First and foremost, congratulations on picking a university to attend! You made a great choice. I don’t mean to brag, but K-State Wildcats are truly the best. We have easy access to the diverse town of Aggieville, a winning football team, and an inspiringly accomplished community on campus. Just picking KSU was your first step towards collegiate success. Now is the time to begin preparing for your independent journey as a brand new Wildcat. Read on for 20 tips that are invaluable to every incoming KSU freshman. Go Cats!
Before you arrive…
1. Make a freshman year bucket list.
College comes with expectations, whether it be parties, extracurriculars, university prestige, experiences you will undergo, etc. While some of your expectations may not be met (logistically there is only one Saturday night in a week, folks), that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have standards. We all have goals we want to accomplish and things we want to experience our first year of college, so prepare for these by making a bucket list. Write your goals down, make an inspiration board, or use another form of documentation. This is the only time you will ever be a college freshman…so make it count!
2. Talk to your roommate.
Whether they end up being your best friend or still practically a stranger, your roommate will be a person you see frequently. You might as well start communicating before you arrive at the dorms, so that any initial awkwardness can be avoided. By having the basic knowledge of your roommate, you will feel better about your living situation when you first move into your dorm. Understanding a little bit about the person you will be living with will help make your move-in process and dorm life much more comfortable for the both of you. Your roommate doesn’t have to be your perfect match, but it’s helpful if they can be a pillar of support for you if you need it.
3. Buy a planner.
My planner is my life line. It literally holds my life in its spirals throughout the school year. You will save yourself so much time and frustration by buying one of these before arriving at KSU. Keep on top of your schedule by consulting with your syllabus/professors on when assignments are due, events are happening, work shifts are, etc. Everyone organizes differently, but I prefer using different colored pens to write down the different categories of tasks I need to accomplish: red for workouts, orange for work, pink for social events, and lots of different colors for my different classes.
4. Treat your room as an oasis.
You’ll spend time sleeping, studying, and surviving there. Make it personal; it’s your home away from home, and you don’t want it to look like a prison all year. Hang up posters or an inspiration board, pick a color scheme, and have fun with it! If you want to coordinate with your roommate that’s great, but don’t be afraid to do your own thing.
When you first get to KSU…
5. Participate in the Week of Welcome.
The Week of Welcome is a week-long event geared towards every KSU student the opportunities, events, and resources they need to be successful in the upcoming year. Take advantage of it! There will be lots of events happening around campus from August 20th to August 26th. So get your pink pens ready, and write down the events you think you might be interested in. I’ll see you there!
For a list of events and their descriptions, check out this link.
6. Get a job.
If you are at all concerned about money when you arrive on campus, look for a job. In fact, the Week of Welcome offers a Part Time Opportunities Fair from 10am-3pm on Thursday August 25th as part of the Week of Welcome. It is better to be safe than sorry. As a college student, it can never hurt to have an extra source of income!
As you work on personal growth…
7. Start getting serious about your health.
Guess what? As part of your tuition, you get a free membership to the Chester A. Peters Recreation Complex! Tip- bring your Wildcat ID to verify your student identity. And boy are we lucky as a student population to have access to such a well-equipped gym (staffed with fit, funny, and genuine instructors that also happen to be KSU students). I recommend doing High Intensity Interval Training if you want serious results. But don’t worry if that’s not your thing. There are so many group fitness classes and machines for individual use, you’ll have a hard time choosing what to do!
8. Learn and discover yourself.
I will be a KSU sophomore this upcoming year, so I started off my journey of self-discovery a year ago. Although I have made tremendous progress, I am nowhere near complete. Being in college will challenge you both inside and outside the classroom. Throughout the rest of my four years, I want to continue working on my spirituality, service, and spontaneity. Slowly but surely, I am working on those three things, and I am so excited to continue the growth that began last August. Don’t be afraid of the person reflected in the mirror; meet them, know them, and love them as only you can.
9. Push yourself outside your comfort zone.
Personally, I’m not the partying type, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t experienced the Aggieville nightlife. I have danced at Dirty Dawgs, experienced the one and only Tubby’s, gone to the $2 movies at the Union, eaten at the Varsity truck, and done so much more. College offers you an abundant amount of opportunities that will challenge you, but in the end you will very rarely regret them. Add a few more firsts to your life’s memories!
