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5 Things I Learned My First Month of College

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 Colgate chapter.

There’s a part of me that still feels like it was just Orientation Week. I can still remember that strange feeling of being in a sea of unfamiliar faces, the frenzy of remembering names, and my step count regularly being somewhere north of 20,000.  But, here I am in the first week of October; the leaves are changing and I am unfortunately accompanied by the presence of midterms and papers looming over my head. 

When I arrived on campus I had many expectations surrounding my college experience, and while I can’t say it has been perfect, I wouldn’t trade these last few weeks for anything else. I’ve learned a lot about myself and our campus, like the best times to avoid the lunch rush at Frank or even learning about the existence of WebPrint. 

But, beyond these instances, there are some broad things I wish I knew before moving in. I wanted to take the time and reflect on what I have learned this past month or so. 


I know how incredibly comforting it can feel to retreat to your room and block everything out. I know it feels like that 3” memory foam mattress topper is calling your name. However, it is vital during the first few weeks to leave your room a decent amount besides going to class or getting food. Go study outside, have a picnic, or walk into Hamilton while the weather is nice. Go to that club meeting or watch the theater performance. The more you go out the more chances you have of seeing friendly faces and starting to build your circle.  I can’t stress enough the importance of not isolating yourself. Yes, your social battery will be running low, but it’s worth it in the long run.


There’s simply no avoiding it. First comes the scratchy throat, then the runny nose. Next thing you know you’re digging through your medicine box your mom made for DayQuil to make it to your 8am. Everyone knows it. Everyone hates it. You’ve got the common cold, or lovingly (lovingly…?) referred to as the “Colgate Cough” and there’s nothing you can do but wait it out. No matter how many times you wash your hands, you will get sick. But, we’re all in the thick of it together. Make sure to take time for yourself out of your new busy schedule.


Colgate has tons of resources to make your time on campus just a little bit easier. Check out the counseling center during walk-in hours if you find yourself needing some support. Go meet your administrative dean! They want to meet you. Go to your professors’ office hours. Even if you don’t have a specific course related question, just reintroduce yourself to them for a few minutes. Also, even though you are a freshman, you can start to learn about Career Services. I went to the “First-Year Jumpstart” and was able to take away some new information. Join religious groups or visit Chapel House if faith is an important aspect of your life. Making those connections is one of the best ways to feel involved and a part of campus.


To be completely honest, I can be quick to judge and make assumptions about people. It’s completely unfair of me to do so. However, college has created a great opportunity to practice giving everybody a chance, and it’s been for the better! Some of the people I have had some of the best times with so far are those I initially didn’t consider hanging out with. They don’t have to be your best friend, but when given the opportunity go hang out with them! You can learn lots from different people and create some great memories. Especially being an introvert myself, sometimes being around extroverts has helped me meet lots of new people. Again, this goes back to creating more connections. But, it’s important to not change yourself just to fit in. Being yourself will attract your people in the end! 


I remember being super self-conscious about eating lunch alone after class and people judging me. Now, I have come to realize that nobody cares. Nobody is paying attention if you are eating by yourself, we are all so preoccupied with navigating the Frank or the Coop lunch rush chaos. In fact, I look forward to eating by myself. It gives me a chance to unwind and take time for myself. 

The truth is that people progress through life at different paces and everyone is at a different stage in their life. Of course by no means when entering college is it possible to be fully prepared. There are some things you’ll only ever learn just by going through day-to-day college life, but I hope this list provides some solace for my fellow freshies. For the most part, I’ve had a great time here. Nonetheless, it is important to recognize that college isn’t easy. This adjustment isn’t easy. But, I’ve managed, and I’m sure you have as well, to do some things right.

Hi! I'm Emery and am a freshman at Colgate University. I love to write and love all things journalism, media, and current events. I'm interested in majoring in either geography or political science. Beyond writing, I'm an avid traveler and love to play the violin, bake, hike, and practice photography!