Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
/ Unsplash

10 Things to Know About Freshman Year

Dear NU Freshmen,

Welcome to campus! I’m sure by now you’ve realized a few fundamental college truths: sleep is rare, dining food is eh and your life is way different than it was a month ago. However, there are still a few things you guys have yet to learn.  Here’s a compilation of ten things every freshman should know during their first few weeks on campus.


  1. Set reasonable expectations. As Northwestern students, it’s safe to assume that we all want to succeed academically. However, it’s important to understand that college is fundamentally different than high school. Expectations have changed, lectures are harder, and the work load is larger. It’s hard to get a 4.0 – and you shouldn’t think that you have to! Allow yourself to understand that this quarter is a transition and the first “B” of your life won’t kill you!    

  2. Go to office hours. Just for emphasis: go to office hours. Your professors are there to help you in any way they can – take advantage of the time they set aside to help their students! They’re the best resource for any questions or concerns you may have – they teach the class after all.    
  3. Take life step by step.  Say you have a five-page paper due tomorrow, a test the next day and about 200 pages of reading to get done by the end of the week. Pause, breathe, and prioritize. College will throw a thousand tasks your way, and it’s important to understand what needs to get done now – and what can wait until tomorrow. It’s not healthy to stress about everything at once. Make lists of everything you’d like to get accomplished in a day, and do your best to check off these lists. Working step by step will help conquer that laundry list of work in no time.      
  4. It takes more than 10 minutes to walk from North Campus to South Campus (contrary to what some people think… or unless you’re running). Give yourself enough time to get to classes. Unless you’re really tall or walk really fast, ten minutes will not give you enough time to get from Elder to Fisk.      
  5. Its okay if you lose contact with the friends you made during Welcome Week. Right now, most of you are still probably semi-close with all of the friends you made during Wildcat Welcome, and that’s great! However, it’s totally normal, and healthy, to branch out and meet new friends. Don’t be afraid to continue meeting new people!      
  6. Get involved! Northwestern has an incredibly large number of student organizations on campus – there’s bound to be something everyone is interested in! Joining a student club is a great way to meet new friends, get to know upperclassmen, and make your mark on the Northwestern community.    
  7. Find your go-to study spot. Studying in bed will probably lead to unintentional sleeping more frequently than you’d like.  Find a place on campus – the library, Norris, dorm lounge, etc. – that works for you! If you need background chatter, Norris and the Starbucks on Sherman (Sherbucks) are prime locations. However, if you prefer a quiet area, University Library might be the place for you.    
  8. Take advantage of Chicago. Northwestern students are lucky to be a train ride away from one of the largest cities in the U.S. – take advantage of it! You can go to an improv show, the zoo, the bean – the city is filled with fun things to do and see! Take advantage of everything Chicago has to offer while you still can. Besides, it’s not healthy to be stuck in the Evanston bubble all the time.  
  9. Northwestern students are talented! Whether it be a capella, theatre, or dance, we have student groups that do it all! Throughout the year there are tons of ways you can see the talent on campus – and sometimes shows are even free! It’s a great way to spend an evening away from the books.    
  10. You only have all of these new experiences once.  Last, but certainly not least, remember: you’re only in college once. Four years may seem like an eternity to you right now, but senior year comes faster than you think. Study hard, have fun, and take it all in – after all, these are the best four years of your life.  

Hopefully these tidbits of advice will help make your freshman year one for the books.

Welcome to Campus ‘Cats!



Similar Reads👯‍♀️