9 Things I Wish I Knew Before Freshman Year

You always hear things about freshman year of college, like how it goes by so fast and how it will be the best year of your life. But it is also a huge transition year, and sometimes it is okay to feel like you have no idea what you are doing and like reality slapped you in the face.

 

Now that I have almost finished my first year of college, here are a few tips I wish I knew a year ago to make transitioning a little easier:

 

  • Do not buy textbooks ahead of time

Textbooks are super expensive and sometimes you will not even need them for a class, even if the professor recommends it. Instead, try out the class for a couple of weeks without it, and if you are struggling and think a textbook would help, then get it. Plus, if you do not think you will use it after the class, rent it so that you can get some money back at the end of the year.

 

  • Use student discounts whenever possible

You always hear jokes about being a broke college student, but soon it will not be funny when the joke turns into reality. Make sure that you use codes and coupons whenever possible, because you never realize how much things add up until you are living on your own. Wherever you go, ask if they have student discounts --  you may be surprised.

 

In case you did not know, the Cinemark Movie Theatre has a reduced ticket price if you bring your student ID!

 

  • Take the initiative

If you come into college wanting to make new friends or knowing nobody, it is up to you to take the first steps. Say hi to everyone you pass in your dorm hallway or at the library. Invite someone to go get a cup of coffee or explore downtown. Suggest group study sessions with classmates. Join a club or sports team. There are so many ways to make new friends, and sometimes you are the one that has to put in the first bit of effort.

 

  • Do not leave all of your homework for the weekend

Sometimes it is hard to stay on top of work during the week, so you just think you will catch up on everything when the weekend rolls around. Sorry to say this, but you probably will not. Your friends will be going out and you will want to join, or you will just be too lazy on a rainy Sunday. So, try to get as much done during the week as possible, even if you have to stay at the library until 2 a.m.

 

  • Go out

Simple, but very important. Yes, I just said to stay on top of your work, but that does not mean college should be all work and no play. It is okay if you do not do something here and there to go out with your friends. Go to sports games, concerts, formals and parties. Do not sit in your room watching Netflix all weekend and do not sit at the library studying all weekend. Do not miss a fun opportunity to discover your favorite things about college, meet new people and make lifelong memories.

 

  • Set alarms, timers and reminders

This may seem like a weird tip, but trust me, you will thank me later. Set an alarm when you nap, because that 20-minute power nap can turn into a three-hour sleep coma. When doing your laundry, set a timer. If you go to get your clean clothes a minute after the machine stops, you will find them on the floor and another student’s load in its place. When you randomly think of something you need to do, like sending out a birthday card, set a reminder. Your mom is not here to remind you constantly, and if you do not write it down, you will forget to do it.

 

  • Applications never end

You may be relieved now that May 1 has passed, you know where you are going to college and there are no more applications to fill out, for now. Soon, you will have to start thinking about other ones. Apply for scholarships. Applications are tedious, but worth it if they reduce your tuition, even for a semester. Apply for jobs. If you think you will have time balancing schoolwork, find a job near or on campus. There are plenty of student job opportunities at colleges, and they can be flexible with your class schedule. Apply for internships. Paid or not, these will look the most impressive on your resume when looking for a real job after college is over. Plus, it is great to get hands on experience in your field of study.

 

  • You are not in high school anymore

Obviously, there are so many things in college that are very different from high school. But, this tip is not going to tell you what you already know. You are not in high school anymore means do not act like you are still in high school. Do not sweat the petty things, get involved in drama and act like everything is a popularity contest. To be honest, no one gives a sh*t in college who you were in high school, and no one wants to deal with unnecessary drama. D not ruin your freshman year stuck in a place you could not wait to get out of.  

 

  • Make old memories now

There will be plenty of time to make memories freshman year, but spend these next few months making memories with the people you have known your whole life. Take long drives with your friends, talking about how high school flew by. But, do not skip out on family dinners to hang out with friends. Let your family know how much you will miss them, and thank them for being there for you up to this point. Get in as many late-night ice cream runs, bonfires, road trips,and hugs as you can before you will have to leave and start making new memories.

 

College is tough. Freshman year is tough. Leaving a place you have lived your whole life is tougher.

 

Hopefully these small pieces of advice will make that transition a little easier, but it is ultimately up to you to make your experience a good one.

 

Think positively and go into freshman year confident that you made the right decision of where to start living in the real world.

 

Jillian Deneroff is currently a freshman at the University of Kentucky. She is majoring in Interior Design with a minor in Business. Being a Jersey girl at heart, she loves New York City and the shore, but is enjoying her second home in Lexington. When she's not working, you can find her shopping, watching YouTube videos and Netflix, or exploring downtown with her friends.

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