College Life

20 Tips To Survive Your First Year Of College

Entering into the college world completely blind can be very frightening to a freshman. Goodbye high school: hello real life responsibilities. Things can quickly become overwhelming! But don’t worry, below are 20 tips that are sure to make your first year of college just a little bit easier.

1. Stay connected with your friends and family at home.

Once you’re settled into your tiny dorm room which you’ve tried to make as “homey” as possible, your life back at home can fade into the back of your mind. This is the first time you’ve been away from home; don’t be afraid to call mom and dad, and check in with your friends.


2. Don’t skip out on orientation.

Freshman orientation is VERY important despite it dragging on forever and making you want to bang your head against a wall by the time it’s over. Yes, a lot of information gets thrown at you all at once, and there’s no way you’ll remember everything, but what you do retain will help you in the long run!


3. Get organized.

It’ll be pretty bad if you’re so disorganized that you lose something important for that one class that you may not be doing so well in.

“Oh, sorry. I don’t have my research paper. It…um…could really be anywhere in my dorm room right now.”


4. Get involved (at least) one way on campus.

Becoming a part of a club, organization, sorority, fraternity, or athletic team gives you the chance to meet new people and potentially make close friends.


5. Use your time wisely.

As a freshman, it takes time to get settled and figure out the college life. You finally have the freedom you’ve always wanted while living at home. It’s important to remember not to abuse the freedom though, and spend equal time on both your academics and your social life.


6. Be your own person.

Unlike high school, where you’ve gone to school for years with the same people, college is different. The people on campus know nothing about you. Being yourself will get you way farther socially than trying to put on a fake persona of being someone you’re not. The best way to survive your first year of college? BE YOURSELF.

7. Ask questions.

You’re in a new place with new people. If you’re unsure or confused about anything, don’t be afraid to ask someone. Faculty and staff actually WANT freshmen to ask them questions, so don’t worry about it. The more you learn as a freshman will not only help you survive your first year of college, it will even help you in the future.

8. Take time for yourself.

The stress of college can really take its toll on a student. It CAN and WILL burn you out if you don’t take the time to just relax every now and then. This can be hard if you have that roommate who seems to never leave the dorm room, but taking a walk around campus while listening to music or going home for the weekend are great ways to take the edge off.


9. Get enough sleep.

Don’t be that person who’s literally snoring in the back corner of the classroom in that 8 am class. Please, just don’t.


10. Be mature.

College teaches us about what we want to do for our careers, but it also teaches freshmen that they’re “adults” now. It’s the first time living on your own. It’s up to you to make important decisions about your education and life now (oooo scary). Usually, the freshmen who “grow up” throughout the year have a way smoother ride than those who don’t.

11. Don’t overthink things.

Being a freshman means you get thrown into a lot of things all at one time. Overthinking about what classes you’re going to take, or if you’re going to make friends (which you will), will only give you unnecessary anxiety that will take away the excitement of finally entering college.


12. Get to know your campus.

Take a day to just explore your campus. Go into buildings where you don’t have classes. Visit different administration buildings and health center. Check out where different offices are, like Accounting and Financial Aid. Knowing where all these places are will be a big help as your college career moves forward.

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13. Save money.

Instead of eating out with your friends with that last $20 you have, take one for the team, and enjoy a dinner in the dining hall. Honestly, you’ll be glad you did when you need that money for something important.

14. Don’t be afraid of hoarding snack food for your dorm room.

There’s going to be plenty of late night study sessions where your body tells you that you NEED that bag of Doritos. Other days, you’ll just be too lazy to go to the dining hall, so why not binge on Poptarts and Pringles? And whenever your mom calls and asks you what you need, always tell her, “food.”


15. Be willing to compromise with your roommate.

We’ve all heard horror stories about college roommates, so picking the right one can be tricky. It’s likely that the two of you won’t see eye-to-eye on everything, and may even have an argument here and there. THAT’S OKAY. If you want to survive your first year of college, make sure you consider your roommates feelings and opinions (instead of throwing their stuff into the hallway – yes, this happens).

16. Know that it’s okay to not have everything figured out.

It’s absolutely fine to not know exactly what you want to do with your life or what you want to major in during your first year of college! You know what you want to for the rest of your life? Awesome. You don’t know what you want to do for the rest of your life? No problem; you’ll figure it out.

17. Get used to the dining hall food as quickly as you can.

Getting adjusted to the food you’ll be eating for the school year takes a little time…and commitment…and an iron stomach. All joking aside, the food really isn’t as bad as the upperclassmen will tell you it is.


18. Ask upperclassmen about their time at college so far.

Talking to upperclassmen about their college experience can give you great insight. You can find out which classes to take/not take, and which professors are really strict and which ones are pretty laid back.

19. Don’t take on more than you can handle.

Know your limits and don’t stretch yourself too thin! Your well-being is just as important as both your social life and your academics.

20. ENJOY your first year of college.

You’re only a freshman in college once, so you only have one shot to make it what you want it to be! Learn, experience new things, and make memories that will last a lifetime!

Featured image source:
Jessica Disher

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