20 Things I'd Tell My Freshman Year Self

As a current sophomore in college, I’ve had my fair share of freshman year mistakes. We’ve all been there - thrown into the new world of college. It’s been a year and I’m realizing there’s so much my naïve freshman year self just didn't know about college. 

Here are a few things I would tell my freshman year self. 

1.    Don’t schedule 8 am’s. I learned this the hard way first semester of freshman year. Waking up at 7:30 3 days a week for an entire semester is very, very draining. And you will skip class simply because you physically can’t get out of bed. Yes, you might be done early but you’ll likely spend those hours free taking a VERY long nap. And in fact, you won’t want to do much at all during those hours. Unless you’re an early bird of course, then props to you!

2.    Party to meet people. The hookup culture in college is in full-force freshman year. It never really dies down but you can choose how you want to spend your time at a party. It’s fun hooking up with guys at parties, but you’ll soon learn it’s much more fulfilling to socialize. Go to meet people and make connections. Because in college, you never know who you’ll meet.

3.    Don’t expect to find the perfect guy for you at a party. You’ll meet tons of people in college, but if you’re looking to settle down, don’t settle for finding “the one” at a party. Don’t search for someone, because if you’re meant to meet them it’ll happen. I have heard success stories about people meeting their girlfriends/boyfriends at parties but the chances of that happening are as slim as finding a sober frat guy at a party.

4.    Make a ton of friends but make sure to keep them too. It’s hard to keep all the people you’ll meet in your college career close to you. You’re going to meet a ton of people in college, especially the first year. The hardest and easiest way to develop a friendship is simply reaching out. And don’t just stop at that - CONTINUE to reach out. And if they don’t respond then that’s their problem.

5.    Don’t expect to get super involved freshman year. People always say “get involved in college.” And yes it’s great to get involved but don’t feel the pressure to try every club. You might go to one meeting and realize the club’s not for you and that’s okay. You’ll eventually find a couple clubs or organizations that you really want to stick with. And this might take a lot longer than the first semester of freshman year.

6.    Don’t expect to make all your friends through organizations. Unless you’re super involved in the club or organization you join, you probably won’t make all your friends in it. A lot of people join with friends, and it can be difficult to find your people right away if you don’t dedicate your time to the organization.

7.    Don’t compare your journey to anyone else’s. Just because you still haven’t declared your major and you just finished the first semester doesn’t mean you’re lagging behind. Just because you don’t have a job or haven’t had an internship or much experience at all doesn’t mean you’re not the right candidate for any future jobs. Don’t pressure yourself to be ahead or catch up to your peers. Everyone moves at their own pace in life, and you need to follow your own beat, no one else’s.

8.    Don’t follow through on those midnight cravings all the time. Yes, you may have a full bag of chips on the shelf next to your bed or an unopened Ben and Jerry’s in the freezer, but try not to eat all of it before bed. The freshman 15 is real, and eating a lot of food before bedtime is a very unhealthy habit. If you feel hungry before bed, either drink lots of water and go to sleep, or have a better, lighter snack.

9.    FOMO shouldn’t control your social life. FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) tends to consume lots of people’s minds, especially my freshman year self’s. It’s no surprise that FOMO will push someone to go out, even if they don’t necessarily feel like it. It’s okay to not be social for a night and chill in bed and watch Netflix. There will always be another party. Don’t feel like you’re missing out on happiness just because you really don’t feel like doing what everyone else is doing.

10.    Be open-minded. You never know when a closed-mind will close you off from opportunities and when an open-mind will open you up to opportunities. Try not to judge too much around you, and be open to the possibilities of just about everything and everyone.

11.    Spend time with a variety of people. To really find where you fit, you shouldn’t be constantly with the same person all the time. Make sure to put yourself out there, and be okay with exploring friendships and/or relationships with many different people and you’ll eventually find the ones that stick.

12.    Always bring your rain jacket. In Florida, you never know when it’ll start and stop raining. So to be safe, always bring your rain jacket or umbrella with you so you’re prepared.

13.    Befriend people in your classes. This is important because it’s always nice knowing that if you need help in a class, you have a classmate to ask. Or if you miss class, it’s nice having a friend who can catch you up. A lot of the time, it’s hard making friends in classes if they’re large lectures and there’s not much talking allowed, but it doesn’t hurt to know someone in your class.

14.    You will find yourself, but give it time. Don’t pressure yourself into choosing a major just because you haven’t yet. Don’t plan everything. You will discover what you like and it’ll all kind of happen naturally. Give it time.

15.    Take care of yourself. If you’re gaining weight, then recognize it and start working out. Go to the gym, maybe skip dessert a few times. Try to get 8 hours of sleep every night and don’t drink if you’re sick. Try not to destroy your liver if it’s not too late, and protect yourself from dangerous situations. In college, it’s easy to develop unhealthy habits, but you can always change that. 

16.    If you have to pay for the party, just don’t even bother. One Saturday night, I really wanted to go out and the only thing happening was not a frat party, but a party off campus that cost $10 to get into. It was so not worth it. Don’t throw away your money for one night unless you know for sure it’s worth trying out.

17.    Don’t try so hard