Freshman year is a different experience for everyone, but there is some advice that every first-year student should live by. As a senior, I wish I knew what I learned throughout my college experience to tell my younger self. Here is a list of 10 things I wish I knew before I started my freshman year of college.
1. College May Feel Scary
Freshman year is an exciting time, your first year at school can also feel scary. The cliche saying rings true for first-year students, college is a time of firsts. For many people, freshman year is the first time you live with a stranger and living on your own away from home.
I want you to know its normal to be scared! If you are feeling scared or concerned, reach out and talk to people. Chances are, you aren’t the only person feeling scared. Other freshmen in your residence hall and R.A.’s throughout your dorm are great resources if you need someone to talk with.
2. Be Organized
Staying organized is the key to being a successful college student. Freshmen should find a method to the madness that is college, and every student has to find a way to stay organized. It’s important to find a system that works for you! Some students like to write everything down in a planner or write everything down on a whiteboard.
If this method doesn’t work for you, others like to keep a Google Calendar where you can record everything. Either way, it’s important to write down all of your assignments, exams, and other responsibilities. At the start of every semester, I print out all of my syllabuses so I can reference it whenever I’m unsure of a due-due. It becomes easy to forget what you have to do, and staying organized will save you one day.
3. Talk To Students On Campus
Who knows the Virginia Tech campus better than your fellow Hokies? Freshmen should talk to new people around campus even though it can seem intimidating at first because it’s worth it. When you go to a school as big as VT, finding your way around campus can become stressful. Instead of freaking out, just ask the students. We have all been in your position before, and most students are more than happy to help you. Making small talk with people on campus is a great way to make new friends and help you find your way.
4. Join Virginia Tech Social Media
Getting involved with all the Virginia Tech social media is a great way for freshmen to know what’s going on around campus. If you have questions or need advice, look no further than the Virginia Tech Facebook pages. You can find a Facebook page for your graduating class, to sell or buy items, or find rides on the carpool pages.
Whatever you need, there’s a high chance you will find it on Facebook. Make sure you follow the official Virginia Tech social media accounts on every platform to stay up-to-date with important campus announcements and fun activities. Pro-tip: if you want to gain followers, put your graduating year in your social media bio’s! (#VT2022)
5. Get Involved On Campus
One of the best parts of attending a big campus like VT as a freshmen is all the student involvement opportunities. At Virginia Tech, you’re bound to find something that interests you. VT offers nearly 800 student organizations, so you have ample opportunity to find an organization you want to join. Some popular clubs on campus is the Chocolate Milk Club, Homecoming board, and club sports.
VT also offers a huge amount of Greek life organizations, both academic and social. Joining activities through campus can help build relationships with other students, networking, and build up your resume. Take advantage of all Virginia Tech has to offer by finding your next campus club!
6. Be Healthy
Freshman year is a time of transition and it’s easy to forget you need to take care of yourself. Practicing healthy eating and exercise habits can become difficult when your balancing everything. This is especially true at Virginia Tech since we have the second-best college food in America!
With two gyms on our campus, students can work out whenever they want to! Additionally, all of our amazing dining facilities offer healthy dining options. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle in college can help you feel energized and confident, especially during times of stress.
7. Go To Class
This may seem self-explanatory, but all freshmen have to go to class. One of the best parts of college is freedom, including the freedom to skip class. Of course, there are valid reasons to miss classes throughout the semester, but don’t make skipping class a habit. This is especially true in smaller classes where professors will notice your absence.
Regularly attending class will help you understand the class and help you be more prepared. Participating in class and developing relationships with your professors will help you become a successful student.
8. Party Responsibly
I know, I know, most freshmen have already heard this lecture before. Partying is a right-of-passage in college, but its extremely important to be safe when you are. Through my own experiences in college, I wanted to pass down some important advice. First, drink at your own pace. Everyone has different tolerances, so don’t push yourself.
Second, eat and drink water throughout partying. Eating before you start to drink, and drinking water throughout the party will save you from a massive hangover. Finally, stick with a group of friends. The buddy system is a great rule to live by in college. Make sure to charge your phone before you go out, and make sure all of your friends are doing okay.
9. Make Friends in Your Residence Hall
What better way to make friends than with all the freshmen living in your dorm! Residence halls are a great opportunity to forge relationships because everyone is in similar situations. Freshman dorms are great because of the social scene! Students living in the dorms can eat together, go to parties, study, and hang-out.
Along with meeting people on your floor, take the time to hang out with your roommate! Building a relationship with your roommate early on is crucial since you will be living with each other for the year. During the first weeks of school, make an effort to get-to-know the people you’re living with. You never know, you may meet your new best friend!
10. It’s Okay If You Don’t Like Your School
Many freshmen feel pressure to love your college, or live up to the classic college expectations, “the best years of your life.” I want you to know its normal if you feel unhappy at your current school, and you have options! Transferring schools could be the solution you’re looking for.
Since you’re a freshman now, you may know what you want out of a school more than you did as a senior in high school. From my own personal experience, transferring to Virginia Tech was the best choice I ever made. If you decide that school isn’t your thing, pursue other career options! College is a time for self-exploration, and only you know your true path in life.
What advice do you have for college freshman? Give us your tips in the comments!
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Senior at Virginia Tech who lives and breathes everything Hokies. In my spare time, you can find me at a concert or binge-watching Hulu. Remember, when all else fails, Chipotle will never let you down.