Fall is approaching very quickly, which means thousands of young adults will be flocking to their college campus of choice. Whether you’re going out of state, staying close to home, or even commuting – college has the potential to be one of the best time periods in yo’ life.
Although I [sadly] will not return to school this fall, I will happily pass on my infinite amount [AKA very limited amount] of wisdom. So let’s get started with a few things I wish I knew: college edition.
1. Freshman 15 is a thing. Being on your own in college is a great feeling, especially because you get to eat whenever and wherever you want [I can’t be the only one that was extremely excited about this, right?]. PLUS, because you’re on a college campus, almost every restaurant/bar is going to be open late during the school year.
Freshman 15. If you’re not careful, it’ll definitely happen to you.
Deliciously cheesy pizza at 4 in the morning? Bring it on. Taking advantage of the buffet style cafeteria on campus? I mean, you have to get your money’s worth, right? You’re telling me this beer is FREE? I’ll take another! HOLY ST. PATRICK, step away from 5 lb. burrito and chill out.
You can and WILL gain a bunch of weight within the first few weeks if you don’t 1) implement a regular exercise routine, 2) avoid eating fried foods on a regular basis, and 3) skip on the constant binge drinking.
If you get control of your health before it spins out of control, you’ll feel a lot better, have more energy, and be able to concentrate – something you’ll need when your mid-terms spring up. Speaking of..
2. Nobody will notice if you don’t show up to class. Okay, so this one is only partly true.. It really depends on the size of the class and whether it’s a discussion or lecture.
If it’s a large class [think 100+], they most likely won’t take attendance. This means that if you don’t show up for class all semester, no one will probably notice [that sounds so sad..]. That is, until your professor grades your final exam.
Even though the attendance policy is lax, you really only hurt yourself when you don’t show up for class. Most of the time, your professor will cover material that isn’t in the assigned readings and will DEFINITELY be on your exam.
So, even though they won’t notice if you skip class every day, you’ll do a whole lot better if you just show up. If you’re THAT tired, just go take a nap on the lawn or bench or something [homeless people and college students are often indistinguishable, I swear].
3. Don’t you DARE buy your books brand new, unless you ABSOLUTELY have to.
College textbooks are a total nightmare simply because they cost a fortune AND you’re required to purchase so many of them. You’re upset about that $15 parking ticket you just got? PFFT, talk to me when you’ve doled out $150 bucks for a book that you end up using only once during the semester.
PLUS, when it comes time to sell your books back to the store, they will only give you a small fraction of what you paid for it [a twenty dollar bill has never looked so sad].
Instead of buying books brand new at your campus bookstore, buy used books online and save that extra dough for something more entertaining. A few college textbook sites that I used:
Another pro tip: try to talk to people that have already taken the class to see if the books on the syllabus are even needed. Sometimes, professors will say a textbook is required and then only assign ONE chapter from it the entire semester [jerks]. Someone that has already taken the class will be able to point out the textbooks you really need and the ones you can probably pass on.
4. Making friends will never be easier. I’m serious. When you first get to school, EVERYONE is new and EVERYONE is looking for friends. This makes it extremely easy to strike up conversation with anyone around you.
Take advantage of this during the first few months you’re at school and get to know as many people as possible. Introduce yourself to the people in your dorm hall, chat it up with the people in your classes, talk to the people in the bathroom stalls next to you [don’t do that], etc.
Also, don’t be afraid to just ask someone out for a coffee or grub. In college, nobody will think it’s weird. I promise. After all, you’re all just trying to find a place to fit in at college. Everyone is in the same boat.
Your social life is a huge part of the college experience. Getting involved on campus in clubs, organizations, or athletics will help you meet new people and develop lasting friendships. Enjoy yourself and the friends you spend your time with—even if you’re not doing anything at all. College is about the people you meet, the experiences you go through, and the memories you make.
5. Explore every nook and cranny of your campus and surrounding city. This means not only checking out great restaurants and dive bars, but also taking the time to visit the museum, the art galleries, etc.
Try to visit places you’ve never been and take the time to try new things. Never had Indian food? Try it! Never been to a college football game? Go to one! Curious about the stars? Join the Astronomy Club!
Take the time to do everything and visit everywhere. It’s when you wander off to a weird art exhibit or explore your college town alone that you bump into versions of yourself you never could have imagined existed.. and that’s what college is for – finding out WHO you are!
If you don’t take anything away from this post, simply remember this: college is a time where you meet great people and become the person you were meant to be. So go out and enjoy yourself.
You only get to be a college freshman once in your life [unless you fail.. but you know what I mean]. So have fun, be smart, and soak up every single minute. ‘Cause once you’re an adult and paying on your substantial amount of student debt, you’ll wish that it hadn’t passed by so quickly.
Readers: Any tips for incoming freshman? What do you miss about college?