Hey you! So, I imagine you clicked on this post because you’re either, an incoming freshman, are currently in college, or just love my content (yes, I am being slightly sarcastic)! Everyone has a very unique college experience, so advice is going to vary. But I recently graduated with my bachelor’s in economics with a minor in political science this past May of 2018. So here is some advice from a recent college graduate!
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Raising Your Hand
Please, don’t be that person who raises their hand to go to the bathroom. Don’t let the professor have an opportunity to make you an example to the class on what not to do. It happened in all of my classes freshman year – not to me thankfully. On the other hand, do raise your hand when you have questions. Odds are, if you have a question on the material you are learning, someone else is probably thinking the same thing. For the most part, I had classes where it was required to raise our hands when we had questions instead of just shouting out, but I definitely had a few classes where the setting was more like a roundtable/open forum.
Try to avoid getting a reputation the first few weeks of college and in general because that will stick with you throughout your college experience. You wouldn’t believe how many guys and girls from my college got terrible reputations their first weekend. My rule of thumb is, if you have only known the person for a few hours or days, maybe don’t go and stick your tongue down their throat… unless you’re into that. I went to a relatively small college so when rumors were started, everyone heard them.
Quality Over Quantity
I think that the one way that college and high school were similar, at least for me, was the fact that it was so cliquey. I feel like the first two weeks of college are critical in meeting quality people to spend your time with. Recognize though, you should go into college knowing who you are – don’t change yourself for others. I did that and totally regret it. It can be hard trying to fit in. Repeat after me, QUALITY over Quantity! Looking back on my four years, I made some quality friends and then I made some really shitty friends.
Keep an Open Mind
College is a super weird time in your life … like super weird. These are labeled the best four years of your life for a reason. There is so much potential for you to truly make these years amazing, it doesn’t just happen though. You get out what you put in, so basically, if you go in with a shit attitude, you are going to have a shit time. Pretty simple! Also, it is important to keep an open mind because you’re about to meet hundreds of new people, including freshman, upperclassmen, teachers, faculty, and people in your college town. They may just be from all corners of the country (or world) and might be very different from you or the people you’ve grown up with. You’ll meet a lot of people who share your views and others who don’t.
Back Up Your Files
Always back up your files. Seriously, always do it. Towards the end of my freshman year, my computer broke somehow so all of my notes, essays, homework, and pictures because my computer crashed, and I had to get a new one. I only have a few pictures from freshman year now, it sucks! The same goes for cell phones, either they break or you lose them… you keep so many important things on your phone, back it up regularly. You should invest in an external hard drive if you don’t want your information stored in the cloud because who the hell actually knows what the cloud is or who has access to it.
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For the love of all things good and holy, please don’t leave your clothes in the washer/dryer for a long period of time after the cycle is over. I always set alarms for a few minutes before the cycle was over so that I could go and grab them before someone else could. People always forgot about their laundry and when there are only 4 or 5 functioning washers and dryers, you can’t be upset when people throw your clean clothes on the floor/somewhere else. Also, I always set alarms to ensure that no one would steal my clothes because hell no was I going to let someone steal my stuff! Unfortunately, it happened a lot to others.
Manage your time wisely. Freshman year is all about trial and error when it comes to time management. My freshman year was a disaster academically because I was more concerned about socializing than I was about my grades. You need to set aside a set schedule for when you want to get work done and studying done. Yeah, it can be hard to pass up time that you want to spend with your friends but realize that poor grades will follow you. I had to work my ass off sophomore to senior year to get the GPA that I wanted because my freshman year GPA was atrocious. It is my biggest regret. Furthermore, do not procrastinate. Take it from me, it leads to a disaster and very long nights. Just because you were an expert at procrastinating in high school doesn’t mean that you will be in college. I found it helpful to write down all of my assignments in a planner.
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Make a Routine
Try to stick to a routine because people by fault function much more efficiently if they can follow a routine. I really focused on my routine during my junior and senior year of college, it helped immensely. Waking up and going to bed around the same times during the weekdays helps you be more alert and healthy. Sleep is so important, especially when you’re in college.
Find Your Preferences
I think, for the most part, freshman don’t get much of a choice for the classes that they want to take. I had a decent schedule freshman year, but I knew a lot of people who hated their schedules. Freshman year is the time for you to figure out which types of classes you enjoy and what times you enjoy taking them. Your time preference is incredibly important because if you sign up for a class that is at 8am and you aren’t a morning person, odds are you aren’t going to enjoy that class, and will likely skip class often. I am not a morning person so I tried to stick with afternoon classes. Also, in regards to finding your preferences, figure out where you like to study whether it’s in your bedroom, lounge, library, an empty classroom, or a study room.
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Reach Out For Help
Plain and simple, when you need help, it is your job to reach out to the appropriate source. If you’re struggling in class, reach out to your professor or go to office hours. If you’re struggling with time management, ask your friends how they are balancing their work and social life. If you’re struggling emotionally, there are always resources on campus for you to utilize. I believe that all colleges provide counselors that you can talk to.
Take Care of Yourself
You need to take care of yourself during college. You’re doing a whole lot of work in a short amount of time. Eat right (the freshman 15/20/30 is real), get enough sleep, don’t over drink, and make time for yourself. Starting in November is when everyone gets sick, at least at small colleges and universities. Please, if you have strep or the flu, don’t go to class. I think that every year around November/December, I was sick constantly because of how many others were sick and spreading germs. Also, taking care of yourself includes knowing when you do and don’t want to go out to party – it is ok to say no. Don’t let your friends guilt you into going to a party, you know yourself best and if you aren’t feeling up to it then do something else!
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I feel like I could go on forever with all of the advice I could give you, but that might get redundant. To sum it all up, being in college is such an exciting time and no two days are similar. Take care of yourself, focus on your studies, and make friends!
Thank you so much for reading, be sure to subscribe to my blog! Xoxo