5 Tips For Incoming Freshman

My freshman year of college was a whirlwind of moving, classwork, attempting to have a social life, and generally just adjusting to being on my own for the first time. Since I'm the oldest kid in my house, I didn't have an older sibling to pass down sage advice to me, so I decided I would be that wise older sibling for you, GSU 22! Below are 5 things I wish I'd known my freshman year and advice on how you can avoid (or take advantage of!) some of the mistakes that I made.

You Don't Need Stuff, You Need Storage

Most freshman year students will likely stay in a dorm on campus and it will generally be a smaller living space than you're used to. It may be tempting to bring everything from home, or worse, buy everything on those "What You Need For College" lists which can be a bit overkill sometimes. My advice is to bring less than you think you need of items (like clothes or decorations) that you can easily get in your new location and bring more of the non-negotiable items that can't easily be mailed to you after the fact (like mini fridges or storage bins). I had to lug a lot of items I never ended up using back to my house for weeks after I moved in, and in the meantime, they were just in the way.

Don't Pledge Your Freshman Year

I'm sure I don't have to tell you all to be social and join clubs that fit your interests! There are a lot of fun events to go to throughout the year like Homecoming, Six Flags Night, and more! However, for many, joining a sorority or fraternity has been a long-held dream, and college has unlocked a huge opportunity for you! That's great, and if you choose to pledge your freshman year, of course, that's a personal choice you make. However, I had heard from many of my upperclassmen friends that pledging your freshman year (especially during Fall semester) can be very distracting when you're still trying to adjust to the pace of college. I didn't listen and attempted to pledge in the Spring of my freshman year. I wasn't prepared for how intense it was and how many hours had to be put in on top of my classes and my job and I was perpetually exhausted. Finally, my balancing act fell, my grades dropped, and the first thing to go was pledging. It will be there next year! I'm now enrolled for this fall's recruitment, more chapters are open for me to explore than there were in Spring semester, and now that I have a much better idea of what it all entails, I adjusted my workload for the semester accordingly.

Use Your Student Discounts!

We all know that we have a few student discounts here and there that we can use now that we're in college ($5 Apple Music anyone?), but have you ever stopped to find out some of the amazing free and discounted offers your school offers you directly through your student fees? For example, GSU offers the entire Microsoft Office Suite for my devices free of charge every year that you attend! They also offer us a discounted membership to the Adobe Creative Suite for our own devices or you can access them free of charge on the school's computers! As a content creator, these are absolutely invaluable resources that I use on a regular basis. I also had a habit of eating chain-restaurants' take out when there were awesome local spots on campus that usually offered discounts of 10% or more! So don't waste money, guys!

Your Advisors Should Be Your Best Friend

As much as college can feel like one long social event, I promise we're here to get an education *wink wink*. There was often a temptation to ignore classes and homework for just five more minutes of sleep... I think of one the biggest things I learned during my freshman year is that your advisors are some of the biggest tools you have during your college career. I'm an honors student so I'm lucky enough to have TWO advisors, one for the honors school who has helped me navigate achieving honors' status within my three year time frame, and my business school advisor who helps me pick out the most beneficial classes for me and schedules them within the 3-year time frame I wish to graduate. Some of my friends didn't even know who their advisors were outside of the mandatory meeting we had to have once a semester. I made it a point to visit both of my advisors when I had questions or even when I was just feeling overwhelmed with the coursework. They could help me access other resources on campus I could utilize which brings me to...

Take Advantage Of ALL Your Resources

Guys. Freshman year is no joke. It's fun to be on your own and independent, meeting new friends, and finally taking the first steps toward a fulfilling career. But, you get out of it what you put into it. Again, I wasn't the first in my family to go to college, but all of my parents went to school more than a decade ago (2 for one of them) and things are a little bit different now, so it was frustrating when they couldn't relate to the struggles of how competitive scholarships are now, or how mental health can take its toll on new students dealing with financial struggles. Georgia State offers a physical health clinic for when I was too sick to function, a mental health clinic when it all became too much, a scholarship office where there are people to help alleviate the stress of paying for college, and so much more. At the end of the day, even when it feels like your professors don't care and financial aid is trying to screw you over, there are so many people at college who care about your success and will do everything in their power to help you. Take advantage of that. I didn't until it was almost too late and I urge you to seek out these resources early on so you always know where they are.

I hope this advice serves you all well! For those of you entering college this year, congratulations! It's going to be the best 3-5+ years of your life lol. Take your time and enjoy it the best you can!