As a sophomore in college (I guess I’m getting pretty old, huh??) I have some words of advice for those who are just now prepping for the journey into college or those who have started wandering their way through the first couple weeks of their very first semester. In this instance, I’ve already learned all of these tidbits I’m about to tell you FIRSTHAND, so I will be acting as the older and wiser sibling here! These are just a few of the many things I’ve learned along the way in college, and I hope that at least some incoming freshmen listen to my advice. (It will most likely enhance your college experience.)
Also, I promise you won’t know everything, and that’s okay!!! College is all about growing, learning, and developing as a person and student, so make the absolute best of it! I promise that these 15 facts will help navigate your journey from high school to college just a little bit smoother- I’ve already learned the lessons for you, all you have to do is keep reading! So read on for 15 things all incoming freshmen NEED to hear- whether they want to, or not!
1. Do NOT come into college with preconceived notions about how your journey will go.
Everybody’s college routes are different so don’t draw on what other people have done, or how you perceive college will be. I came in with high expectations and they were not met. This is not to say I was let down, just the opposite, actually! I didn’t, however, check off all of my expectations I had for college, but that’s okay! I’m thankful for the new experiences that I never dreamed of having in college. This is probably the most important fact I can relay to y’all. Take each opportunity as it presents itself, and don’t be let down by the process, it will all work out in the end.
2. Expand your network and do events or groups you might not have initially thought of joining.
I was so caught up in trying to obtain friends through certain clubs and organizations, I missed people who were trying to connect with me from my classes. Despite what some may think, you can still meet friends in classes, even those with 200+ students! I’m now lucky to be friends with a myriad of people from all different places and organizations. I joined an organization in late January and I met a lot of really great friends through it. Never dismiss people to quickly either, you never know who you’ll connect with and who you’ll miss.
3. Introduce yourself to as many people as possible!
Again, this goes back to my point of meeting as many people as possible to connect with. College is a whole new playing field in your social network, so take advantage of it. Introduce yourself to the person you sit next to every class. Introduce yourself to people at Open Houses. Introduce yourself to people from your college orientation. The list goes on. With so many people all trying to make it through the semester, you’ll need as many friends as you can get.
Don’t be afraid to expand your horizon or talk to people you normally wouldn’t. That’s the beauty of college! People are coming from all over the world to do the exact thing you are, which is to get an education. That’s pretty crazy, huh? That said, it is in your best interest to explore as many of these potential relationships as possible. You’re supposed to make your best friends in college, how are you supposed to do that holed up in your room all day? (Even if Netflix is tempting you!)
4. Sadly, your bank account will be just about drained throughout your freshman year.
Even if you think you know how to balance your money effectively (I definitely thought I did and yet I’m still in the exact same boat as every other college student) there are always places to go or groups to spend your money on. Whether it’s going out with friends to grab a quick dinner, or to get groceries so you aren’t forced to eat those end loafs of bread you have still left, your money will be dwindling.
If you decide to participate in a part time job, you might not be in this dire of a situation, but will still most likely be bouncing from paycheck to paycheck. With so many t-shirts to buy, and so many meals to be had, it’s actually not that strange at all when college kids decide to stop looking at their bank accounts. You too will be in this desperate situation, can’t wait for you to join the fun!
5. It is actually NOT impossible to get a 4.0 GPA your first year.
While this might be a common thought for freshman entering the realm, it is actually a fallacy. After my first semester, I was able to reel in a 4.0. Although that is exciting for those who care desperately about their grades, it came at a price. Ever heard of the college triangle? Well you must sacrifice one of those to obtain the other. In this instance, I sacrificed social aspects to make the grades. (If you’re not quite sure what the college triangle is, I’ll help you out in a second.) While I achieved success in my academic side of college, I lacked social qualities.
When it’s the weekend, and you are faced with the option to go out and celebrate with friends or stay in all weekend to study, that is when you determine your fate for the semester. In college, there are a lot of different types of students. Depending on what you’re willing to sacrifice or to pursue, this will determine the type of student you are. After your first semester, you might be able to juggle all of your responsibilities reasonably, but for the first semester, try to discover what type of student you want to be.
