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Ten Tips I Wish I Knew Going into Freshman Year of College at Brown

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Brown chapter.

Excel spreadsheets, overflowing ikea bags, obsessively perusing the Brown University website. That’s what my summer before freshman year of college looked like. I spent summer stressed, overworked, and clueless. I tried every way I could think of to prepare myself for freshman year. Needless to say, I had no idea what I was doing. I am the first in my family to go out-of-state for college. I knew I didn’t have the same parental unit safety net my brother and cousins had relied on before me. I would be on my own. Scary. Being scared and intimidated is normal. Chances are, you’ve probably never experienced such a drastic change before. Moving to college is a learning curve at the least. Hopefully with my advice your learning curve is a lot flatter than mine was. 

Here are ten tips I wish I knew going into freshman year of college:

Learn the Essential Life Skills

The days of mommy doing your laundry are over. You are officially taking care of yourself! Before hugging your caretakers goodbye, you should know some basic life skills to keep you afloat. I recommend knowing how to do laundry, cook a few quick meals, deep clean a room, navigate public transportation, and basic first aid. I’ll never forget my floormate who came to me asking how to use a washing machine. Don’t be him.

Start Building Healthy Habits

Starting freshman year of college is challenging enough as it is. If you’re trying to add new habits to an already hectic and unfamiliar routine, you’re bound to end up stressed and discouraged. I quickly dropped my optimistic gym routine in favor of chatting in the lounge. Maybe if I had started building consistent habits in the summer there would have been more hope for me.

Look Into Some Classes You Want to Take

When it comes to taking classes at Brown there are only three things to remember: fulfill your concentration requirements, take two WRIT(writing-focused) classes, and explore the open curriculum. Start looking into what courses you’ll need to take for your concentration and take note of any class that interests you.

Think About What Extracurriculars You Want to Join

College is the time to explore, have fun, and find your passions! There are so many amazing and eccentric clubs at Brown so please do not limit yourself to what you participated in during high school. Freshman year is the year to try new things– follow your callings! I recommend joining three clubs: one for career exploration, one that focuses on your passion/interests, and one that’s simply just for fun. (But be mindful to not overload your schedule)

Work On Your Resume and LinkedIn

If you’re the kind of person that likes to get ahead, kick off your professional journey by updating your resume and LinkedIn profile. 

Make a Budget

It’s no secret that college is expensive. If you go into freshman year with a weekly or monthly budget you can realistically stick to, you’re already doing better than I did. Trust me, skip the unrestrained spending on going out phase– it’s a dark and dangerous path.

Reach Out to Future Classmates

It’s never too early to start making friends! Follow the Brown University Incoming Class of ‘28 page on Instagram and reach out to people that you want to get to know. You will feel so much better about the transition if you have people to hang out with once you get to campus. Even recognizing some familiar faces will make you feel way more comfortable and confident during orientation week.

Find Current Students and Ask Questions

If you’re feeling nervous about starting college, that’s normal! When preparing for freshman year, I wish I had reached out to current students to ask about the transition and life at Brown. 

Spend Time With your Friends and Family

While leaving for college is more of a “see you later” than a “goodbye”, it is still hard to be separated from your family and friends. Homesickness is inevitable. But I have learned a pretty powerful remedy to overcome overwhelming feelings of longing and heartache: memories. Spend your summer making memories with the people you love. Record them, take pictures. And know that when you return home for breaks, you’ll have it all again.

Enjoy Your Summer!

The best way to prepare for college is to enjoy your summer and your freedom from school! Don’t work too hard. Soak up the sun. Savor your mom’s cooking. Do everything and anything your heart desires. Before you know it, your summers will be 9 to 5s and internships. So, make the most of this summer before it ends!

Cassandra is a sophomore at Brown University studying Political Science and Economics. She belongs to Kappa Delta Sorority and is a member of Ivy Film Festival's Business and DEI teams. In her free time Cassandra enjoys getting a sweet treat with friends, reading thriller novels, and watching the Kardashians.