Freshman year is an amazing and exciting time, especially when you’re an Emerson student moving right into the center of the city. It’s easy to want to rush into it, or to feel overwhelmed or like there’s too much that you need to know. So to help ease both of those problems, here are the top 10 things I wish I knew before I started freshman year at Emerson!
1. Boston is COLD
If you’re from the south like me, it’s hard to even really imagine what temperatures under ten degrees feel like. Trust me, once you come back from your spring semester at Emerson- and probably even before- you’ll know first hand.
If you don’t have a ginormous winter coat, a thick hat, snow boots, and some gloves, head to the store asap. It might seem ridiculous to be buying this stuff while it’s still warm out, but you’ll be glad you did. Plus, you’ll get some good deals.
Even if you’re not a cold-weather person, Boston’s freezing temperatures aren’t all bad. There’s really nothing like the snowy city view out your dorm window when a blizzard hits. Not to mention, if you’re lucky, they’ll cancel a class or two.
2. Moving is hard
The majority of Emerson students are from out of state, or even out of the country. But even if you’re from just down the road, don’t sell yourself short on the challenge of moving yourself to a whole new place.
Moving is a lot of work, every step of the way, even though it sometimes seems like something you can do last minute. From deciding what to pack, getting it all up to your room (potentially as high as the 18th floor!), and figuring out how to organize all of it, it’s a daunting process that I didn’t fully appreciate until I was in the middle of it.
It’s impossible for it to not seem overwhelming at times, so don’t stress or feel alone when this happens to you. Your family, orientation leaders, move-in assistants, and roommates are all here to help you get through it.
Once it’s all done, you make it to the fun part- having your own personal space that you can decorate however you want! Be prepared, but be excited, moving into college is well worth the work.
3. You don’t need to be doing something every night
Emerson is a fast-paced school, notorious for its busy students. This is especially the case during the beginning of freshman year, with constant orientation events, meeting new people every day, and just getting the hang of college life.
This is ultimately a really good thing. If you’re ever looking for something to do or need an outlet for an idea you have, chances are you’ll find it pretty easily, and this will help you meet people and start making friends.
However, it’s also easy to get caught up in this non-stop lifestyle and get burnt out or start comparing yourself to the people around you. Something it took me a long time to realize at Emerson is that taking a break is okay. In fact, you need to every now and then.
When you’re exhausted after a busy day, or you’re just dying to lay in bed with some chipotle and Facetime your dog, follow that urge!
It’ll ultimately make you more energized and ready for whatever comes your way tomorrow. Not to mention, nights in are a great way to really get to know your roommates.
4. It’s not too early to get involved
The drive of Emerson students can be intimidating and so can the sheer amount of extra-curricular opportunities on campus. Remember that you’re at Emerson for a reason, and it’s never too early to show everyone what you have to offer!
The best way to really see what you’re interested in at Emerson is to go to the Org Fair, where every campus organization will be there to tell you what they do. Get information from all the ones that interest you, even if it’s something you’ve never tried before.
Emerson organizations are designed to be a learning experience, and everyone running them has been where you are. They want people to come and learn through doing, and that’s the only way you’ll get better. Orgs are also a great way to meet more people and make meaningful connections.
Follow your interests and passions and in a couple of short semesters, you’ll have the experience you need to be leading an org of your own!
5. Find a spot that’s going to be Your spot
When you first move somewhere completely new, it can be hard to find a place to decompress that feels familiar and really like your own. Having that place is really important, and there’s plenty of different ways you make that for yourself.
Your place could just be your bed. Put up posters and decorations that make you feel good, and get some blankets that make it extra cozy.
However, finding a place that you feel comfortable outside of your dorm can be really beneficial. It’s a great way to get out of your room and potentially meet more people without having to exert yourself over yet another brand new activity.
Cafes and coffee shops are great places for this. Find one that you like, and start going there somewhat regularly. Pretty soon, you’ll get to know the staff, have a regular order, and have a chair that you sit in every time.
It’ll be an ideal environment for you to feel comfortable and maybe even get some work done. Chances are, you’ll run into other Emerson students there too, and you’ll already be in a great place to chat.
6. Get into a routine
This could be a little counter-intuitive as college might seem like the chance you’ve been waiting for to finally escape your routine. A couple of weeks without one, however, you’ll be dying to have it back.
This doesn’t mean that all of your days have to be rigidly planned out, but without a schedule or another person telling you when to eat, sleep, exercise, and do your homework, it’s surprisingly easy to just not do those things.
Small things like picking a few days of the week to go to the gym, or making a study group with your friends and sticking to it, can go a long way. Being organized in your day to day will help keep you from overcommitting, a chronic problem of Emerson students. On the other hand, it can also help you realize that you actually do have time for that new event you’ve been thinking about participating in.
7. Being an adult takes practice
You might shrink your favorite shirt the first time you do laundry. You might sleep through your 8 am class. You might burn your dinner the first time you try to cook for yourself- or survive on goldfish for three days because you already know you can’t cook.
All of these things are part of the college experience, so try not to get too frustrated or upset with yourself when they happen. Just because you burnt your dinner tonight doesn’t mean you’re simply destined to be a bad chef. Try again tomorrow! Keep trying until you get it right, don’t be afraid to ask your friends or professors for help, and remember that home is just a phone call away.
8. It’s okay to be a tourist
If you’re anything like me, moving to Emerson is your first real experience in a big city. It’s new and exciting, so don’t be afraid to explore! It’s also your home for the next four years, so it doesn’t hurt to get to know it.
Boston has so many unique things to offer that extend well beyond Boylston street, and getting comfortable in the city off-campus is another great way to gain confidence and independence. You’d be surprised how easy it is to make a day out of simply going for a walk or hopping on the T with no particular destination.
If you really want to learn your way around and get to know the city, there’s plenty of guided activities that aren’t just for tourists. Go on a duck tour, sign up for a guided walking tour of the Freedom Trail, or take a nighttime ghost tour to see a spookier side of Boston.
9. Moviepass (or another equivalent) is 100% worth it
Okay, MoviePass is almost infamous at this point for poor business models that don’t really pan out for their customers. However, the huge rise and fall of MoviePass sparked movie theaters to start offering their own versions of these plans.
Regal cinemas offers a similar deal to MoviePass, as does AMC. AMC’s deal, called AMC Stubs A-List allows its patrons to see three movies per week for a flat rate of just a little over $20 a month. AMC’s system is also much more effective than MoviePass’s strange process that involved patrons being mailed their own special MoviePass credit card.
As a member of AMC A-List, you’ll download their app where you’ll be able to reserve your tickets and your seats as early in advance as you’d like, and your ticket will simply appear on your phone as a QR code.
The AMC Loews theater is a three-minute walk away from campus and is populated with Emerson students on any given night. Having easy access to movies gives you a great go-to date or hang out.
And if you go to film school, it can’t hurt to know how all the latest movies are.
10. Genuine friends are more important than how many you have
Freshman orientation can feel like a mad rush to make friends and find people to do things with. Of course, these are great things to have, but be careful of going the route of trying to make superficial connections with as many people as you can.
This might seem gratifying in the moment, and may even make you feel better if you came to college not knowing anyone, but as soon as everyone starts getting comfortable, these relationships will start to fall apart pretty quickly.
Having a few, or even just one, really good friend that you love spending time with, is a win. These are the people that you’re going to live with in the years to come, the people that you’ll send all your first drafts and rough cuts to for notes, and the people who will really make college worthwhile for you.