There are no “correct” or “preferred” types of students in college, so stay true to yourself and go down the path that best fits you. If that isn’t focusing on that 4.0, then so be it. If it is, be prepared to hit the books….hard. A 4.0 comes with blood, sweat, and tears, so be ready for the long haul. Good luck little fishies, swim your best.
6. There is a high probability that you will fail your first round of tests in college.
Speaking of grades….Yep. It’s true. I rarely failed tests in high school (if any!) yet once my first tests rolled around in college, I completely bombed them. Believe it or not, I did study. The problem is that little freshies come into the college ball field thinking that they have adapted well-practiced study habits, and that just isn’t the case.
I constantly made A’s in high school, so when I got back those barely passing, or failing grades, it gave me a RUDE awakening to how much effort college really entails. Luckily, with practice and developing new study habits, these horrible grades won’t weigh you down too much in the long run. I failed my first test and I still made a 4.0, so you can too!
7. April will be the absolute worst month in your college career.
I’m cringing as I’m simply writing the word “April.” This month may seem like good omens and happy rainbows, but I assure you it is not. April is the month that teachers become test addicted, students become walking zombies, and squirrels become nuts! You might end up with 3 tests on one day, a project due in that “blow off” class, and a myriad of events going on that you desperately want to attend.
You keep glancing at the calendar, hoping the month will zoom by so you can start studying for finals, and get the hell out of dodge. April in college is equivalent to when your Sim has all of its mood bars at red, and all he thinks about is food and sleep. That Sim is LITERALLY a mirror image of yourself during the treacherous month of April. Good luck!!!!
8. You will lose touch with your high school companions.
Did I read that right?!? You don’t know what you’re talking about, we are best!! friends!! Yes, I remember this all too well. Unfortunately, college is a completely different realm than high school was in which you got to see each other every day. Think of this friendship as a long distance relationship. It will take effort. It will be exhausting. You’re meeting so many new people, some of which will be so like you that you know you’re automatic friends. That’s okay! College is where you’re SUPPOSED to meet new people, and make new connections.
Think about it this way, your friend is having the exact same experience and making new friends just as you are. That’s okay! That’s kind of the point of college and spreading your wings. Unless you attend the same university, put in the same amount of effort on both ends of the relationship, or you’re only a small jump from your hometown, you guys will fall out of touch. Maybe not completely, but unfortunately you guys will fall out of sync with each other. But again, that’s okay!!! Be understanding of this transformation, and be supportive of each other leaving the nest and discovering themselves. College is where you discover who you truly are, and you’re not able to do that without experiencing the culture of college, even if it means making new friends and doing new things.
9. That college triangle thing actually exists.
What is this triangle?! This triangle is comprised of three needs that are to be maintained through an average college go-ers experience. Do most people meet these needs? Hell to the no. Unfortunately, most college students are lucky to obtain two of them, let alone three. This triangle consists of three objectives: sleep (a bare necessity if you ask me) social life (this is what I sacrificed the first semester) or good grades. Selecting which two to accomplish is the daunting task for incoming freshmen. By sophomore year, most college kids already know exactly which paths they want to pursue, and which choice they are willing to sacrifice.
They have acquired this knowledge through harsh and uninviting experience. Not to contradict myself in any way, but there are the small percentage of people who are able to do it all. They are the lucky ones. They are the chosen ones. Please don’t expect to be these people as they are a rare breed. Come in with an idea of how you are a student, and determine which of these needs you’re willing to sacrifice for the common good (of yourself, anyway). Take the time to identify your goals and aspirations of your college journey, and pick and choose to your heart’s content after that. PS, I’ll pray for you.
10. You will probably get sick.
I was the person that never got sick. During my first week in college, still bright-eyed and ready for adventure, I came down with Bronchitis. I attended classes until I became too much of a disruption for others trying to learn, instead of coughing their lungs up as I was. Oops. The good thing is that the university typically (God, I’m hoping they all do?? But I made this assumption in a worst case situation…) has a health office on campus that you can go to whenever you’re sick. Or sometimes not 😉 “Wow, that nausea came on suddenly, huh? Weird. Guess I should go to the doctor right before Bio.” Sounds about right as a desperate college kid. Anyway, the health office on campus will be able to effectively treat you, for free!!! Yes, the medication cost, but if you don’t require any then you’re getting to be diagnosed for free. Keep the germs contained so YOU can stop the next plague on your campus.
