Being one of the many college freshmen is tough. There’s no two ways about it, it just is. It’s an adjustment period where you deal with homesickness, instability, alcohol, and subtle undertones of existential dread. That being said, there are some easy dos and don’ts to live by, which as a general ethos can help your time in college be the best it could be.
Talk to people.
When I first started at university, reconciling my desire to make friends with my incredibly intense social anxiety wasn’t easy. In fact, it was really really hard. But it ended up just being something I had to swallow, and even though I spent a lot of my first year pretty on edge, stepping out of my comfort zone and speaking to people ended up bringing me some of my best friends. Even if the social part of being college freshmen is the part of university culture which you find the scariest, getting out there and engaging with people won’t be something that you’ll regret.
Go to classes.
Don’t bail on your classes because you think that’s the cool thing to do. The reality is that bailing on classes not only impacts your grades but majorly impacts your social life, (which in your first year, I’d argue is far more important). You don’t meet as many people and you don’t bond with the people that you do know as much. At the end of the day, you’ll always lose something by not going, you won’t lose anything by skipping that extra hour of Netflix in bed.
Try new things.
Absorb the culture of being college freshmen because you will never get this chance again. Whether it’s drinking, art, knowledge or any kind of extracurricular, think about it in terms of what you have to lose. Now I’m not saying that new things have to be downing a bottle of vodka or getting a tattoo, the new thing could be a crossword puzzle, a new type of music or learning a new language. It’s not about what you do, it’s about experiencing things you haven’t before, and how you develop as an individual from this.
You have nothing to lose by meeting new people, talking to people and trying new things. As clichè as it might be, roll with the punches and see where you end up.
Don’t feel pressured to have one night stands because everyone else is.
Do what you feel comfortable with. Your sexuality is about you and only you. It’s about what you feel comfortable with doing, and if you don’t feel comfortable bringing someone home from a club, then don’t. There’s no terms and conditions on a university degree that says you have to be having tons of sex to have a good time at university. But on the flip side, don’t shame anyone about their sex lives, and if you do feel comfortable doing that then there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it. University is a time to learn and understand that everyone’s individual sex life is their own prerogative, and it’s not up to anyone else to impart judgment about that.
Don’t feel pressure to maintain a friendship you aren’t getting anything out of.
Whether this is to do with your high school friends, or friends that you’ve made early on in your degree, it’s important to learn that friendships sometimes aren’t forever, they’re your friends for a moment in time, and that is a really good thing, but friendships don’t necessarily have to be forever, and the sooner you can abdicate guilt for friendships that don’t work out, the better.
Don’t be dishonest about who you are.
If you’re being fake, people see right through it. I feel like dishonesty is a real theme through the first year of uni, whether it’s about your past, present, your personality or behaviour on a night out, hiding who you are or trying to be someone else is not flattering. Just be yourself, that’ll get you as far as you could ever need to go.