Class of 2023: What You Should Know Before Your Freshman Year of College

As the school year comes to a close, I wanted to draw upon some of the biggest lessons I’ve learned throughout my freshman year and instill some advice in those of you who are graduating high school very soon.


  1. 1. It’s okay to not know what you’re doing

    Moving into your first college dorm can be the most stressful time of the year (besides finals of course), and not everything is going to go smoothly. You might forget a few things, you might break something, the elevator might break and you could live on the twelfth floor (true story— this has happened to people! Thankfully not to me)— you name it. Just know that everyone is going to be as stressed as you are because this is a big change in your life!

  2. 2. Ask for directions  

    Let me tell you that Apple Maps really failed me my first week of college. I had looked up my classes on my interactive campus map and I left super early for my classes. Even though I had some direction as to where I was going, when Apple Maps told me that I had arrived at my destination as soon as I left my dorm, I freaked out. I had enough time to figure out where I was going only because I asked people for directions. If someone doesn’t know where you need to go, find someone who does! You never know, maybe you’ll find someone who’s going to the same class you are — you could make a friend!

  3. 3. Ask for help

    It’s a huge adjustment from high school to college. Some of your college classes are going to feel impossible, and you’re going to have days where you really just don’t want to go to class. You can eliminate all of those feelings just by going to office hours or forming study groups! Your professors and TAs are there to help you. Even if you’re struggling in a class, your professor could round you up if you’re close or if they know that you’re putting in the effort. Another good alternative is to ask the people in your classes who seem to know what they’re doing. Find a time where you can all sit down together and teach other concepts that you struggle to understand. More often than not, you’ll find that you know something that someone else doesn’t, and you can all help each other.

  4. 4. Put yourself out there

    This was by far the hardest yet most rewarding thing that I did. I remember the first couple days of the year — my roommate and I were so upset that no one would come to say hello even when we left our door open to make new friends. Until I started going up to people and introducing myself, nothing happened! Don’t be afraid to go up to somebody random. They’ll probably be grateful that you stepped out of your comfort zone to say hi to them because they were probably too shy or nervous to do it themselves! I met some of my really good friends this way, and I regret nothing.

  5. 5. You are allowed to say no

    I can’t stress this enough. YOU ARE ALLOWED TO SAY NO! Surround yourself with people who like doing the same things that you do. Regardless, if anyone tries to force you into doing anything, whether it’s going somewhere, doing something you’re uncomfortable with or consuming something that you don’t want— you don’t owe anything to anyone. There are times where it can be a good thing to get out of your comfort zone, but your safety comes first! I suggest investing in pepper spray or a keychain alarm because you never know when you’ll need it!

  6. 6. Enjoy every second of college

    College is a time to be alive. It can get pretty stressful at times, but there are so many memories you will make along the way. Cherish every moment of it because it goes by fast!

Good luck to the class of 2023! You are all going to do great things, and we at HCMSU wish you the very best!