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As the school year comes to an end and before the stress of finals makes me so delirious that I am no longer able to form a coherent sentence, I would like to reflect on the key takeaways I’ve gained from my freshman year of college.


You Don’t Need As Much As You Think

Before the school year started, I naively believed that I needed as much stuff as possible since I am going to be living in a brand new place away from my family. My theory was that it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. While that theory still holds true in most cases, it didn’t apply when I was packing 12 towels, every single hair product I own, and a box of thank you cards (because you never know when you might need to thank someone in college in the form of a card). Anyway, you really need to dedicate time into thinking what you are actually going to be using in college and how much of it. For example, nobody needs 12 towels. Bring 2-3 and rewash them and you’ll be good.


The Freshman 15 Will Happen Quicker Than You Expect

Unfortunately, if you have bad will power, are easily influenced, and have good sized sweet tooth, the likelihood of you gaining the freshman 15 just increased ten fold. Before college I had engraved the idea in my head that I won’t eat the bakery items at the dining hall, go to the gym multiple times a week, and hardly eat out because why would I eat out when there is a dining hall? Well that was before I ate there and got sick of the food the first week I was there. It can be very easy to lose track of what your eating and how many Chipotle bowls you’ve had this week, but in order to prevent the Freshman 15 you have to be conscious of it.


Having a Job is Beyond Helpful

In college, having a job is necessary for many reasons. Not only are textbooks outrageously expensive, but it is important to learn indepence and not rely on your parents to pay for everything. With that said, your parents should still continue to help because I don’t know any college freshman that is ready to be an adult. It is also key to start saving money before you don’t have any money to save (i.e bills, children, insurance you get my point). Take advantage of not having to pay as many bills right now by preparing for the future and student debt. The only payments I have to worry about right now is my phone bill and supporting my Starbucks addiction.


Never Buy Textbooks Ahead of Time

As I type this I think about the $90 geography textbook I bought this semester that I have not used once. College is expensive enough as it is, so there is no reason to spend extra money you don’t have. Do not buy a textbook until you are absolutely positive it is necessary to pass the class. My professors would tell the class to buy the book and made this big speech acting as if this book was the answer to all our problems, when in reality quizlet will just suffice. Before you buy the book ask people who have already taken the class if they actually used it, otherwise you might as well save yourself some time and throw your money in the garbage instead of buying a book that’s only purpose is to collect dust on your desk. Conversely, some books are needed to pass the class and are really beneficial when studying, but you have to be wary of the ones that only exist to scam you.


The Stress Will Get To You

Not to alarm you but with pressure of getting a good grades, figuring out what it is that you actually want to do in life, saving money, and still getting a decent amount of sleep, the pressure can definitely start to weigh on you. It’s a learning process we all have to go through whether we are ready or not because life won’t stop and wait for you to catch up. The most important trait to learn in college is time management, a skill that is easier preached than practiced. However, once you start planning and utilizing your time efficiently the stress won’t hit you like a ton of bricks.


I honestly can’t believe I’m almost done with my freshman year of college, it has felt like a whirlwind. To have anticipated move in day so much, and finally being on my own to now having to pack for move out day is pretty surreal. Nevertheless, you learn a lot freshman year, especially about yourself so be prepared for some self growth.


Thanks for reading, V


Hi, I'm Vanesa! I am currently a Communication major at Illinois State University. I'm so thrilled to be a part of the HerCampus team because writing has always been a huge passion for me and now I have an opportunity to showcase that and grow as a writer. Besides writing, I love horror movies, dramatic tv shows, and iced coffee. I hope you enjoy my articles as much as I enjoy writing them so stay tuned for more! xoxo, V
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