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6 Things Freshmen & Sophomores Can Learn from Upperclassmen

This is a sponsored feature. All opinions are 100% from Her Campus.

The underclassmen experience is an absolute whirlwind. We all have those first day flashbacks of struggling to find classrooms and wondering how the heck we’re supposed to carry all those textbooks around. Eventually you’ll rise to the ranks of an upperclassman and learn to master the art of campus life along the way –– but we want to help you out sooner rather than later. We’ve partnered with Office Depot to bring you six of the best tips that freshmen and sophomores can learn from upperclassmen.  




1. Actually do your homework

During high school, homework was a dreaded task to come home to each day. In college it’s pretty much the same thing –– but this time it actually matters. High school homework is your teacher’s way of making sure that you’re following along with what happens in class, and it’s easy participation credit. Let’s be real though, even in your AP classes you could get by with only putting minimal effort into that required study guide or take-home quiz. We totally get that once senior year hits, you’re just over it!  

The thing that any upperclassman will tell you about college is that your homework is a surprisingly useful learning tool. How are you going to master your college calculus class without practicing the homework problems each day? Homework will keep you from falling behind, tutor you for the final and is the most important thing to help you succeed as an underclassman. Don’t forget to keep it all organized with super colorful Divoga Whimsical Wonder Paper Portfolios at Office Depot and OfficeMax retail stores and online at officedepot.com. These portfolios will help you to separate your homework by class and to keep track of all your assignments.   

2. Carry a backpack instead of a purse  

While you lovely collegiettes will want to keep up your fashion game in college, any upperclassman will tell you to trade in your purse for a sturdy backpack. During high school you had minimal textbooks (or even had a locker to keep them in) so you could carry a cute purse just to hold your pens and a notebook. However, college classes use textbooks that require some serious heavy lifting, and a purse isn’t going to cut it this time. Don’t worry –– a backpack can add personality to your stylish outfit! Check out this High Sierra Pineapple Party Backpack at Office Depot and OfficeMax stores for a bag that’ll have your classmates asking where you got it.  

3. Spend time getting to know your professors

We all had that one “cool” teacher in high school, and all the students wanted to be in his or her class. Surprisingly, most college professors are actually “cool” teachers, so you’ll definitely want to get to know them! Upperclassmen know professors are master networkers who can connect you to job leads and scholarships, so spending time with them during office hours can not only help your grade, but your future too. One day you might need a mentor to walk you through the world of “adulting,” while another professor might give you valuable career advice. Forming a personal relationship makes class more enjoyable, and it could even give your participation score the extra bump it needs.

4. Get educated on financial aid

You may want to push off the responsibilities of financial aid to your parents, but upperclassmen highly recommend getting educated on it yourself. First, you’ll have to actually apply for aid which can be done through FAFSA or a private loan company. Once you receive your aid award you’ll want to figure out a payment schedule and the type of loans you and your parents want to accept (e.g., a loan or a grant). This will be a yearly process, but will teach you valuable financial planning and real-world skills. Worried about keeping all your financial aid paperwork organized? These Divoga® Mediterranean Mosaic 1” Binders at Office Depot and OfficeMax retail stores and online at officedepot.com are perfect to store your financial aid paperwork in.  

5. Make sure to take notes

In the past, taking notes might have been boring or arbitrary, but in college your notes are essential to proper studying and success. Most likely whatever your professor is lecturing about will be a question on your exam, but that information won’t be included in a textbook. It’s up to your comprehensive note-taking skills and active listening to help you remember key concepts. Nobody passed their English final by memorizing The Odyssey –– it’s the detailed notes from class that earn you the A. These Divoga® Mediterranean Mosaic Composition Books at Office Depot and OfficeMax retail stores and online at officedepot.com provide sleek styles to capture all your important notes.

6. Schedule time for something fun

Financial aid, homework and notes?! Yikes! Any upperclassman will be honest and tell you that college isn’t easy, but it’s worth the hard work. By far the most important aspect of your campus life is to make sure that you’re having fun. Whether it’s dressing up your dorm room, joining an a cappella group or taking a study break to the beach, find as much time as you can to slip in your favorite activities. It will break up your work load and keep you grounded in how truly amazing the college experience is.  

Our final note to freshman and sophomores is don’t sweat it! You are nearly halfway there to becoming the ultimate collegiette rock stars. Stick to our tips, gear up for college at Office Depot and OfficeMax retail stores or online at officedepot.com, and you’ll be set for success.  

Katie was the former Senior Associate Editor of Her Campus. She graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 2015, where she studied Writing Seminars, psychology, and women's studies. Prior to joining the full-time staff, Katie was a national contributing writer and Health Editor for HC. In addition to her work with Her Campus, Katie interned at Cleveland Magazine, EMILY's List, and the National Partnership for Women & Families. Katie is also an alumna of Kappa Alpha Theta. In her spare time, Katie enjoys writing poetry, hanging out with cats, eating vegan cupcakes, and advocating for women's rights. 
As a Senior Associate on the Integrated Marketing team, Katherine manages and executes digital marketing programs for Her Campus's partners across digital, email, social and influencer platforms. Before Her Campus, Katherine worked in the ecommerce world as a merchandiser and buyer. She graduated from the University of Delaware in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in Fashion Merchandising. She started her own fashion blog, Style Tab, four and a half years ago and it has become one of her biggest passions. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring Boston, shopping, brunching, watching funny (cat) YouTube videos, attempting to exercise and traveling. Find her on Instagram: @styletab