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10 Lessons I’ve learned from Freshman Year

With the semester coming to a close, everyone seems to have seen another year go by with a blink of an eye. I think I can say for most freshmen – or any upperclassmen that have been there – that freshman year is a fun, crazy, and new experience.  Through the absurdity, awkward moments, emotions, and stress, I’ve learned some valuable (and absurd) lessons as a freshie: 

1. Don’t hookup with two people who are floor mates.  I guess this one should be pretty straightforward.  But hey, it’s college: sh*t happens.  Yet, if you want to avoid the awkwardness, and everyone knowing your business (gossip can spread pretty quickly on dorm floors – especially when they have the same friends and live two doors down from each other) I highly suggest you find a guy in a different group.  It makes for some funny stories, but in the long run, you’ll be facing a lot of jokes, jabs, and awkward moments (not that I would know…).

2. Be careful whom you trust.  This isn’t high school anymore where you had the same group of friends that you knew and have trusted since kindergarten.  You’ll meet a lot of different people in college, and it’s sometimes hard to decipher who really has your back.  You’ll make some amazing friends, but you’ll also encounter the ones who don’t value the friendship as much as you do.  It’s sad to see people you thought were good friends go, but in the end it’s for the best; your true friends in college would never hurt you.

3. No matter how much it rains, don’t wear ponchos at a football game. I learned this unfortunate “unspoken rule” at the first football game with my roommate.  Might I add, we did NOT actually wear the ponchos in the rain; we bought them, only for some junior we met to start chanting “freshmen” at us, getting the whole section of upperclassmen to join in.  In the end, we were too embarrassed to put the ponchos on.  Bottom line: avoid any typical freshman move, get soaked, and stay low-key.

4. Your bed is your best friend.  Getting sleep in college is like waking up to a present from Santa on Christmas day.  With a heavier workload than in high school, you’ll find yourself going to sleep at ridiculous hours.  When you finally go to sleep, crawling into bed is the most amazing feeling.  Sometimes I honestly feel like my bed is the one thing in my life that I can always rely on (sad, but true).  It’s important to take advantage of any sleeping time you have.  

5. You will learn to love drunk McDonald’s.  I know, you may be saying “ew.”  See, when you’re sober, you wouldn’t even consider getting McDonald’s, yet when you’re intoxicated, it’s like eating at a five-star restaurant.  You may feel disgusted with yourself the next day, but allow yourself to indulge.

6. Work hard; play harder (on the weekends of course!)  With a busy schedule, it’s easy to get stressed.  You may have a lot of work the week ahead, but give yourself the weekend to have fun; your homework can wait.  So many people have told me, “no one looks back on their life and remembers the nights they got plenty of sleep.”  You’re allowed to have fun in college, so take a break and go out with some friends; that doesn’t mean get yourself arrested or into trouble, though!

7. Skipping class is as easy as breathing, so BEWARE.  When you miss your first class ever, you’re basically doomed – you’ll never want to go again! Getting into the habit of skipping is so easy, especially when it’s a big lecture hall.  Skipping a class here or there isn’t the worst thing in the world, but when you get in the mode of skipping every one, you’ve reached the point of no return. 

8. Keep Easy Mac around at all times.  It’s inevitable to be broke in college.  By the end of each semester, I find myself using as many dining hall swipes as I possibly can. This year has taught me the new food group that exists in a college freshman’s diet: good ol’ Mac n Cheese.  It’s quick, it’s tasty, and it’s cheap!  I’ve learned to embrace this new diet and justify it by saying I’ll make it up to myself when I move off campus and have a kitchen.

9. Say no to hickeys unless you wear them with pride. You’re likely to see many students rocking some big bruises on their necks around campus. Maybe they’re peeking out of a sweater, hidden behind a scarf, or out there in the open; wherever they are, these love bites can be pretty hysterical.  Yet, try to avoid enormous, extremely obvious marks, or else you’ll have to cake on the makeup to avoid numerous stares.  If you’re confident enough to rock your hickeys with pride, go for it!  Again: it’s college.

10. Get used to the phrase “no shame.”  You can’t have any shame in college.  Everyone does stupid stuff, has embarrassing moments, or does things they’ll regret – on a daily basis or while intoxicated (especially).  You just have to go with the flow, and at the end of the day laugh at yourself. If you take everything too seriously, you’ll miss out on some funny moments.

Photo Credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Katie handles the day-to-day management, development and expansion of our chapter network to ensure that our on-campus presence is stronger than ever. She recently graduated from the University of Pittsburgh, where she studied Nonfiction Writing and Communication. Her extensive Her Campus background dates back to 2012 and she has since held the position of Campus Correspondent and Chapter Advisor. When Katie isn’t watching the Pittsburgh Penguins, you can find her trying new restaurants, obsessing over her long list of shows (The O.C., Scandal and Gilmore Girls are top picks) or setting out to find the perfect donut.
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