3 Things I Wish I Knew as a Freshman

As a first generation freshman student at a Division 1 college, there was little more that terrified me than moving away from my family, friends, and comfort of my tiny hometown to a much larger college town except maybe being bitten by a snake. However, I can proudly say that I am a Junior moving through the latter half of my undergraduate career, and have become a better person by defying the norm of going to the small community college in my hometown and instead going to a large university. When I look back to my first semester here as a freshman, I can identify some things I know now that would have helped past me in her journey throughout her tumultuous freshman year, and I hope that if you are a freshman who just struggled through their first week of college that these things help you as I know they would have helped freshman me.

  1. 1. 1) Essentially Every Other Freshman is Just As Nervous and Excited as You Are

    One of the main things I remember feeling as a freshman my first semester was that everyone had already formed their friend group and that I was the only one who was left without very best friends. I went to class alone, ate alone, did homework alone, and went to sleep every night in order to do the exact same thing the next day. I knew that I could get involved in clubs, or within my residence hall, but that required putting myself out there and talking to people who may not like me, so I didn't do it. After Winter Break, I came back ready and willing to join a club and get involved to gain some friends. I became a research assistant for a professor within my department, talked with people in my classes, and joined the governing body within my residence hall. From there, I made friends that I still have to this day, and have grown to be like family to me.

    While all this is well and good, you may think I was an isolated incident, and that my experience is completely different from what most other freshmen experience. I also thought this, until I started talking to my current friends about when they started making friends here at college, and ALL of them have said they didn't have actual friends until the second semester their freshman year as well. While a lot of finding your place here is getting involved in things that interest you, it also is important to keep in mind that sometimes finding where you fit in will take time. 

  2. 2. 2) A Majority of Freshmen, and a Lot of Undergraduates in General, are Unsure About Their Majors

    Going into to college, I assumed that the major I chose going into college would be the one that I had to stick with throughout my college career because changing meant that I didn't know what I was doing and would add a year or more to my already long education. However, while I have not changed majors since joining college due to falling in love with it, at least 3 of my current friends have changed theirs and are so much happier studying towards something they discovered they love. Even if you came into college thinking you know exactly what you wanted to do, be open to changing your mind and embracing whatever path you should think about taking instead. 

  3. 3. Learn the Walking Pattern of Your College

    One thing that amazed me when I came to college was that there are so many people all trying to go to different places that there is a specific walking pattern that is followed, sort of like an unspoken but well known rule. As you're walking, you have to watch and see if you and another person's path will cross in a timeframe where you will run into each other. It is an interesting thing to try and explain, and you won't really understand until you watch it happen, but I recommend learning how to walk in a big crowd of people all going different directions as soon as you get to college. It will help you avoid getting your phone possibly knocked out of your hands, and prevent upperclassmen from getting annoyed.

College is fun, and even though being a freshman can be scary it is an experience that is totally worth it in the end. Be open to changing ideas, desires, and wants as you grow not only in your education but also in who you are as a person.