5 Important Things All Freshman Should Learn Within a Month

It’s only been a little over a month since college has taken full force, and with all honesty, it has been nothing but a big reality check for most of us. As freshmen, this transition may have hit hard. We now realize that we are no longer children in high school who have a support team of people holding our hands through life. We are now alone in the game. However, from my own personal experiences, I have gathered a list of five important things all freshman should learn within a month’s span in order to make this transition as smooth as possible.

Lesson #1: Buy a planner and get organized

During the first week of classes, your professors give you a list of tentative dates, known as the syllabus, that will lay out the game plan for upcoming assignments and exams in the semester. Take advantage of that syllabus. Write down every date even if it’s “TBA” in your planner or on your calendar to make sure that those dates don’t sneak up on you. For me, I have found it really helpful to have dates written down in numerous places (planner, calendar, phone, etc.) so that I can stay at least two weeks ahead on assignments in case I were to fall behind.



Lesson #2: Learn how to budget

Most freshmen are unemployed the first semester of college so they can learn to how balance and adjust to their new schedules. The majority of funds provided to them are either from their parents or close family members. Try setting up a budgeting system so that your funds can stretch as far as they can until you find a more stable source of income. Set a weekly limit, eat out less, and bargain shop if you have to. The less money spent, the more money you will have saved in case you run into an emergency.


Lesson #3: Get out and explore

For out-of-state and out-of-area students like myself, try to branch out outside of campus and explore your new surroundings. Take a day in town and learn where different places are such as the closest banks, hospitals, malls, or even restaurants. Don’t be that person that knows where nothing is and gets lost each time they step a foot off campus, especially of you go to college near a big city like here at Mason. You never know what D.C or any other city has in store for you.



Lesson #4: Make studying a priority

This is the big one of all. I know there a million and one things going in your social life. You want to meet new people and make the best of college while you are here, but you did come to school for one reason, and that was to learn. It is okay to stay in on the weekends to study for an exam or to write a paper that may not be due until later next week. Your friends will truly understand and respect you a whole lot more if decide not to hang out with them because you want to succeed. There will be so many other parties and functions to attend later on in the semester, you can miss a couple in order to get that A you deserve.



Lesson #5: Don’t be a follower – kick peer pressure in the butt

Just because your friends are doing it, does not mean you have to do it as well. If you’re not a drinker or a big party goer, then don’t put that stress on yourself to feel included because everyone is. Be yourself when it comes to this because only you know your limits. Often we find ourselves struggling with peer pressure from friends because they think you need to “loosen up.” You don’t. Politely refuse and give them your reasons why you choose not to engage in such behavior. It doesn’t mean you’re not any fun, but it does mean you have much dignity to stand up for yourself and be your own person. Like our parents always say, “Don’t be a follower, be a leader.”