What I Wish I Knew Before My Freshman Year of College

So you’ve graduated high school, great. What’s next? For some people it’s straight to a 9-5 job, enlisting in the military, but for most, it’s going to college.

College like anything else is what you make of it. It can be a fun and exciting time where you are able to find yourself and figure out what career path you would like to prepare to venture onto once you graduate. But don’t stress too much about jobs and you’re career too much yet you’re freshmen year. You’ve got the next four years to study hard, get good grades, land amazing internships, and prep for whatever career you choose.

So instead just focus on the first year for now as you make the transition from high school to college.

A little bit about me. I am a journalism major at Arizona State University and I just finished my freshman year of college. During my first year, I lived in the dorms in the heart of downtown Phoenix. I spent most my time on campus studying, working, editing videos, and going to club meetings. I worked a full-time job for ASU’s online paper The State Press as a Graphic artist. I reported, editing, and was a producer for Cronkite Cut, ASU’s Entertainment Student News Organization, that produces weekly shows that go onto YouTube. I also was a part of the Cronkite College Council and helped with planning events, as well as making videos, and photographing events. I also found myself the second semester of my Freshmen year joining Her Campus ASU as a writer and have loved it ever since. In terms of course load, I took 16 credits in the fall semester and 18 credits in the spring semester and still managed to get Dean’s list all year while juggling all of my clubs too. Lastly my freshman year I met so many amazing people and made some really great friends that I can’t wait to see again this fall.

Now reflecting on this past year of my life I wouldn’t change a thing because despite the stress and occasional all-nighters I loved every minute of my freshman year of college. But despite having a great first year of college, here are a few things I wish I knew before my freshman year.

  1. 1. Don’t be afraid to speak up in lectures or ask questions

    Some of the best and most memorable lectures I’ve walked out of were those in which myself or my classmates spoke up and stimulated the conversation and got others to do so as well. Not only does that make it more enjoyable to sit through a long lecture but it also helps people to remember the information better. So you’ve got nothing to lose by chiming into a lecture.

  2. 2. Be as outgoing as you can

    From meeting new people & making friends, to networking and applying for internships don’t be afraid to be outgoing. If you don’t go for opportunities then they can slip away, so try your best to be outgoing and maximize on potential opportunities.

  3. 3. Make time to have fun

    Let’s be real college can be hella stressful. If I had to tell you alone how many cups of coffee I drank while studying for exams or working on projects you’d be stressed yourself. But let’s not focus on the stress, instead my point is that you have to make time for yourself and have fun. For some people having fun is going to parties but for me having fun is just hanging out with my friends. I think it’s those moments of fun and happiness that help you get through the most stressful parts of college.

  4. 4. Personalizing your space really makes a difference

    Lighting really can make a difference - not just for photos. For the first few months in college I didn’t hang lights at all and the only thing on my walls was my tapestry. But right after Thanksgiving, I decided to hang colorful Christmas lights because I was sick of the single fluorescent light in my dorm. And let me tell you that made such a world of difference it made the space so much more pleasant to be in while staying up late to study. It also made me feel more at home and consequently happier. So when moving into your dorm don’t be afraid to add little touches to make it feel like home.

  5. 5. Venture out and explore the area around your school

    I can’t tell you enough how much it helps sometimes to just get away from the hustle, bustle, and grind of college. So don’t be afraid to get out and grab some friends and explore the city whether it’s to do an activity, visit a restaurant, or just to see something new. For me personally, I get I was able to do really well academically because I set aside time to explore new places I had never been to before with my friends. For me, the grind of writing a 36-page paper didn’t feel as awful because I had something new to look forward to once a month or every other weekend. Granted some weekends you are going to be really busy with school but when you have free don’t be afraid to explore.

  6. 6. If you don’t get into your dream college it’s not the end of the world

    No matter what college you commit to just know that you’ll end up where you’re meant to be. So if you don’t get into your dream college don’t worry or beat yourself up. No matter where you choose to go you’ll make happy memories, adapt, and flourish.

I hope you enjoy these tips and best of luck on your freshman year of college!