Ayanna’s Declassified School Survival Guide

My freshman year of college was definitely one for the books. The experiences I've had have definitely helped shape the decisions I make today, as a junior…not to sound like a grandma.

This guide is therefore going to be written for freshmen girls. It's a guide I high key wish I had back then.

Number One:

Be proactive! If you're sitting in the room all day and you feel as though you're always bored or lonely, go out to programs or informational held on your campus and try to get involved in student groups, dance teams, etc. It's so much better to join a club or organization because not only is it a way to make friends and be actively involved, but it's also a way to network with other students or even professors/student leaders and even help yourself advance later in life. It's also a way to get to know more about yourself as a person, such as your work ethic, your ideas, your strengths, your weaknesses and more. Don't just sit around and let your college years pass you because you'll eventually regret it when you graduate and think “wow, I didn't do this, this & this…wish I could've”, don't wish, just do!

Number Two:

The cliché “stay away from boys”. Sis…stay away from boys…especially the older community. I say this because I've watched this behavior since I was a freshman and even now, that the older boys not necessarily prey on the freshmen girls, but it's a bit easier for them to try and “get to know” them better. I've asked a few of my male friends why would they be more willing to go and try to talk to a freshman than a junior/senior. Their reasoning varied… “some guys don't have game, so they try to go for those they think would be more simpler to get to” or that “freshmen girls don't know us, they're not already “hip to us” or “tired of us” like how girls our year would be, so they'll be more approachable”. Sis…no. I suggest the “stay away from boys” until you're more settled in and comfortable within yourself, as well as you understand the school and it's culture. You can get so caught up in talking to not only an older guy, but guys in general and forget what you came to school for, because boys come with stress &a games, majority of the time. It also can be easier for you to talk to an older boy and feel like you're “popping” within your friend group because an older guy notices you. Next time, keep in mind that they might seem you as being an easy target or easier prey than a girl their age. Also, remember this motto: A’s before Bae’s. Boys will be there every step of the way in life, do not let them distract or consume you or your time. You came to college for a reason! Don't get caught up.

Number Three:

Please, please, puhleaseeeee build connections with your advisor, your teaching assistants, and your professors if possible. Your advisor is there to help you, not hurt you. They are the ones that are helping to steer you into the path of your choosing, take advantage of that. If you need help choosing a major, dropping/adding a class, speak to the advisor. They're whole job is to make sure you're advancing and doing the best you can within your college career. Also build connections with not only the professor, but with the TA if the course has one. The TA is an asset! A TA knows the ins and outs of the class as they work closely with the professor, and most of the time they're a student at the school. Reach out to them if you need tutoring, help understanding a topic, or even questions about a grade. They'll be willing to help, most likely, and it's a great way to get recognized within the class and might even add on to your participation points. You'll be viewed as an active student. Build connections with your professor as well, especially if it's a large class, because it leaves a good impression to your professor. You never know, that professor might be the one who can give you a recommendation, and if they see you grow as a student, they'll be more than willing to help.


Don't forget to have some you time. Make time to relax. Have some fun! People get so stuck on academics sometimes that they forget to enjoy themselves. Yes, academics are a top priority, but sometimes you do need a break. It doesn't hurt to go to a party or get together with your girls, or to miss a party on a Friday night just to catch up on your shows or your sleep. Take some time to go to the mall, splurge on yourself. Your happiness comes first, just remember that. Don't let the pressures of being a scholar break you down or make you feel like that's all there is to life. As long as you understand that there's a time for work and a time for play, you'll be just fine.


Just breathe. Those college years go by quicker than you think, so make the best of them. Not only is it the time where you find yourself, but you're able to grow as an individual, so make every moment count.

Ayanna currently attends the University at Albany, SUNY. She has a major in English and a double minor in Sociology and Africana studies. She's a firm believer in positivity, self-love and working towards her dreams. She's all about positive vibes and positive energy. You can follow her on Twitter & Instagram @ayannaSZN.