The thought of college is pretty terrifying; leaving everything that is known and being fully independent for the first time. No parents, no rules, no schedules. As my parent’s first child to go to college, the advice that they could give me was pretty outdated. However, maybe I can help you out. Here are a list of 13 things I wish I knew my freshman year at Virginia Tech!
*This article is specifically geared to Virginia Tech but really this advice can be used at any college!
1. If you think that taking a class before 10 AM is a good idea, you are wrong.
Virginia Tech is a hard school and you will have work- lots of it. That being said, it will be pretty hard to go to bed before 12AM. You WILL need sleep. Also, it’s likely that you will need to walk to your classes, most of which will be across the drillfield. Speaking from experience, no one want to walk upwards of half a mile at 8AM. (ESPECIALLY WITH BLACKSBURG’S UNPREDICTABLE WEATHER!!!)
2. Ration your money.
Dude- who knew books are like $800?! Between costs like eating at Chipotle, going downtown, and paying for Ubers to Oak Lane or to friend’s apartments, your summer money can be spent pretty quickly.
3. GO TO CLASS!
In big freshman lecture halls especially, some professors have a no attendance policy. This makes skipping class very tempting. However, class material is much more difficult to understand when you are not present. Some professors even like to throw questions in exams that were only explained in class…
4. Get involved on campus.
Go to clubs and try them out. Rush a sorority/ frat. You never know if you will like something until you try it out. At VT, we have clubs that range from Quidditch to swimming to Disney princess clubs. There is something for everyone.
5. College dorms are smaller than you’d think – you can’t bring your whole life with you.
While some get lucky and live in dorms such as the Ambler Johnstons or New Res Hall, for the most part college dorms are pretty small and old. Don’t go overboard, bring clothes that you actually wear and stuff you actually use.
6. Be respectful of your roommate, you guys are sharing a room.
Many people at VT meet their roommate on Facebook or at orientation! It’s important to find someone you like and establish boundaries early. Luckily my roommate and I are friends, but for many, this isn’t the case.
7. Use Rate My Professor.
Ratemyprofessor.com is an awesome website where former students rate professors based on qualities such as easiness, clarity, and helpfulness. This will help you avoid professors that will destroy your GPA. This semester, it helped me avoid a geology class that is not “rocks for jocks.”
8. Finals are a huge part of your grade and they encompass everything you’ve done over the semester.
Make sure you do know what you’re doing and take good notes throughout the course of the class. Virginia Tech is a large university and it’s easy to get distracted in class. Stay on your A-game.
9. You will make some of your best friends in college.
For the most part, everyone at Virginia Tech is very kind and helpful. Take advantage of that- meet new people and be sociable. People you meet in college will become your friends and good contacts in the future.
10. It’s always 5 o’clock somewhere…
Go out. Have fun. Just don’t be stupid.
11. Don’t be afraid to get off-campus and explore.
Blacksburg was just rated the best southern college town. We have eateries, shops, movie theaters, and bars that give students a break from being on campus all the time.
12. Ditch the high school gear.
Loving your hometown is great, but you will be moving to a new community- embrace it and get some Hokie gear. That being said, please do not wear your new bright orange lanyard and Hokie Passport around your neck.
13. Remember to eat right.
It’s pretty easy to gain the freshman 15. Virginia Tech has amazing food. Mom isn’t there to yell at you when you fill your plate with junk food…You don’t have as much time to go to the gym… The empty calories in alcohol. However, Virginia Tech is the fittest campus and we walk a lot so it shouldn’t be too hard to keep weight off.