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Things I Wish I’d Known October of My Freshman Year

I’m a junior. I’m more than halfway through my college career, as people like to remind me oh so often. It’s slipping by so fast, and looking back, I wish I’d known how to make the best of it.

1. You know that opening montage in Clueless where Cher goes, “Okay, so you’re probably going, ‘Is this like a Noxzema commercial or what?'”

Sometimes your life will be like that scene. And sometimes it will be like that scene where she’s crying on the stairs because she thinks she’s not good enough, except you probably won’t have a boyishly adorable Paul Rudd to comfort you. When I was a freshman, everybody spent so much time telling me how great college was that I was sure I was “doing it wrong” every time my life wasn’t perfect. Not even the glorious utopia that is college is perfect all the time, so don’t be ashamed to admit that things aren’t perfect and get help if you need it.

2. You may have met your best friends by now. You may not have.

Don’t hold on to friendships that don’t feel right because they were your best friends the first week of school. Don’t feel like if things are rough you’ll never make other friends. I have made a new friend every single semester of college. I still have best friends from my freshman hall, and I can promise you, I have best friends I don’t even know yet, plus all the amazing people I met in between.

3. You will mess up.

For me, it was a 63 on an exam worth 20 percent of my grade. I cried for hours and for the rest of the semester would make my hall counselor check all my grades for me because I was too afraid to look. I did fine in that class, went on to major in that department, and am, despite what I believed in that moment, still at Davidson and stronger for it. 

4. Study with friends.

It might be less productive in that moment, but you will burn out really easily if all you ever do is work. It’ll keep you more productive in the long-term.

5. Make irresponsible decisions sometimes.

Stay up all night watching movies on a week night, flirt recklessly, or turn off your alarm because you need the sleep more than you need to be in class once in a while.

6. Be responsible when you need to be.

I know I’m being contradictory, but it’s a fine line. Don’t be too serious, don’t be too wild. Take care of yourself, and that means taking care of your grades, your health, and your relationships, whatever that means for you. What I’m saying is, you won’t always be able to do what your friends at other schools do, but don’t study all day every day either.

7. OFFICE. HOURS.

Trust me. First of all, your professor is probably awesome and you’ll get distracted and start chatting about something you didn’t even realize you had in common. Second of all, you want advisors, recommendations, and all kinds of other things from professors. The more they get to know you the better. Third, it’ll demonstrate that you’re putting in effort. Never underestimate the importance of that.

8. Advocate for yourself.

When you need something, don’t be afraid to ask for it. Whether it’s of a friend, a professor, a classmate, or the administration, it’s more responsible to ask than to wait until you’re overwhelmed and melting down.

If you are interested in writing an article for Her Campus Davidson, contact us at davidson@hercampus.com or come to our weekly meeting Tuesday at 8pm in the Morcott Room.

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