10. Don’t lose your roots.
Now, with all this said about trying new things, don’t forget where you came from. Don’t forget the people who raised, taught, and loved you throughout your life. They gave you the tools to live your best life, and helped you discover the foundation of the person you are today. You may be growing and changing throughout these four years, but a fundamental fact about you that will never change is where you came from.
As you set career goals…
11. Get serious about what you want during and after college.
I’m not saying you need to know every detail about what is to become of your life. However, there is no harm in making a rough sketch of what you would like to accomplish throughout your four years in Manhattan and beyond. These can range from getting an internship at a recognizable establishment, studying abroad in a cultural capital of the world, or going sky diving with the K-State sky diving club (something I’m totally doing before I graduate). Along with your freshman year bucket list, start thinking about what accomplishments you want by the time your walking across the graduation stage.
12. Start networking.
Within your major, there will be events showcasing some kind of research or presentation throughout the year. Make sure to go to these events because professors of your college, esteemed alumni, and potential employers will all attend these kind of things. Dress to impress, get your name and face out there, make a good impression, and take on the world. It’s yours for the making, kid.
13. STUDY DAMMIT.
This one practically shouts for itself. Figure out how and where works for you, and study, Study, STUDY.
Regarding the social scene…
14. Get involved in your residence hall’s community.
I cannot stress this one enough. One of my favorite things about freshmen year was my residence hall’s community. I loved my Resident Assistants (RAs), fellow floormates, and the brand new living experience in general. Living on campus was a good way to make the transition from living with my Mom to living away from her. There are plenty of fellow freshmen and other young adults around you trying to figure it out just like you, so that will make the whole adulting thing easier. Whether you are shy or the life of the party, get out there and socialize with the people you will be living with your freshmen year.
15. Talk to international students.
Study abroad students are called internationals at K-State. They. Are. Life. From hot Australians to a perpetually drunk Englishman to the wisest of Belgians to a sassy German, I have had so many good times with international students. The international students opened up my eyes to a world further than my own backyard. I have always wanted to travel, and the international students brought that dream to the forefront of my mind. They gave me the focus, inspiration, and hunger for the unknown cultures and people the world has to offer. Whether you want to go overseas or not, the international students make for good conversationalists and partners in crime. Get to communicating!
16. Don’t be afraid to date.
We’re young and the most attractive we will ever be, so let’s get together/Yeah, yeah, yeah…That’s a song right? Well even if it isn’t, college is a good place to meet a bunch of people your own age (a perfect avenue for dating). Don’t feel pressure to find your future spouse, just enjoy your youth and potentially free dinners (sorry boys).
To keep your stress in check…
17. Make playlists for all of your moods.
Music is a detox in college. There are times where assignments, expenses, and surrounding fools (yes they are enrolled alongside you) will try to get you down. A way to avoid letting your spirits be tampered is with music. Songs I can always listen to are My Shot from Hamilton, Wake Me Up by Wham, Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You (shut up), and all of Hozier’s songs. Find your jams, and listen to them on repeat to avoid potential meltdowns.
18. Have a Netflix show that you love.
When times get tough in college, the tough get going to their Netflix. Studying, homework, and socializing are VERY important components to any college experience, but there are times where you will need to chill and Netflix. (I switched up the wording so there would be no mistaking the meaning. Genius, I know). Shows I recommend: Jessica Jones, New Girl, Parks and Rec, and Scandal for starters.
19. Make a weekend trip home every once in a while.
Sometimes removing yourself from the stress of college and going to see your beautiful family is the reset button your life needs. Don’t think it’s childish to take a weekend for yourself to see your family; even newly found adults need some loving, too. Give your mama a kiss from me!
And the most important tip…
20. Stay positive.
Remember: you are a strong, smart, and sensible person (you did choose to go to college after all). You are both the protagonist and the author of your life’s story. The words, the plot, the characters, and the themes throughout its pages exist for you to mold into a masterpiece of your own definition. Certain emotions like fear, uncertainty, and confusion will try to plague you throughout this upcoming year, but know you are more than those mortal emotions. You are equipped to handle the future because you were tasked with handling your past, and you did just that. I wish you so much happiness in this first chapter of the rest of your life. Now… get to living as a KSU freshman!