The 10 Things I Wish I Had Known At the Beginning of My Freshman Year

Freshman year is hard and you will run into a lot of unexpected circumstances. These are some of the things I wish I had anticipated before starting Notre Dame.

1. You will probably fail a test (more than once) and it will be okay

Like all Notre Dame Freshman, I was an exceptional student in high school who rarely got anything below a B. Suddenly upon my arrival here, I was face to face with a course load and classes that I just couldn’t seem to get a handle on. I walked into one of my classes after taking an exam and waited to get mine back, as I glanced at the little blue book in my hand, there it was: a 36.  I literally did not know it was possible to do that badly on an exam, but lo and behold there it was. I felt like everyone but me was smart and that I didn’t belong here. I cried to both my parents and my advisor and eventually got the help I needed in the form of a tutor and wound up doing well in the class. This brings me to my next point,

2. It’s okay to ask for help

As those who were the tutors in high school, it is often hard for Notre Dame students to muster up the courage to ask for help, but the difference between those who do and those who don’t is obvious. You should never be ashamed to ask for help, and tbh, no one but you and your tutor ever have to know. When you are sitting in job interviews during your senior year of college, no employer will ever ask you if you needed a tutor to pass your classes; they just want to see that you passed. Asking for help will be a difficult blow to your ego, but the results will be worth it.

3. The people you meet during welcome week may or may not become your best friends, but you will find them

Movies tell you that you are supposed to meet your BFFs and future bridesmaids as soon as you step foot on your college campus, and while this may happen for you, chances are it won’t.  Don’t feel like you are stuck with the first people you meet. If it’s not the right fit, move on because there are so many other people in the same boat as you. I didn’t meet most of my current friend group until halfway through first semester, but trust me they were worth the wait. Don’t let the pressure of making new friends lead you to make the wrong ones. You will find the friends you were meant to have.

4. Most guys you meet are not trying to be your friend

To be fair, some are, but most aren’t. This one was hard for me because every time I meet a new person I try to make them my friend. I also rarely assume a guy likes me so if he’s nice to me I assume instead that he wants to be my friend. I came to the sudden realization that this was not the case when four of my closest guy friends all tried to hook up with me in the span of a week. I spent that Saturday night crying on the phone to my mom blaming myself for “leading them on” and giving them the wrong impression. This was not the case, the only thing I was guilty of was being nice, but they in fact were guilty of not trying to know me for me, just for my body. Know that if this happens to you it’s okay and not your fault. You will eventually find your bros and those other losers will seem like a distant memory.

5. If you don’t like the professor you have for a lecture, you can just go to a different time

This one baffled me, but it’s true. It’s not like high school where if a teacher was bad you just have to deal with it. All you have to do is walk into the class of the professor you actually want and sit down. It really is that easy. No one cares. No one notices. This might scare you, but trust me on this one. It’s the exact same course just a different section. In a class with 100 other kids, no professor will point you out as being the one kid that doesn’t belong.  There will also be other kids doing the exact same thing. If you learn better in a different lecture, GO!

6. Looking nice for class will not last long

I truly did give this one the old college try (pun completely intended), but failed miserably. The cute skirts and blouses quickly changed into black leggings and t-shirts. Don’t worry that people are judging you because chances are you will stand out more looking nice then you will if where what you slept in last night. Once I realized that I could dedicate that time I was spending picking out clothes on ten more minutes of sleep, my looks suddenly seemed unimportant.

7. Freshman boys suck

Freshman boys are just that, boys. They don’t suddenly become men when they enter their first college class. They are still 18 and still completely ridiculous. Some idiot will break your heart and it will seem like the end of the world, but trust me it’s not. You won’t realize it at first, but you are probably better off without him and when he finally grows up he will regret his actions. Don’t feel like you have to find your husband freshman year. Never let a guy make you feel less than you are. You deserve someone who cares about you and never accept anything less.

8. At some point during the winter, you will forget what the sun looks like

You will also forget what it feels like. Don’t panic, eventually it will return, but if you find it taking a toll on your mental health there are sunlamps in St. Liam’s that can help.

9. Don’t Eat the Fish In the Dining Hall

This doesn’t really require an explanation, just don’t.

10. It will all be okay

At times it will feel like nothing's going right, but it will all work out and your Freshman year will be one of amazing ups and downs that you will never forget.

All images provided by the author

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