Tips And Tricks To Help You Through Freshman Year

Freshman year of college is an exciting and intimidating experience. Some may know what to expect from others, and some are diving in head first. With my freshman year coming to a close, I've realized plenty of things I wish I knew before and during the school year. Here some of my tips and tricks that will help you through your freshman year of college!

Don't be afraid to meet new people

One thing I was definitely scared about this year was making new friends. I was worried I would spend the entire year alone. Luckily, there are several ways to make new friends! Before I even committed to Hofstra, I met lots of people, including my roommate, on the Facebook group for my graduation year. People post about themselves and what they are looking for in a roommate. This is a great resource if you're worried about being paired with a total stranger.

During my summer orientation session I met lots of people in the same situation as me. Chances are if you're nervous, other people are too! Don't be afraid to get to know your summer orientation leader and group. My roommate and I were in the same group, and we got to know each other better before move-in day. The orientation leaders are a great resource if you need any questions answered. Because I met people, the first few weeks were less intimidating. I felt comfortable knowing I wasn't alone. They always say that the friends you make at orientation won't last, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try!

Welcome week is when I met the most people. You are placed in a group with other first-years in your residence hall, and go to various welcome week events together. I met a lot of my closest friends during welcome week. Start conversations with members in your welcome week group! I loved getting to know where people were from and what their interests were. Even if you don't become the best of friends, it's nice to know a friendly face.

An obvious way to meet people is by joining clubs and organizations. Don't skip the activities fair during welcome week! Sign up for anything you may be interested, and back out later if you change your mind. You won't figure out what you're interested in if you don't try first! I've met some great people through the clubs I've joined. And, someday those people may just be the connections you need to succeed!  Image courtesy of Startup Stock Photos on

Join lots of clubs/organizations

Like I said before, getting involved is a great way to meet people and make personal and professional connections. Join anything you think you'll like, and decide if you'll continue with it. Along with that, don't join anything you don't want to. Don't give in to peer pressure to join or do something you're not interested in. If you don't want to join Greek life, then don't. If you want to play a club sport, then do it. This is your college experience to make the most out of the way you want to. 

Explore your campus

It is good to become familiar with both sides of campus so you aren't the stereotypical lost freshman wandering around. One tip is to create your class commute schedule prior to classes starting. During welcome week, my roommate and I walked around campus and found the buildings where our classes were. By the time the first day rolls around, you'll be a pro and know exactly where to go! Hofstra has a beautiful campus all year round, so why not explore it! There are plenty of Instagram-worthy spots on campus, especially during the spring!

Explore NYC

One of the best perks of going to school at Hofstra is the proximity to New York City! There are countless thing to in the city, such as seeing Broadway shows, visiting classic tourist spots, and trying amazing restaurants. If it's your first time in the city or your first time going alone, it is nice to have someone with you who knows the ropes. During welcome week, sign up for an Explore Next Door trip! Not only are the trips super fun, but you will learn how to navigate the local train stations, the Long Island Railroad, Penn Station, and the subway. If you're interested in finding cheap ways to see Broadway shows, check out my article "Broadway On A College Budget"!

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Take your classes seriously

If I ever have a lazy day where I don't feel like doing any work, I always remind myself how lucky I am to be here. College isn't cheap, so make the most of your education. One major pet peeve I have is seeing students being rude to professors. Your professors are there to teach you, not ruin your life (although it can feel like it sometimes). Remember that they are people doing their job as well.

As for classes, concentrate and do your work. You may have academic scholarships you have to keep up, so be sure to stay on top of your work. There are many great study spots on campus, so find the one that's right for you. Study groups can be a fun way to get your work done. Utilize the academic resources on campus and email your professors if you have questions.

Money/Meal plans

One thing I am guilty of this year is spending lots of money. With the local mall, Target, and trips to the city, money can just fly away. I didn't have a job on campus, so what was in my bank account had to get me through the year. When spending money outside your meal plan, buy the necessities first and foremost. A lot of basic supplies can be bought on campus, but other things must be bought elsewhere. You should treat yourself now and then, but within reason. Don't splurge on unnecessary things. 

Another thing I wish I knew was how little I go through my meal plan. As a freshman, you must purchase one of the top three highest meal plans. I selected the one that was recommended for students who eat three meals a day. Seems reasonable right? However, I often found myself not needing to eat three times a day. Now, I'm stuck with lots of money left in my meal plan as the year is coming to a close. Get the meal plan that you will actually use, not what you think is the safest bet. Although the food on campus can get old, don't buy all your food off campus. You have a meal plan, use it!

Use your free time wisely

Unlike high school, you have much more free time in college. It was a bit of a shock for me from having nine classes a day to only two or three. Free time can be a useful or dangerous thing. As much as you want to sit on your phone and laptop during that time, put it towards doing something useful! You can study for classes, do homework, work a job on campus, go to club meetings, etc. You are allowed to give yourself "you time", but don't waste all the extra time you have.

Go to the gym

I was never the one to workout, but I pushed myself to go to the gym this year. Whether it's running on the treadmill, lifting weights, or taking a fitness class, the gym is a great place to spend your free time. I'm always tired after a workout, but the next day I feel great. Even if you don't go every week, motivate yourself to go to avoid the "freshman 15".

Enjoy the experience

My first year in college was not what I expected, but in the best way possible. I've taken great classes, met amazing people, and experienced so much. I feel like I've grown as a person. I'm glad my first year was as memorable as it was, and I can't wait to see what the next few years will bring!

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