Freshman year can be a stressful and scary time. I’ve already given you some tips on how to survive the year, and we have an article for getting along with your roommate (which can sometimes be even harder than classes and schoolwork) but here are some tips so you know what to avoid freshman year. This will help you not to make a fool out of yourself and allow you to know what to expect in college and enjoy your experience.
Black out/get too sloppy!
It’s your first weekend out at college and you’re so excited for your first party with all your new friends, but then the next day you wake up alone in a frat house and you have no idea what happened. You should know your limits as you don’t want to be the sloppiest one at the party that everyone laughs at, and make that kind of a first impression on your fellow students. But you also can’t really rely on the friends you make that first week at college or orientation to help take care of you because you don’t know each other that well. You should try to not black out at all, but if you do wait until you’ve met some people you can really trust. Keep in my mind that you have four years of this ahead of you, there’s no rush to hook up with everyone and do something you might regret.
Forget to call your parents.
Your parents are going to worry about you a lot, so it helps to give them a call at least once a week. Plus, if you stay on their good side they’ll be more willing to help you out in terms of financial matters and they can be a good resource if you’re having roommate drama or school-related problems. Your parents will always be there for you, and they are usually on your side, so they’re great to complain to and relieve some stress.
Get into a relationship right away.
This can work for some people, but it often doesn’t. The same goes for high school relationships. Give yourself time to meet a variety of people before you decide to settle down. That hot guy from down the hall might seem perfect at first glance until you get to know him and realize he’s all looks. Also if you settle down you might miss out on a lot of things because you’re too wrapped up in your new significant other. Then if you break up over the summer you’ll return to school and see that you don’t have many friends outside of your couple. College is about meeting a wide range of people and enjoying yourself, and having a serious relationship right away can hamper that.
Buy all your dorm stuff and textbooks at full price.
Being a college student has many perks, and that includes access to the amazing world that is student discounts. Many restaurants, websites, and stores offer special discounted prices if you are a college student. One of the biggest traps you should avoid is spending way too much money on things in-store, when you can spend much less online. There are even websites, such as Studentrate.com, that offer discounts on hundreds of brands in one place. You can even compare prices on textbooks so you have a good idea of what you’re actually spending your money on. You are now a broke college student. Welcome.
Think it will be easy to get As.
Since you don’t have your parents on your back anymore, there is no one forcing you to do your homework, and many people already have the mindset that homework doesn’t help anyway. But in some cases it really can. It is harder to maintain a high GPA without studying on a regular basis than it was in high school. If you are putting in the work and are still struggling, there are plenty of places and people around campus such as the writing center, the math center, professors, teaching assistants and tutors where you can find help.
Disrespect common spaces.
You’ll most likely be sharing bathrooms and common areas with a lot of people, so make sure to clean up after yourself. If you make a mess in the microwave, clean it up. You wouldn’t want to go make Easy Mac and open the microwave to see the walls covered in some unidentifiable substance; so don’t do that to other people. For girls, don’t leave clumps of your hair around in drains or sinks, and guys when you shave make sure to also clean out the sink. I’ve seen the cleaning staff refuse to clean bathrooms if they are too dirty, so don’t let that happen to you, because then you have to clean it all up. By keeping it relatively clean and mess-free, it’s less work for everyone.
Sign up for everything.
You hit up the activity fair that first week and you get charmed into clubs by all the upperclassmen. Then, you’re bombarded with a hundred emails a day asking you to do this or about this event that you have to attend, and it’s a little much. Find a few clubs or organizations that you’re interested in, and sign up for those. Being involved on campus is a great way to meet other freshmen and upperclassmen, and it keeps you busy so you don’t sit around snacking or sulking because you haven’t met anyone yet.
Again, college is going to require you to do a lot of work. Some teachers may not take attendance, but that doesn’t mean that you can skip every single class and still pass. Teachers expect you to be adults about the situation and know that if you want to do well you need to motivate yourself to come to class. And if you don’t go to class, you won’t be able to meet your teachers or make those connections that are important later in life.
Wear your welcome week shirts.
If your school is anything like mine was, you’ll get a bunch of t-shirts during your orientation week, and it’s a good idea not to wear them around too often. I wear mine now all the time, but as a freshman, it sends out a big message that you are a freshman, and upperclassmen will avoid you. So just like wearing the lanyard with your ID; wearing all those orientation t-shirts is a big fashion faux pas.
Get a fake I.D.
This may seem like a good idea, but it’s usually not. Some people get lucky and can use the I.D.s of older students or siblings, but getting a fake I.D. is costly and many times you end up getting it taken away anyway. A lot of places scan them now and sure, the guy trying to sell you one will say that it will scan, but you don’t know that. You don’t want to be that person getting rejected at the door because you tried to get in with a fake. Enjoy the house parties while you can, the bar will be there after you turn 21.
Not know how to get around on the first day.
You will usually have orientation leading up to the first day of school, and they try to jam pack you with activities so no one starts feeling homesick, but you also do have some down time. And in that free time, you should explore and try to figure out how to get to your classes on the first day, so you don’t end up getting lost. People will probably laugh at you if they see a freshman looking at a map or asking around to see which building is which, or if you stroll into class 20 minutes late because you didn’t know where you were going. It helps to do a run through before the first day, and bring some friends along who have the same classes or are in the same buildings.