Freshman 15: The Advice Edition

Welcome to Clemson, Class of 2021! However, if you’re someone else reading this article, welcome, too!


The beginning of college has officially begun. Day one of classes is complete, convocation is over, and freshman year is shiny and new.


As a sophomore at Clemson this year, I have been in your shoes before; completely excited and equally as terrified. Looking back on one of the best years of my life, I have compiled a list of advice I wish I could have learned earlier.


1. Be Scared and Go for It Anyway

Freshman year is full of completely new experiences. From trying to find your general biology class, to going to your first college party, these simple activities can seem giant and frightening. As a freshman, I was scared of things like talking to new people and eating in the dining hall by myself. And yes, these things can be scary, but don’t let your fear hold you back. Go into every day challenging yourself to talk to someone new or try something different. There are so many experiences waiting for you to just take the jump.


2. Ask for Directions

This may seem really silly but, if you don’t know where your class building is, ASK SOMEONE! Nobody is going to judge you for not knowing where something is. As an upper classman, I know how hard it is to find different buildings on campus when you’re new. Just ask. People are more than happy to help.

3. Meet Your Hall Mates

One of my only regrets from freshman year is not meeting the girls on my floor. I heard so many amazing stories of hall mates becoming best friends. My freshman hall never became close. Don’t miss that opportunity like I did! You never know what can happen until you try, so go out there and meet those girls!


4. Get an Agenda

Seriously. Just do it. College is too busy not to have one. You don’t want to be the kid that shows up in class not knowing there is an exam that day because you didn’t write it down.


5. Ask For Help

Whether it be help in classes or help for your physical and emotional wellbeing, don’t be afraid to admit you need it. Life isn’t meant to be lived in solitude; humans need each other to support one another and to be in relationship together. Don’t be scared that you won’t be able to do something on your own and don’t be afraid to need another person. You aren’t being a burden and, chances are, they’re going to be super supportive and willing to assist you. Asking for help is a sign of bravery, not of weakness.


6. Walking Home From Class Is The Perfect Time To Call Your Mom

Your parents are going to miss you when you go off to college. Even if you’re busy, remember to call them. They just went from spending almost every day for 18 years taking care of you to you now being gone. Also, don’t be embarrassed about missing your parents! This is a two way street. They care about you and are wondering how you’re doing, and you care and miss them too, so call! You can call even if it’s when you’re walking back to your dorm for 10 minutes.

7. School Spirit is Valued in College

This isn’t high school anymore; being happy to go to your school is now a cool thing. The more school spirit you have:

  • The more fun you’ll have

  • The more you’ll enjoy your college experience

  • The more you’ll find yourself trying new things like going to random sporting events

  • The more people will want to be around you

Having school spirit, especially at a school like Clemson, is crucial to a full college experience. So go to every game, cheer as loud as you can, paint your entire body, and GO WILD! Nobody will judge you for it now!


8. Try To Meet One New Person Every Day

College can get lonely and if all of your friends are busy or in class, you may find yourself alone. Use that as an opportunity to talk to someone new. Meet the people that sit beside you in your classes or sit with a stranger at lunch. You would be surprised at the great conversations that begin while making a peanut butter and jelly next to a fellow sandwich enthusiast.


9. You Are Allowed To Be Alone

On the flip side, you may feel as if you’re never alone in college. Everywhere you look there are hundreds of students and your room now no longer belongs to just you. It’s completely normal and okay to need alone time. Go for a walk, take a drive if you have a car, or just go sit by the lake. Use that time to reflect and relax. You deserve it.

10. Take a Class Outside Your Major

One of my absolute favorite classes I have taken was a salsa dancing class. Can I dance? I like to think so. Could I salsa dance? No, absolutely not. But, thanks to the encouragement and dedication of my best friend, now I can! Grab your roommate, or your significant other, or just a friend, and go take something completely outside of your comfort zone together. I promise you, you won’t regret it.


11. It’s Okay To Want/Not Want To Party

Every person is different. During your freshman year you’ll meet a lot of people who really, really like to party. They’ll try to tell you it’s the best part of college and that you’ll miss out on the “entire college experience” if you don’t end up drunk every Friday night. Don’t listen to them if you know that isn’t something you want to do. If you do want to go out, go for it! That is totally okay as well! Be safe, and bring a buddy. Either way, whether you like to party or not, don’t let others opinions influence your values. Stick to your guns.


12. Things Probably Won’t Go Exactly How You Planned

If you are anything like me, you might have the next 5 years of your life already planned out. You know exactly what you want, what you need to do, and how you are going to get there.

That is all fine and good but, chances are, life is going to get in your way. You might go into school thinking you’ll love it but end up wanting to transfer. You might hate the major you thought you were meant for. College is a place for growth and development and your interests and desires will most likely change. It is alright for things to not go as planned!


13. Take Photos

Be that annoying friend who always pauses to take photos. Take them of the little things, of the huge moments, of everything. You’ll only regret the moments you missed capturing.

14. Pick a Major Based on Happiness, Not Money

This is one of the biggest pieces of advice I can give: do not pick a profession based solely on how much money you’ll be making. I firmly believe that you should pick a job based on your passions and pick something that makes you feel happy to be alive another day. You will live a much fuller life following your passions than trying to receive a huge paycheck.


15. Have Enormous Dreams

As cliché as it sounds, don’t be afraid to dream big! If you want to do something you’ve never done, do it. Fail. Fail again. Failure is a lesson. Keep trying. Nobody is born knowing everything or being great at everything. Ask questions. Do whatever it takes to achieve the things you’ve only had the guts to dream about. Make progress, however slow. Just keep trying and keep dreaming giant-sized dreams.

Now is the time to chase them.