Advice for Incoming Freshmen

Going to college can be scary. Whether you’re going far or staying in town, whether you’re living with your best friend or with someone you’ve never met, college is a combination of new experiences and emotions.

1. You’re going to cry. Probably a lot. And that’s not a bad thing.

When I got to school, I was full of confidence. I wasn’t worried about leaving my parents or living in a new place. I thought I had everything under control. Fast forward a week later, I was a mess. Trying to juggle making friends, starting classes, and being away from home really hit me when I realized that college isn’t like summer camp. You don’t get to go home after a week. You don’t get to go out and have fun all the time. At first, it was hard. I cried. A lot. I was worried that I had done something wrong. Had I picked the wrong school? Would I ever have close friends? I worried that I was the only one feeling this way. Eventually, though, I realized that everyone starting college experiences these feelings, whether they admit it or not. It’s normal to feel homesick. It’s normal, and probably even healthy, to have a good cry from time to time. College is a hard transition, and it’s important to cut yourself some slack and leave time for your wellness as you learn the ropes.

2. Staying in some nights is okay.

One of the best things about going to college is the freedom of no longer living with your parents. In college, you’re free to do whatever you want, whenever you want. With that power though, comes great responsibility. It’s easy to get carried away with all the fun events happening on campus at all times, especially in the first month of school when you’re trying to meet people and find your place. Believe it or not though, college is four years. That means four years of opportunities to go out with friends as much as you want. It’s okay to take a night off every now and then just to relax. In fact, it’s good to take a night off every now and then. So go ahead and say no to the frat party that you don’t really want to go to, pull out a face mask, and put on your favorite movie.

3. It’s okay to stay in some nights, but don't stay in your dorm at all times

The first few weeks of school can be hard. Especially as you’re trying to make friends and find people to spend time with. It’s easy to end up isolating yourself in your dorm to do homework or watch Netflix instead of going out to meet people. DO NOT DO THAT! It’s much easier said than done, I know, but instead of doing homework alone in your dorm, reach out to a friend in one of your classes to study. You could ask your roommate or someone in your hall to head to the library or student union to get work done together. Of course, it’s okay to take time for yourself and focus on your school work, but it’s important to remember that college is also about meeting new people and creating bonds with people you genuinely enjoy spending time with.

4. You don’t have to be best friends with your roommate

This one can be a hard pill to swallow. Let me repeat, you do not have to be best friends with your roommate. You do not have to eat every meal together, go to every social event together, join the same clubs, or have the same friends. What is most important is that you live well with your roommate. If you and your roommate are best friends, that’s awesome. But if you’re worried about your relationship with your roommate, do not fear. As long as you are respectful of each other and openly communicate about what’s going on in your room, your relationship will be fine. In fact, I personally think it’s better not to be best friends with your roomie. Mixing close friendships and living together can lead to problems that will impact your friendship and your living situation.

5.  Making friends can be hard, that doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong

Starting new is hard. Especially when you’re going to a school far from home where you don’t know anyone. Making friends in the first few weeks can be hard. Although it’s cliche, it’s important to remember that everyone is in the same position. No one has a solid group of friends, no one has a best friend yet. It’s important to break outside of your comfort zone to meet new people. Keep an open mind, reach out to the people in your hall, chat with people in your classes, join clubs that interest you, don’t be afraid!

Another thing to remember is not to be hard on yourself. Friendship doesn’t happen overnight, you have to work to build relationships. It’s going to take time before you have a best friend or a solid friend group, but that’s okay. In time, you will absolutely find where you fit in.

6. Get used to walking, a lot

No matter how big or small your campus is, you’re going to end up walking. A lot. At Georgetown, even though it’s a relatively small campus, I have almost doubled the average distance I walk every day. Between going to classes, walking to friends’ dorms, walking to the dining hall, and walking to M street, I find myself on my feet a lot more than I was back at home. Be sure to have comfortable shoes to wear to classes!

 

Overall, college has been an incredible experience. After just 5 weeks, I can already say I’ve had some of the most memorable experiences of my life. Sure, I’ve had some rough patches, and I have definitely shed my fair share of tears, but I’ve also met amazing people, learned so many new things (in the classroom and out), and had the chance to explore D.C.