The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
As we enter the fall season, people all over the world are starting to figure out how to navigate the waters of the new school year. This is easier for older students who have gone through it before, but I know when I was a freshman, there were a lot of things that I didn’t figure out until late in the year, if at all. There are a lot of things that I wish someone had told me upfront. So, here is a list of seven things I wish I knew as a freshman.
- Go to class
As easy as it may seem to just skip one lecture, or to stay home if a class is optional, don’t do it! Go to your classes unless you have a real reason not to. It’s much easier to learn new material in a classroom environment that supports your learning than in your dorm room or the library. You also have better opportunities to ask questions about the material if you’re in the classroom, rather than having to send an email or a chat that may not be answered for a day or two. You’re paying a lot of money for this education, so take full advantage of it!
- Do the work
While we’re on the topic of classes, here’s my next tip. Do the work! You will pass almost every class you take simply by going to class and turning in your homework. It doesn’t even have to be done well! You should put in your best effort, of course, but there will be times when you’re not feeling great or there are other things going on in your life and you can’t put 100% effort into every single thing. Don’t beat yourself up about it! Just do what you can and get it turned in. Also, when exam season comes around, you’re going to be a hundred times more prepared if you’ve done the homework consistently throughout the semester than if you pull an all-nighter to study the day before.
- Get some sleep (at night)
This is one thing I definitely learned the hard way. The first semester of my freshman year I was up until 2 or 3 in the morning almost every day because I was so excited to hang out with my new friends and get the full college experience. Let me tell you, my mental health has never been worse than that first semester. If you want to really thrive and live your best life in college, you HAVE to get sleep, even if it means missing fun events sometimes. You’ll be able to focus better in class and really apply yourself in everything you’re doing if you’re well-rested.
- Save your money
Something I learned freshman year is that living on your own is crazy expensive, even if you have your parents helping out. You have to decorate your space, feed yourself, pay bills, and more. My tip here is to save as much money as you can. This might mean not buying that new phone, or suffering through dining hall food instead of “DoorDashing” McDonald’s. Unexpected expenses like flat tires or hospital trips will inevitably come up and you might have to shell out $200 to fix the problem. Save some money so that you’re prepared when those times come up.
- Stay organized
This is one of the most important tips I have for freshmen. Staying organized will help you so much, especially when it comes to classes. If you’re not organized, before you know it you’ll be sleeping through your final because you forgot to set an alarm, and no one wants that to happen. Everyone’s brains work differently, so find an organization system that works for you, whether it’s a planner, to-do lists, Notion, or something else. Know when your assignments are due, when big tests are, and when other events are going on. Being organized is one of the first steps to success in your college life.
- No one cares
When I started freshman year, I had horrible anxiety about doing anything, whether it was walking to class, getting food in the dining hall, or going to the gym, because I was scared people were going to judge me for whatever it was. I’ve learned through observation and experience that. . . no one cares! People are too busy worrying about themselves and what they’re doing to pay attention and judge you for the way you do an exercise or what you order at the Union Chick-fil-A. So, go try that new exercise that you’re not 100% sure how to do, or get that extra helping of dining hall pasta, and do what makes you happy.
- Put yourself out there
The final thing I wish I knew as a freshman is that you have to put yourself out there. Not to be harsh but if you don’t, you will sit in your dorm alone all the time, and that’s no fun. Go introduce yourself to your neighbor, talk to someone in class, join a club, play a sport, or go watch a sporting event. There are so many things to do in college, find something that fits you and try it. You’ll meet new people, make some friends, and hopefully have a lot of fun. Not only will putting yourself out there help you meet new people, but those people can also introduce you to crazy unbelievable opportunities that can help you after college.
So, as you start the school year, be sure to keep these things in mind. Take care of yourself and live your best college student life. Have a great year!