Attention freshmen heading off to college in the coming weeks: get ready for the ride of your life. Entering college is like nothing you’ve ever experienced before. It’s gonna be scary, and you’ll probably feel homesick, or even lonely at times. But I want you to know that you’re not alone because every other newcomer is suffering alongside you. Nah, I’m just kidding about the “suffering” part, but not about the community of freshmen who are going through what you are. You’re all experiencing this new, exhilarating beginning together which means that everyone has the same concerns as you about how to make the perfect first impression, especially that first week of college.
Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Too many incoming freshmen agonize over things like what they’re going to wear, whether or not they should go Greek, and even which tapestry will best display their individuality (Answer: none of them because literally every female college student hangs a tapestry). If you really want to prepare yourself for college (LOL good luck with that) just focus on the few biggest mistakes freshmen make when their first week of college and avoid them like the plague (that will inevitably make it’s way round your freshman dorm because you filthy animals have no idea what proper hygiene is). Once you know what not to do you can concentrate on being yourself and everything else will work itself out.
Don’t bring any high school bullshit with you.
Please, for the love of god, when you’re packing for school, leave the labels and cliques at home. That’s a whole lotta extra baggage to transport and it really is high school bullshit anyway. College is a fresh start for everyone (hence the word “freshmen”) which means that no one cares about your ignorantly preconceived notions regarding keggers, e.g. The best part about going away to school is you get to become whoever you want! That being said, you gotta be willing to give if you’re gonna take. In order for others to accept you for who you are, you have to give them a chance to show you who they really are, too. Don’t shy away from potential friendships just because they seem like something the old you would have avoided. All the more reason to pursue ‘em, if you ask me. Freshmen should embrace change so long as it’s for the better!
Don’t judge a hipster by his facial hair.
This goes hand-in-hand with the last one, but don’t make assumptions about people based on their appearance. College is a time to try something new, like not being a shallow piece of shit. You’ll only cheat yourself out of getting to know some pretty great individuals, even if they look like they only drink “locally brewed, organic coffee.”
Don’t come off as a bitch…even accidentally.
Give the resting bitch face a rest. It’s a tired look that needs to be put to sleep. Nobody’s gonna approach you if you look like you’re primed to cut someone. I don’t know who came up with the idea that women look more “fierce” with an icy glare permanently plastered on, but I’d like to formally contest this notion. A smile is a girl’s best accessory, and I guarantee it’ll help you meet new people a lot faster. Besides, what’s not to grin about as an incoming freshman? You’ve got your whole life ahead of you, endless possibilities, infinite potential, and plenty of midnight pizzas to look forward to! #SayCheese
Don’t get overwhelmed.
A lot of freshmen stress about things like scheduling and majors before they even arrive. Seriously? Your first week of college (or maybe even your entire freshman year) is the only time during your college experience where you don’t have to stress. Stop ruining it and start reveling in it! What I wouldn’t give to be a care-free freshie again… Once you realize that college isn’t all about GPAs and extracurriculars you can start enjoying the social aspects of living on campus. I mean, isn’t that why we all went away to school to begin with? Yes, we wanted an education, but we also wanted to meet new people, experience new things, and grow as individuals. To get the most out of college, you gotta immerse yourself in the culture of your campus and that starts day one. There’ll be plenty of time to stress about your future in your future, I promise.
Don’t worry about the upperclassmen.
They’re not that intimidating once you get to know them and in a few short months you’ll join their ranks.
Don’t push yourself too far, too fast..and don’t hold yourself back.
No one likes a shut in. On the flip side, no one likes a sloppy drunk either. Find a balance is all I’m saying. You’re in a new place surrounded by strangers which is equal parts exciting and terrifying. You’re not going to make any friends by sitting in your room binging Parks and Rec all night. Go out and have a good time, but also be aware of your limits and respect them, for mom’s sake.
Don’t feel like you’ll be labeled a loser if you head to the library alone or *gasp* eat a meal by yourself.
Like I already explained, labeling is petty high school nonsense. No one’s gonna judge you for going about yo business without a gaggle of gal pals behind you. If anything, I respect those who don’t need fifty of their closest friends to accompany them to the bathroom more.
Finally, don’t feel beholden to the choices you made when you first arrived.
Change classes, change majors, change friends, change your hair color, change your name, change whatever doesn’t work for you. First impressions aren’t everything and people can change (Thank god! Who wants to be exactly like they were in high school?). If you made some friends the first week of college purely out of desperation, but now it’s November and you’ve realized you have nothing in common with them—they drink Pepsi, you’re strictly a Coke girl—dump ‘em. A truly incompatible match like that could never last long anyway. You will continue to meet people until you graduate, so don’t feel like your actions during week one will affect you for the rest of your collegiate career. That’s just a myth the dean tells you at convocation to scare you into being on your best behavior during syllabus week. (Psst, don’t fall for it!)
These “don’ts” are merely guidelines to get you started on the right track. The truth is that there’s not a lot you can do during your first week of college to permanently scar your reputation, save for getting thrown in the drunk tank… I would imagine it’s pretty hard to come back from that one. So take a deep breathe and stop worrying! As long as you feel confident about how you’re representing yourself and you’re actively exploring your new world, then I’d say you’re off to a successful start.
What are some other things you definitely should NOT do your first week of college? Share in the comments below!
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A MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS MAJOR WITH A CONCENTRATION IN WRITING, CATHERINE TRANSFERRED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF TAMPA FROM PITT IN THE FALL OF 2016 AND IS LOVING THE WARM WEATHER AND PALM TREES! SHE LOOKS FORWARD TO TRAVELING AND EXPERIENCING ALL THAT COLLEGE HAS TO OFFER BEFORE GRADUATING in 2018 AND CONTINUING TO WRITE PROFESSIONALLY.