As a recent college grad, I know what being a freshman is like and I know how nerve wrecking and confusing a time it may be for many. While I’ve graduated now, there are quite a few things that I wish someone had told me before I moved away and started school. Even if I hadn’t known before school many of these things I wish I had figured out earlier in my college career.
So for college freshman and current students, here are 10 things:
1. Enjoy College Life
This is at the top of the list because it should be stressed more than anything. Get involved on campus, meet people, explore different cultures, ideas and ways of life. You’re only an undergrad once!
2. Balance Social and Academic Life
As a freshman, the temptation to go out and ditch school is undeniable, sometimes it’s ok but don’t let your grades slip. You’ll be making up for it the rest of your college career if you do.
3. Organization and Time Management
You’ll have about 5-6 classes with completely different course loads. Get a planner at the beginning of the semester, use your syllabi to put in place all your tests and major assignments. Don’t let things sneak up on you, plan around them.
4. Talk to professors
While brown nosing is often frowned upon, for me it was the best way to get ahead. If professors know your face and you at least participate in class they’re more likely to up your grade at the end of the semester, citing “good participation”.
5. 20% don’t graduate on time
4 years of college is a myth for most college students, don’t be in a rush to get out. Figure out what you want to do and what you love and never look back. On the contrary, don’t stay just because it’s a waste of thousands of dollars.
6. Study Abroad
You’ll only be 18 or 20 something with no ties once. Many schools offer amazing opportunities to see the world and learn something new. Travel to Nepal or Singapore and gain credit. It’s like a vacation most of the time with a paper at the end.
7. Free Money Abound
You can get out of school with barely any debt if you use your resources. Government financial aid is getting slim, BUT SCHOLARSHIPS ARE NOT. You can get tons of free money if you just ask around and do a little research. Seriously, you can get a scholarship just for having asthma!
8. Buy your books on the net
My first semester I spent $600 on books! That’s crazy when you think of the tons of website that offer the same books used at a fraction of the price. Order your books online, most schools are ripping you off.
9. Pressure on Picking a Major
- Most schools don’t require you to declare a major till the end of your sophomore year.
- If you can’t decide on one do two- a double major is common and allows you to explore different things.
- Your major doesn’t decide the rest of your life. You can be a doctor or a lawyer without being pre-med or pre-law.
10. Networking is Key
Nothing could be more true than “It’s not what you know, it’s WHO you know”. There are thousands of students and faculty on campus. Get to know the people around you they can help you in the future. Being a hermit may get you gold cords at graduation but you can’t take them with you on an interview.
I’m sure college will be an interesting and live changing time. If not you’ve done it all wrong! Remember to just enjoy college life and take it all in. It’s only 4 years (5 for some) and it will be over before you know it.
Some other quick tidbits:
- Free is your best friend next to sale.
- Being a big little kid is acceptable sometimes
- If you were smart in high school… NOBODY CARES!
- You will probably party the night before a final and live to regret it.
- You can know everything and still fail a test.
- You can know nothing and ace a test
- Homesickness does not last forever, don’t go home every weekend freshman year.
- The most of your education will be learned outside of class.