As a freshman going to college, you have a lot of expectations set for how your experience will be. It usually comes from movies, teachers, and parents where they express the best and worst parts of college. There were probably a lot of things you didn’t know when you first stepped foot on campus. Coming to UofL as a Junior transfer student from a community college was one of the hardest transitions I have ever had to make. It took me almost two months to feel okay about where I was at, and it was always a struggle trying to do things on my own. It was a new environment, a new school, and A LOT of new people. I didn’t have those first two years to get acquainted with the campus and make a bunch of new friends. But thankfully I had those that I already knew who were able to make the transition easier. Here are a few things that I wish I knew before going to college.
1. Your studying habits have to change
- Depending on how high school went for you, you probably didn’t have to spend hours upon hours studying for your exams. You could review your notes, maybe go through Quizlet a couple times and call it a day. But in college, it is not that easy. I can recall studying at least 10 hours over two days for a singular test I didn’t even make an A on. And, depending on the professor, they don’t really think that it is their duty to teach you all of the material. They consider it an enriching activity to go and spend hours of your time learning a chapter on your own. Not all provide study guides, and some don’t tell you what will be on the test. So, it is up to you to sacrifice hours of your time to learn and adapt to new ways of learning.
2. Relationships with professors matter
- When people yell in your face and bold it on all platforms that office hours are important, they mean it. There are so many reasons to become close with some of your favorite professors. You get to review your exam, regardless of the grade, and get a better understanding of the material one-on-one, compared to in a classroom of 100+ students. You will need them for future letters of recommendation when it comes time to job applications or grad school applications. It is also a great way to network and get to know other students who will have the same career as you in the future.
3. All of the safety features on campus
- Louisville can be a relatively sketchy city at times, and sometimes campus is the same. But UofL and other affiliated things provide many ways to ensure their students safety. One thing I love about UofL is their escort service. You call (502) 852-6111 and wherever you are and need to go to on campus, they will pick you up within a few minutes and take you there. There is also an app called WildFire where students can post about different things happening on and around campus, letting you know what to avoid or what may be occurring at that moment. Also, there is a thing called Rave Alert which will send you texts about anything that happens on campus that would affect students’ safety.
4. How to get involved on campus that isn’t Greek Life
- UofL is very heavy in Greek Life so as an incoming student, you might feel that is your only way to get involved on campus. But there are hundreds of student organizations on campus you can find through UofL’s website where you can meet some of your greatest friends. Greek Life isn’t for everyone, and that is okay! So, finding those organizations that allow you to get involved is so important, plus it looks good on resumes!
5. Late classes are fun, but early classes prep you for your future
- Not everyone is a morning person, myself included. But something I learned is that early classes will get you prepared for the potential 9 to 5 future you will have. You don’t have to start doing this Freshmen year, but Junior year is the more optimal time to start doing this and getting used to this schedule.
6. Not all books that are “required” are actually required
- I can definitely testify to the fact that the “required” books are necessarily required. You will probably spend hundreds of dollars buying or renting books if you don’t wait a week or so after classes start. It is always best to gauge the necessity of the book before you make the decision to purchase it. And majority of the time, you can’t sell it back and you will have a hard time finding someone to buy it from you. So, save yourself some money and consider if you actually need the book.
7. Partying is okay
- Sometimes people come to college with the mindset that partying is everything, and some think partying will lower their standards for themselves. In college, you will be put under a lot of stressful times. Whether it be tests, interviews, big projects, or whatever else. But going out with your friends and relieving the stress that you built up throughout the week can be one of the best things during college. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to, and if partying isn’t for you then that’s okay! Any type of activity you do with your friends that helps you forget about the stress of the week is a good activity.
8. Maintain and making friendships can be hard
- When you leave high school after graduating with your best friends who are all going to different colleges, you might think you can maintain those friendships. And you can! But it is incredibly hard. You go from seeing them every day to maybe once a month or once every few months. If the effort isn’t put in on both ends to continue the friendship, it is possible it will fall off. Making friendships isn’t that easy either. Especially for me as a transfer student, a lot of people already have their groups and sometimes people aren’t so keen on letting new people in. But I’ve found it is easier to make friends with people you might have jobs with or those who are in the student organizations you join, where you know you have something in common, and then you build from there.
9. What you wear doesn’t really matter
- In high school, your daily appearance might’ve been what would make you or break you. But in college, that’s just not the case. Everyone knows how stressful life is during college, so not everyone is super worried about waking up early to do your hair, get your makeup done, and everything else. Also, shocker, Vera Bradley and monogrammed items aren’t required in college like one assumed they were in high school. You can use and wear whatever you want, and not have to worry about anyone looking at you negatively for it.
10. On-campus jobs
- College is expensive, life is expensive, a lot of things are. And for the good amount of students who don’t qualify for work-study jobs but don’t have the time to have a job off campus, there are hundreds of jobs you can find online that allow you to work in offices, research labs, campus housing, and a lot more! UofL uses the website Handshake that will show you a lot of jobs you can apply for. What is even better is that the majority of the jobs will work with your schedule. Applying for campus housing is one of the best decisions I have made, and the people you meet along the way are such good people to have in your life!