that are going to benefit you, your future, and your education. Not caring what other people think about you or what they tell you to do/be is going to benefit your person even if it “ruins” your reputation. Be yourself, work hard and you will be fine.