5 Things I Wish I Knew as a College Freshman

Saying forget you to the freshman 15, taking chances and keeping an open mind will get you far ahead in your freshman year. I’m a senior writing for film, TV, and emerging media major at Ithaca College and the older I get, the more I realize that there’s always room for growth. When you first start college, it’s scary being away from home, it’s weird not being in the fishbowl of high school anymore but it’s the first step in figuring out this adulthood thing. Here are five things I wish I knew when I was a freshman.

Try out EVERYTHING even if it seems ridiculous!

Your freshman year is one of the few times you’ll have a LOT of free time, so use it wisely. Use that free time to join clubs, try a new class outside of your major and meet new people. Go to the clown pancake decorating event, you might just meet your best friends for the rest of your college career, or at least get to know your RA a little better. Join a frisbee club, check out a nerf gun meeting or even apply for a job as a campus tour guide. Your first year is the time to make connections and experiment with what you want to do. Have you always wanted to try yoga? Take a half credit morning yoga class to change up your routine. Curious about computer design? Take an intro computer science class and you might just want to change your career entirely. Use this time to figure out what you want and who you are.

Changing your major is COMPLETELY normal!

I started out as a writing major in the School of Humanities and Sciences. For a long time, I thought I wanted to write books, become a publisher or teach English. I loved my classes and my professors and I was on my way to graduating early, but I felt like something was missing. I always loved film and tv so when the writing for film, TV, and emerging media major was being offered at the Park school, I decided to make the switch. I was nervous at first until I realized a lot of my other friends were switching their majors. One of my best friends Christine Mckinnie, a senior emerging media major who develops websites, started out in cinematography. Christine says, “you should be open to new interests which can lead to new career paths.” Another one of my friends started out in playwriting and decided to go into cultural politics. I have many friends who switched their major at least three times! In college, you’re constantly growing and changing. I encourage freshman to start off exploratory and stay open-minded to fields that you might end up really liking.

The Freshman 15 is BS!

Remember what I said about constantly growing, this applies here! When transitioning from adolescence to adulthood, it’s completely natural to gain and lose weight. You’re adjusting to a new environment, new stressors are popping up and you’re growing up. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or that you’re not managing stressors in a healthy way, make sure to research into your school’s counseling and health services. At Ithaca College, I recommend reaching out to CAPS and if it’s a food-related issue, there’s a wonderful group called Making Peace with Food that you can join any time throughout the semester.

If you have the time, STUDY ABROAD!

The first semester of my senior year, I decided to “study away” with the Ithaca College LA program. During the initial application process, I was nervous about moving halfway across the country from my friends and family. I wasn’t sure if I’d like my classes and moreover, I wasn’t even sure if I’d like living in LA. In LA, I was able to push myself in my career and grow as a person. I loved the sunny weather, green juices and fast-paced work. I looked up to my colleagues and I realized what important steps I needed to take in order to advance my career.

DON’T let senioritis get the best of you!

Maybe your teachers cut you some slack for skipping classes. You're hanging out by the lockers and planning for prom but it’s not senior year anymore. You’re on to the next chapter of your life. And it should be exciting! Immerse yourself into your college environment, it’s scary but there’s a reason your here. Remember that reason and constantly push yourself.

Some apps that I use for managing time are Google Calendar, My Homework and Toggl. I make sure all of my classes, club meetings and school events are scheduled in Google Calendar, which should be connected to your Google Drive. All of my classes and homework due dates are scheduled in My Homework. And I use Toggl to track how much time I spend on each project I’m working on. This is what works for me but I challenge you to experiment and find what works for you, and if that means writing down events and homework in a planner, DO IT! If that means saving audio messages to yourself about assignments, DO IT! If that means organizing folders for pictures of your assignments, DO IT!

College is what you make of it so why not try?