Saturday, August 22, 2015
College Freshman Survival Guide
Freshman year of college was a blast for me, and now going into my senior year, I find myself reminiscing about it all the time. I like to think I was pretty spot on with your typical college freshman; I was excited to be on my own, do big kid things, and try going to parties, but I was nervous about how my classes would go, making friends, and... going to parties. You're in a new atmosphere, surrounded by new people, doing new things, and everything is just...well new. There are things you've heard about and want to try, but are afraid to. There are things you have to do, but are really dreading. Don't sweat it, I'll give you a run down of what to expect, and what to do!
Throw your boxes and bags in your dorm room (or stop setting up your apartment for two seconds) and get your butt outside! Move in weekend is the best, because there are always coupon books floating around, free stuff, and lots of other students walking around. Grab your new roommate or your BFF from home, and head outside to make some friends!
In terms of what to bring with you, basic is best. Bring your clothes, shoes, towels, toiletries, and bedding. Wait until you've unpacked that and met your roommate before you do more! It's a total bummer when you go out and buy tons of cute decor, only to ship it home after a month because you have no room for it, or your roommate already got it!
-If you're living in a dorm (or in a college apartment complex) leave your door open so that people can drop in and say hi! You'll get to meet your neighbors, and hopefully make some friends!
-Scout out all the bathrooms. The first floor bathroom may be better than the 5th, or their may be one floor dominated by guys, where the ladies bathroom is left empty. This is important stuff people!
-Walk around campus and get real comfortable with your surroundings. Look for your classes! Find your favorite coffee/sandwich/whatever shop.
-Make yourself be outgoing, and introduce yourself to people. When you're standing in line, or if you notice another freshman who is alone, say something!
I was so nervous for classes. It's tough when you come from a small town where you know your entire graduating class, and then some. Besides the social aspect of classes, which is what I was most nervous about, it can also be scary academically. In high school you constantly hear "in college you will have to...." or "in college they will expect you to..." and now you're at that point. Don't sweat it! I found that I had less homework, and more flexibility in assignments in my college classes. Oh, and they review everything.
With classes comes books. And lots of them. Going into college, I didn't realize I would be expected to buy/rent every book, or that there would be multiple books per class! I rented everything I could just before classes started, and was more than a little salty when we didn't end up using the books in more than half my classes. If you see a long book list, don't panic just yet! I have some awesome tips to help you in that department.
-If you're in a large class (let's say 50+ people) try sitting in a different part of the room every class for the first 2 weeks. This way you will definitely sit near a variety of people, and will hopefully make some new friends!
-If you are in a smaller class (I dreaded those!), introduce yourself to the people sitting around you! If you're more shy, then at least swap emails/phone numbers with someone in case you miss a class and need notes.
-Wait 2 weeks into classes before you buy/rent books (unless you have an assignment due the first day of class). You might find that you won't actually end up using some of the books.
-See if a friend in the class wants to share a book with you, to cut down on costs!
-Ask if any of your required books are on reserve at the library; this allows you to use the books when you need to, without having to pay!
I was so unsure about parties going into my freshman year. There are the crazy frat parties you see in movies where they are packed, there's beer everywhere, and people getting wild. I'm an outgoing person when I need to be, but I also love being quiet and observing. I was so iffy about all of it, and it kept me from going to parties for the first few weeks of class. Eventually some friends I had made dragged me out to go frat hopping one night, and I had a total blast! People don't really care what you are doing at a party, be it standing around talking, people watching, or doing some crazy dancing. As long as you aren't puking or breaking anything, you will be all set.
-Don't take a drink from anyone you don't know. Duh.
-It's best to bring your own drink, if you're going to drink at all. And don't let it out of your sight.
-Being pressured into drinking? Run to the bathroom, dump the drink down the sink, and refill with water. Trust me, they will never know the difference. (Thanks Mom!)
-Apartment parties tend to be low key. If you aren't the type to introduce yourself to people and insert yourself into others conversations... these aren't the parties for you.
-Don't go to dorm parties. They suck. You'll thank me later.
I would love to go back and re-live my freshman year... so make the most of yours!