6 Things I Wish I Knew During my Freshman Year

  • It’s great to want to try new things, but overloading your schedule isn’t any better.


We’ve all been there. That young freshman self, ready to try every club and join every event under the sun because we’re afraid of missing out on our university experience. Whether it’s going to each party you’re invited to, or joining a plethora of volunteering opportunities, it all comes down to the same thing.


It’s hard to learn to manage your time when you’re not used to having as much freedom as going to college allows you. This was something I struggled with extremely in my first year. I overloaded my schedule with so many activities that on average, I slept four to five hours a night only, somehow still finding the time to grab food and work on my mountain of homework.


While it’s great to get involved, knowing your own limit is also an essential skill I’ve had to learn the hard way. It’s okay not to join three clubs at once even if they all interest you. It’s okay to choose just one volunteering experience per semester. It’s okay because you’re human and still need to make time to meet at the very least, your basic needs.


  • While it’s a chance to make new friends, you don’t have to get along with everyone. You don’t owe your time to anyone, and no one owes you time.


O-week (frosh week) is a time to meet many new people and create lasting friendships. Since most students are in the same frame of mind where they’re trying to make new friends, it becomes an easy task. You end up meeting a multitude of new people, some of which you may not get along with as well in the long-run as you spend more time with them.


I wish I had known that it’s okay to let people go if they aren’t exactly who you thought they were. I struggled with this immensely at first since I was living so far from home, 12 hours to be exact, and was dearly afraid of being left alone. This just aggravated the situation since I didn’t necessarily enjoy my time with everyone but was too afraid to distance myself from them. 


So it’s okay to not stay friends with people you meet during the first few weeks of your university experience. Choosing just a select few will allow you to make lasting and meaningful relationships instead. Quality over quantity!


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  • It’s okay to not miss home, but it’s also okay to miss it!


I am a very independent person. I felt very out of place since so many of my friends would call home every day and here I was, only wanting to communicate with my family on a weekly basis. Was it normal not to want to call your mother every morning? Was there something wrong with me? Yet, I’ve learned that I grow much more when I’m on my own than with my parent’s guidance. That doesn’t mean I love them less.


So it’s okay to not feel the need to communicate with your relatives as frequently as others. But if you want to, that’s totally fine as well! Do what makes you happy.


  • You don’t have to know how to manage everything right away, it’s a skill you learn and acquire over time.


Learning how to adult is not something you acquire overnight. It’s something you develop over a long period of time. I am nowhere near “ready” to live as an adult in my eyes, but I do. I know loads of people who are over the age of 30 and don’t feel as if they have the whole adult thing figured out either.


University or college is really an adjustment period where you learn to manage more and more responsibilities on your own. Slowly, by trial and error, you’ll learn ways to manage life by yourself. Between laundry, cooking, school, and other various activities, you have to find a balance that works for you.


For example, I cook my meals for the week on Sunday and eat the same thing every day. I spend more time doing other activities I deem more important that way. But many of my friends can’t eat the same thing every day and would rather spend more time cooking since that’s what they enjoy doing. That's totally okay too!

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  • It’s okay not to like a class, but don’t let it change your outlook on the overall program/degree you’re currently accomplishing.


This is one of the biggest mistakes I’ve done during my first year and heard many others do the same thing. Most programs, regardless of which one, will have a few core classes that are mandatory for you to take, although you might not want to take them. Then, as a result, people completely change programs and tell themselves that they're not up to it because of these select classes. 


However, don’t let them discourage you. In the grand scheme of things, they are just a minimal portion of your university career, so simply do them. Get rid of them as early as possible in order to be able to enjoy your upper year classes that are much more geared towards your future educational goal.


So don’t let yourself be stopped by one or two classes that might not be for you!


  • It’s okay to take time for yourself.


There’s nothing more important in university than your mental health. Yes, of course, your education is also a major important part of your journey, but you have to make sure to make time for yourself.


So many people I know have not properly taken care of themselves during their university years, and in turn, have suffered. Make certain that between all those midterms, assignments, and labs, that you make sure to take that candlelight bath that you truly deserve.

Your physical and your mental health matter. You matter.

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