The Freshman 15: 15 Things I Learned During my Freshman Year

1. Your roommate and you don’t have to be best friends

Living in the dorms is usually a death-sentence for any friendship, which is why most people say not to live with your best friend from high school if you’re going to the same college. Because you live in such a small space and already have so many things on your plate, many people don’t end up being friends with their roommate or get along with them. Finding someone who has a similar sleep schedule and has the same study habits as you will make for an amicable living situation. You don’t have to be buddy-buddy with your roommate, all you have to do is coexist with them.

2. It’s okay to miss your parents

When I said goodbye to my parents, I won’t lie, I cried a little. I also won’t lie when I say, it’s really hard at first, especially if you live 14 hours away from your family, like me. Making friends and keeping yourself busy by joining clubs and exploring Fort Collins makes it a lot easier. Just remember, your parents are having a hard time too; don’t forget to call them every once in a while.

3. There are so many ways to get involved on campus

CSU has a trillion different ways to get involved and meet people, and all you have to do is get out of your bed. Each residence hall has their own council and usually holds meetings just downstairs from your room. The rec center also has numerous ways to get involved. From disc golf teams to different cycling classes, you’ll never be bored. CSU also has student organizations (student orgs) for every interest possible, and if there isn’t one you like, you can start your own. 

4. Dining hall food is great at first, but eventually it sucks

Yes, the first month of school, the dining hall has the best food. But three months in, the same food gets old and boring. The best ways my friends and I have found to combat the dining hall food, is to try different ones out. The different halls may not be close to your dorm, but sometimes the walk is worth the change of food choices. 

5. Use all of your meal swipes, you paid for them after all

Or someone did. You only get so many a week and they don’t roll over, so don’t let them just disappear into thin air. Go to express if you can’t use them all on actual meals and buy some snacks, because 2:00 a.m. homework munchies are real. And if you don’t want to use your meal swipes on yourself, use them to give back to the community and donate them to those in need through the many programs aimed at helping food insecure students. 

6. Making new friends is really strange at first

For me, I hadn’t made new friends since 6th grade, so the thought of having to make new friends was really scary at first. You don’t know who to talk to and what to talk about and you don’t want to come off as crazy, but you also don’t want to come off as fake. It’s a weird balance, but everyone else is in the same boat as you. Leaving home for the first time, living on your own, trying to figure out your entire life is a lot, and remembering that everyone else is feeling the same way as you is comforting.

7. Keeping a planner is a great way to stay organized

I also have it color-coated with a different color for each class. A planner isn’t for everyone, but finding some way that works for you to keep yourself organized will help keep your stress low and your grades high.

8. Go to class

Someone somewhere paid for you to be in class, and if you do the math, each day of class costs about $60. Going to class also has a trillion benefits, from getting test answers, to getting extra credit clicker points, there are very few reasons to skip your classes. The advantages of going far outweigh the need for you to stay in bed or watch another episode of your TV show.

9. Take advantage of office hours

Teachers literally sit in their offices and wait for you to come in and ask questions. You don’t even have to go to ask questions either. Go in and just have a conversation with them; they have a billion connections in the real world and will be more willing to help you or let you in on more opportunities in the future if you build that relationship now.

10. Make friends in your classes

And get their contact information. These are the people who you can form study groups with, or just another friend to have in college. You can get homework answers from them if you forget, or just have someone to have side conversations in class with when the lecture gets boring. 

11. Don’t spend the entire year in your room

Like I said before, there are so many ways to get involved on campus and your student fees pay for a good portion of them, so why not go out and do something, considering you’ve already paid for it. Plus, lying in bed all day re-watching Friends for the seventh time gets boring.

12. Microwaveable food will save your life

Sometimes, it’s really hard to get out of bed, especially after a long night of partying. Having some food that you can just pop in your microwave instead of walking to the dining hall is great. Some of my favorites include mac and cheese (Express has these!), oatmeal (again, express!), popcorn, microwave meals, microwave pasta and frozen chicken nuggets.

13. Splurge on a good fridge

My roommate brought our fridge this year, and I hate to say it, but it’s trash. It’s small and the temperature is hard to control. Either things don’t stay frozen, or everything freezes, including your milk. Get something that you can stuff leftovers in and keep frozen meals in, especially if you’re going with a small dining plan, such as the 10 meals a week.

14. You won’t have enough time to keep up with all of your old friendships

As sad as it is, it’s true. I really only talk to one friend from home, who I consider to be my best friend. And a long-distance friendship is really hard sometimes, so trying to keep multiple and still be a full-time student in college, is not an easy task. It is hard to think about at first, but you just eventually fade, and there is a mutual understanding that you haven’t stopped caring, but you just can’t put in the time and effort a friendship requires. It is always fun to reconnect when you’re both at home though, but don’t try to force yourself to stay friends with all your high school friends.

15. The dorms may not be the best, but leaving them is going to be sad

All my friends and I can talk about these days is moving out and how much we’re going to bawl our eyes out on move-out day. Living in the dorms hasn’t always been fun; from dealing with loud neighbors and disgusting bathrooms, there is a lot not to like. But living with all of your best friends is one of my favorite memories from the first year of college.