What I Wish I Knew Freshman Year, From a Graduating Senior

Some people say college will be the best four years of your life. I heard that one too many times to count. But the reality is, college is hard. You have to make friends, have a social life, eat well, get an internship, work part-time, study hard and get good grades all at the same time. 

I was golden in high school but when I came to college, everything changed. Here are some of the things I've learned along the way. 

  1. 1. The First Week of College is Essential 

    The transition from living at home with your family in high school to living on your own in college can prove to be difficult. Most colleges try to make the transition as smooth as possible for their incoming students. That’s why it’s so important to be present for the first week of college. It’s during this first week that students will begin to meet new people and find their friend groups. Don’t miss out on the social events that occur during the first week, and moreover, the first weekend of school. And please, please, please don’t be attached to your phone, talking to your friends or significant other for home. I promise you, you’ll regret it.

  2. 2. You May Not End College with the Same People You Started it With

    As important as the first week of school in building a social life for yourself, you may not end college with the same people that you became friends with the first semester or even the first year of college. When you first come to college, everyone’s just trying to find their way through the transition. They want to find a group of friends. But you’re going to meet new people constantly. Who you thought would be your best friend throughout college may turn out to be a stranger to you by the time you graduate. This is okay! People grow and change.

  3. 3. Attend Every Event That You Can 

    Take advantage of all of the opportunities that your school offers you. Most universities put on events weekly, if not daily, that are free for students. Go to the club fair and join a new club or a few new clubs that interest you. Attend a production put on by the drama department. Watch a sports game. Just do something to get involved- something that gets you out of your dorm for a little while. College is what YOU make of it. There’s no one around telling you what to do anymore.

  4. 4. Take Advantage of Your College ID

    As students, we always have our college ID’s on us anyway, so don’t forget that you have it when you’re off-campus. Most of the time, local restaurants and retail stores offer a student discount with a valid college ID. Who doesn’t love to save money?!

  5. 5. All Those Snacks are a Bad Idea

    woman wearing black shirt eating popcorn

    Okay seriously, be careful with this one. For most people, this is the first time you’ll be the one to decide what to eat every day, all day. There is access to food at Hofstra 24/7, mostly junk food. Try to be mindful of your choices when it comes to food. And try not to eat when you get stressed out. Next thing you know you’ll eat an entire bag of party-sized Doritos at 2 a.m. Trust me, the freshman fifteen is real.

  6. 6. It's Okay to Say No

    You don’t have to say yes to everything. If there’s something you don’t want to, simply don’t do it. This may be easier said than done, but you control your decisions. Don’t let someone talk you into going to a party that you don’t want to go to. Don’t let someone talk you out of a party that you do want to go to. You make your decisions. 

  7. 7. It's Okay to Fail

    neon sign "people fail forward to success"

    You failed a test-- so what? It’s okay to get a bad grade. Don’t make a habit of it but don’t beat yourself up over it either. A bad grade just means you have to dedicate more time to that class. It’s not the end of the world that you failed your math test. We’re required to take general education classes, which basically means we have to take one class in every subject. But not everyone is good at every subject, so don’t be too hard on yourself. Talk to your professor, go to office hours and devote more time to studying. Remember, your professors want to help you!

When you start college as a freshman, you think you have so much time. You don't. So make the most of the time you do have.