1. There are a lot of fun free things to do with friends. You really don’t have to spend money to have a good time. My school is constantly having free events. We even have a student organization that plans these events two or three times a week! They show recent movies and provide drinks and popcorn, they bring in speakers, they hold dog therapy sessions and paint classes. They bring in a little of everything; all included in the student fees!
2. There is someone out there that feels the same way you do. Not everyone is the same typical freshman who just wants to party and experience freedom. Although you will encounter that frequently, there are people who share your values. Give yourself a chance to find some good friends!
3. People do wear sweats to class, but it does sometimes feel nice to show off your favorite outfits too. Seriously, you feel so much more confident and awake if you put some jeans on instead of sweats. I had 8ams Monday through Thursday this week, and I felt better when I actually put in the five extra minutes.
4. It is so easy to get on a weird eating schedule. It is so easy to end up starving and wanting to eat at 11pm…say hello to the freshman fifteen. It is likely that you’re going to reach for fast food. Do yourself a favor and keep some healthy snacks in your dorm so you don’t eat crap right before bed.
5. You and your roommate might never be besties. It seems like a lot of people get very close to their roommates. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. And that is okay! If you can’t handle it, request a new roommate. Otherwise, it isn’t the end of the world, you only have to live with them for one year. Just be respectful of them and do what you can to be friendly.
6. Professors aren’t all old, mean and scary. Most of my professors were perfectly normal and approachable. Some of them were even younger than I expected. Don’t be afraid to talk with them about a grade or get help in a specific topic.
7. You want TAs! They’re a lot more approachable! The TAs are not dealing with as many students as your professors are, and often times as a result get to know you better. If your professor seems unapproachable, your TA is likely a much easier person to go to, and should know plenty of information to help you.
8. Most people work while in school. Seriously, you will not be the only person to have a job if you do. It seems that the vast majority of students have some kind of job. No one will look down on you for it.
9. Some of your traits might be amplified by the stress of school, and this is the best time to find new outlets! For me, my tendency to be a worrier and anxiety increased. I am slowly learning to turn to taking me time or quiet time as these issues come up, to push past instead of wallow in these icky feelings. Community is also a good way to deal with these feelings. I had a coffee with a friend twice a week as well as a group meeting once a week.
10. You need to balance time with friends and school work. I focused too much on school work and as a result, struggled to find a close group of friends. Please don’t make my mistake, put yourself out there! Get involved in something to make some good friends. Honestly for me, I tend to make friends best when doing work together. My closest friends were two girls I met with regularly to study for our government class. They were also in my drawing class.
These things are simply what I learned in my personal experience. I think they are all important as you move towards being an independent adult. What did you learn your first semester of college? Or if you aren’t in college yet, what was your favorite thing from my list?