6 Things We Wish We Knew Before Starting College

Even though it’s now my junior year, I still feel a faint freshman panic at the thought of going into a new semester. I try and plan to cope but I’m still somehow always at least a little, or worst-case scenario catastrophically, unprepared. But now, I at least know that this is a shared experience among pretty much everyone. So, here’s just a few tips and mistakes I collected from HCTNS writers and some friends to help ease you into the new semester whether you’re new or just returning and still feeling nervous. Learn from our mistakes.

1. Be very prepared for your bills and start thinking about your major early on.

“I wish I was taught more beforehand about dealing with bills and stuff, the more adult aspects of college. I also wish I figured out what I wanted to do earlier. I second-guessed myself before and now I’m playing catch up for all my major requirements.” – Joslyn, junior at Lang

2. Think carefully about what you actually need to bring to college – especially if you’re an international student a long ways from home and between places in the summer.

“I wish I knew I don’t need to pack so many clothes. I wish I knew how f*cking annoying trying to repack all that sh*t and move back was. I wish I knew all those hypothetical fancy one-time scenario outfits I packed are super unnecessary and these scenarios will NEVER. COME. UP.”

– Michelle, junior at the University of Melbourne

3. Don’t be afraid to make connections, friends, and put yourself out there!

“One of my biggest mistakes was not getting out more often and making friends. I stayed in my dorm all day and didn’t do anything because I was really shy, but it made me even more depressed. Don’t let your insecurities get in the way of being your best self!” – India

4. Be as organized as possible and take notes, you never know what will come up.

“Get a planner! Take it everywhere.” – Merlin

5. Don’t be hard on yourself for needing time to adjust, this stuff takes time.

“Just because you had everything figured out before college doesn’t mean it will stay that way. It’s okay to be confused and overwhelmed and what to do for your career. Stay the course and it’ll work out.” – Prim

6. Some of the best connections and networking happen right in class. So, don’t be afraid to ask for help!

“Try to build relationships with your professors and take advantage of their connections especially with internships cause that’s how I got my internship now that I love. Professors will also usually help you with cover letters/resumes and stuff - just don’t be afraid to ask for help because I almost didn’t and that would’ve been a huge regret.” – Logan

We hope this helps in some way or at the very least, lets you know you’re not alone in this. If you need more advice though, contact Nelly, our amazing local narwhal and advice columnist.