1. Go to class.
Do not waste the money that is assisting you to attend school – this could be one of the most important things college freshmen need to know. There might be some days where you do not feel like going to class (I get it) but you should go unless there is a reasonable issue, such as your physical or mental health is suffering. Everyone has personal things going on, but your education is also important, so don’t get off track in your classes – do not let temptation win.
2. Do not buy your books before you start classes.
You can even wait until the second week of school to see if you actually need the book. If you know you are not going to actually use the books, save your money. Sometimes the books that are “recommended” are never used. You can also save so much money by googling “cheap text books” instead of going to the school store. If you cannot afford your books, try to borrow from a classmate or see if they are in the library. You can also sell your books at the end of the semester online to get some of your money back.
3. Make sure you do your research on the classes you have signed up to take.
Freshmen need to know and become very familiar with the website: ratemyprofessor.com. Ask other people if they’ve heard of said professor or the class you are registered to take, and get their opinion on the class. You can also ask other students on any social media site. They will normally help you by saying “easy A,” “great professor, you learn a lot,” or “STAY AWAY.” You should definitely keep an eye open for the “STAY AWAY” professors, but ultimately it is your decision.
4. Make an appointment with your advisor.
You should do this at least once or twice every semester to make sure you are on track to graduate. Always check to see if you are taking the right classes needed to get your degree. There might be classes that you are not aware about that you need to take, which all college freshmen need to know ASAP – instead of last semester, senior year, right before graduation. Take classes that are required instead of just randomly choosing classes, but also take classes that peak certain interests because you might discover your future career goal.
5. Talk with your professor(s).
It is a good idea to talk to your professors, whether or not you are doing well in the class. You can simply just communicate with them about the upcoming assignments in the class. You can get to know them. They can get to know you. You can get to know the skills needed in order to succeed in the class. If they become one of your favorite professors, they can write you a letter of recommendation, if needed.
6. If you’re going to have a roommate, be considerate.
College freshmen need to know how to be considerate…you’re no longer living at home with mom and dad. Do not play loud music if you see that your roommate is doing homework. If you see that your roommate is sleeping, do not barge into the room and turn on multiple lights. Come to a mutual agreement with one another about sleep patterns and cleaning routines. It is important to feel comfortable around your roommate because you guys will be living with one another for a semester or two. If you and your roommate(s) have a problem, calmly and nicely try to resolve it first before you bring any other parties involved. If this is not possible, contact your RA. You are in college now. It is most important to be an adult about the situation. This can be a good first experience to realize whether or not roommate(s) are for you.
7. If you are going to be living in a dorm, get to know your RA.
Well, at least know his or her name. She or he might be a lifesaver whenever you want to talk to someone. Interact with people on your floor, the floor above, or the floor below. It is possible that you will most likely see them again in one of your classes. You do not have to be friendly to everyone, but be open to learning new things. It is also fun to go to some events your building is having to get a break from studying or just watching TV. Residential events might sound “lame” to some, but the majority of them are actually really fun!
8. Find a school club you find interesting and go to a meeting.
You do not want it to almost be graduation time, while you are wishing you could have checked out a club. Explore. Look online to find clubs if you do not come across them in the beginning. If you do not like the first one, try another. You might not enjoy them, but at least you can say you went. You might also find a talent you were not aware of.
9. Volunteer. Get an internship. Find an on (or off) campus job.
No one desires to do things for free, but the experience is great for your mind to grow and for your resume to expand. This is the perfect time for you to explore occupations to see if what you want to do is actually want you want to do. Or, if you are not sure what you would like to do in the future, this will either help you figure it out or show you what you definitely do not want to do.
10. Stay on campus.
As much as you might want to go home because you miss the people you left, do not make this a reoccurring thing. Stay at school and find something fun to do to take your mind off whatever is making you want to run home. Have the people you miss visit you, if they can. Once the chance to go home is over, you might feel better about the fact that you did not “run home” just because of how you feel in a certain moment.
11. Save your money.
If you are getting a biweekly paycheck, save at least half of it. You will be grateful that you did this once you see all the money add up. If you have the option to eat out or cook something, stay in and cook something. Even if you do not know how to cook, choose to cook and this will give you practice. Practice more and more in order to perfect the craft. This will also save you money on your tuition bill because you will not need a meal plan.
You might not enjoy exercising, but this is a great time to gain a new hobby. You can either exercise inside of your room or in the gym. If you absolutely do not want to exercise, at least eat something healthy for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Self-love is all it is about. Also, all college freshmen need to know that the curse of the “freshman 15” is a REAL thing.
13. Become organized.
It is significant to gain the skill of organization. Shred all of the habits of procrastinating when it comes to doing your school work. It will add unnecessary stress to your schedule. A great tip that all college freshmen need to know is that it is best to be ahead of the schedule instead of being behind. Use colored markers or post-it notes in order to keep track of all of your classes. Buy a planner if this will help with your organization.
14. Explore the city you are in.
It is always rewarding to learn a new city. Look up new restaurants or new hangout places. Get out of your “typical” food bubble. You might acquire new taste buds that you did not know you had. You might also find new places to go on the weekends in order to enjoy yourself. Find new places constantly instead of being stuck in your same habits, unless you really are entertained by them. However, remember to always do this safely and be responsible.
15. Study as hard as you party.
Make sure you choose to study for a quiz, midterm, or final before or instead of you going out on a weekday. It is important to maintain your good grades, but it is also important to get out of the house some time. Freshmen need to know that a possible balance that can be found, however, this might not be the easiest thing to do. You will learn. Don’t let this overwhelm you.
16. College freshmen need to know that it is OKAY to not know anyone.
This might be a scary thing, but you will be fine. That is the bittersweet part of college. You won’t know much, but you can start over. You can learn new things about yourself that you never knew. You can leave bad friends behind and hopefully find new ones. You can create new memories either with new people or by yourself. Don’t let the fact that you have no one to do things with right away hold you back from engaging in a new or old activity.
17. Never forget that it is okay to have some alone time.
Enjoy solitude. Do not be frightened by it. Embrace it. It is good to recharge by yourself in order to stay healthy, mentally. It is not always best to be around people 24/7 because you could potentially create a sort of need for you to always be around a crowd. Take yourself out on a date. Take yourself out to the movies. Take yourself out for some ice cream. Appreciate the company of yourself.
18. Speaking of crowds; do not be intimidated by them.
If you get anxiety because of them, practice to fight through this at least every week. You are your own person. You are not competing with others. As much as you think others are staring at you, chances are they probably aren’t! And even if they are, take this as a chance to introduce yourself…because, why not?! College is all about meeting new people while getting to know yourself!
19. College is about creating yourself.
People often say “they want to find themselves” but why not create yourself instead of searching for someone you are not sure of where to find. You can find out all the things you are interested in, if you allow yourself to. If you enjoy photography, take a photography class. If you enjoy yoga, join a yoga class. That is the beauty of having a variety of options for classes. Even if you are not sure if you like something, enroll in it just to give it a shot. It is most important to find out things you love so you can continue to do them than surrounding yourself by what you hate.
20. Last but not least, all college freshmen need to know that the most important part of college is to enjoy it!
You will never be a freshman in undergrad again. It is your time to have fun and accept everything that life has to offer you. Be open to every new invitation to hang out, but remember to not wear yourself out. It is normal o be overwhelmed, but also remember to not let it get the best of you. There will always be brighter days. If you need someone to talk to, there are resources on campus that you have access to. Take advantage of them.