11. It might take a while before your college town feels like home.
I know college is a little (a lot!) scarier than you thought it was going to be. I have been there. Luckily, the town around you is able to supply you with food, shelter, and an amazing education. What is there not to love? It will eventually feel comfortable, just like your town back home. The local restaurants will sing sweet tunes, and the people around you feel familiar, like you have known them your whole life.
That’s when you know you’re home. This does not in any sense discredit your hometown. In college, all students are basically a living and breathing Hannah Montana, in which they get the best of both worlds. Your hometown is home, but yet, so is your new college town. What a weird thing college is. Enjoy your loving homes, the new and the old.
12. You’ll develop some new habits.
These habits could include literally anything. That’s the beauty of starting fresh. Maybe it’s compulsively washing your clothes, or maybe it’s developing new study skills. In my case, it was the persistent want to work out. I rarely worked out in my high school years, so what gives? For me, working out was a way to release the stress from college by pounding on some machines, or blazing through a cardio session. You’ll learn to love (or hate) these new habits, but either way you’re stuck with them. You’ve traveled too far into the rabbit hole, friends.
13. Don’t be afraid to experience new adventures or try new things!
Welp. This is very clichéd, but oh so very true as well. Blugh, but true. If you’ve never been out with friends, try that this semester. If you’ve never wanted to eat hearty meals at 3am, then try it. (Seriously, please eat a very late midnight snack, it’s a part of the pure college experience!!)
College opens up so many doors and possibilities, don’t be hesitant or some of this opportunities will blow by. Did you not attend that freshman camp? Try out to be a counselor! Missed that football game? Go the soccer game. Don’t let the numerous available adventures waiting to be had walk out of the door. Carpe Diem my little young ones!! Don’t let the fear of college slow you down, it will all work out.
14. You’ll learn to love the local everything!
Every college town has a certain je ne sais quoi about it, that’s why you choose that particular college, right? Go out and love those local stores. They are calling to you. Whether it’s the oldest food joint in the books, or if it’s a newly open exclusive local shop, just for you! (And anywhere from 2,000-65,000 students that is…)
Enjoy the local food because when you venture to your hometown for holidays, you’ll be dreaming of that delicious fried avocado taco or that creamy ooey gooey macaroni. Mmmmm. Or when you can’t find anything to wear back home, but guess what! That local store back in your college town just got in stock a plethora of shoes in that color AND that size. Wow. What a magical realm us college kids live in. Thank God for my two homes. You’ll thank him later, too.
15. Utilize the resources given to you as a student!
Contrary to popular belief, the advisers do know what they are talking about, the teachers are NOT out to get you, and the college resources given to you in that pamphlet you have somewhere (was it in that drawer? Hmmm. Oh yeah I used it to wipe up my spilled ramen..) WILL actually be beneficial to you as a student and as a future worker in the career world. The writing center has amazing tidbits to know about that grammar stuff you forgot about.
Going to the professor’s office hours DO make you a better student and allow you to get a better understanding of their material! Those college hosted events DO help you make connections for the career world and in college in general. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of those resources provided to you. Pretty soon in the adult world, you won’t have people helping you every step of the way. Take advantage of it. Be an adult baby, we are all still learning!!!
*Bonus* Thing All Incoming Freshmen Need To Hear: ENJOY YOURSELF.
My biggest advice to you all, if you’ve made it this far (probably huffing and puffing at this point) is to enjoy every second of your freshman year. It will be over in an instant, and you’ll be passing this knowledge on to the next wave of freshman. Please take my advice (I strongly advise this as I willingly failed on several attempts during these occasions I’m informing you about. Don’t be like me. Learn from my mistakes (you’re welcome). Have a miserably tiring yet rewarding first year little ones!!!
What are some other things all incoming freshmen need to hear? Comment below and share this article with friends!
Featured image source: narcity.com, my-little-studyblr.tumblr.com
Haley is an average, stressed-out college student who plans to major in Public Relations. Haley speaks both English and cat. She enjoys long walks to the fridge and is avidly obsessed with too many T.V. shows. To name a few of her favorites, there is The Office, Supernatural, Dance Moms, and Friends. She loves blogging about too many things and hopes to in the future get paid to be on social media all day.