5 Things All Incoming Freshman Should Know

I'm sitting here writing this, scrolling through Facebook at all the "insert college name here class of 2021" posts and all I can think about is when that was me. I remember the day I posted the "College of Charleston Class of 2019" on Facebook and how excited I was that I finally made a decision. I was ready to embark on the best four years of my life and now I'm a second semester sophomore and halfway done with college. How did that happen? Where did the time even go?

I can without a doubt say that college has been the best years of my life. The people you meet here are truly incredible and they aren't kidding when they say that you will find yourself. Whether that's through joining a new club or taking a class that doesn't count towards your major, you may be surprised with how much something lived up to your expectations and changed you. Most of what I've experienced throughout college I was never told and I had to figure it out on my own. So, here are five pieces of advice to all of the incoming freshman so they can make the most out of their four years. 

1. Go to orientation.

Photo courtesy of Odyssey.com. 

My school required that freshman go to orientation, but some schools don't require it. Go. Whatever you do, please go. You'll make friends there, find out what classes you should take and learn how to navigate your school. 

2. It's perfectly normal to be homesick and it's perfectly normal to never want to call home. 

Photo courtesy of Fastweb.com. 

I was the type of person that as soon as my parents dropped me off at orientation, I was ready to be on my own and enjoy my freedom. Since that day, I barely call home and I'm okay with that (my parents aren't though). If I could go to school across the country, I would. But I know plenty of people who are homesick and that's okay too. Everyone is different and everyone deals with it in different ways.  Just remember, you're not alone in how you feel. 

3. Do your research before choosing a professor or buying books from the bookstore. 

Photo courtesy of Washjeff.edu.

Sites like Rate My Professor give you ratings of professors from students who have taken them, as well as what to expect in that class. It's always a good idea to compare professors before choosing which one to go with. Also, don't buy your books! It's usually cheaper to rent and even though your college bookstore may have cheaper prices to rent than to buy, there are even cheaper options online. Before you click submit on purchasing a rental book at the bookstore, check out sites like Chegg and Amazon. There are even sites where you can compare rental books among online book sellers. 

4. You make your own decisions and know what you decide to do really does matter.

Photo courtesy of Geneso.edu. 

No one is going to hold your hand here and tell you what to do. Unlike high school, your professor won't hunt you down if you didn't turn in a paper. You'll just end up with a zero for the assignment. If you want to not show up for class for a month, that's your own choice but know that there's consequences. Only you are resposible for your decisions and it's only you that those decisions will hurt. It may not be so easy playing catch-up when there's a few weeks left of the semester and you have read nothing for the class. 

5. Say yes to people and say yes to activities. 

Photo courtesy of UCDavis.edu.

Welcome week is one of my favorite weeks of the year because I get to meet new people and check out the new clubs on campus. Even though I'm in a million different clubs, I always make sure I sign up for e-mails so I can hear about upcoming events. Even if you aren't interested in that club or event, there usually is free food and who doesn't love free stuff? By joining clubs and going to more activities on campus, you open yourself up to meeting a lot of different kinds of people too (not just the people in your classes). This is a great way to make new friends and just see what you're interested in. Shake off the fear of the unknown and just say yes!

College is truly amazing. So far, I can't think of anything that compares to the friendships I've make here or the experiences I've have. To incoming freshman, college may be scary and exciting and you'll have to figure out a lot of things on your own, but that just adds to the experience.