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10 Important Things I Learned My Freshman Year at St. John’s University

Dear Freshmen,

This is your first semester of college life, and by now I’m sure you’ve read the inexhaustible list of “Freshman Year Tips” and “Things to Avoid in Your First Year” and “How Not to be SUCH a Freshman.” But, as I reflect on my first year in college, my first semester at St. John’s University, I figured that I would add a few more thought-worthy pieces of advice to your ever-growing repertoire:

1.Don’t sweat the small things.

That one awful professor or failed quiz or test is totally not the end of the world. You have an entire semester to make up for any blunders, and one bad grade does not determine the fate of your entire college or professional career.

2.If it’s free, it’s for me.

The amazing thing about college is the surplus of free stuff accumulated by the end of the year. T-shirt giveaways, free food, water bottles, you name it! By the end of the semester, I had enough t-shirts for a few Christmas gifts and a supply of St. John’s paraphernalia to last me a lifetime! Take advantage of free stuff… you’ll need it.

3.You don’t have to be friends with everyone. Often, you find friends in the strangest, most unexpected places.

Contrary to popular belief (note the sarcasm), you will not become best friends with everyone, particularly your roommates or suitemates… and guess what?! THAT’S OKAY. In this vast, grand college campus, you will meet some amazing, likeminded people, but sometimes you will encounter someone completely opposite of you, someone entirely disagreeable. But, realize that college is full of friendship-making opportunities, and friendships may arise from the strangest encounters and conversations. Freshmen are all in the same boat: new and without many friends. So, say hi to the girl in front of you in the lunch line. Or, join a new, interesting club. You never know what may come out of it.

4.Being independent is amazing.

I’m sure you’ve already grasped this concept, but I’ll reiterate it as a friendly reminder. Being able to do what you want, when you want, with whomever you want is simply amazing. It really gives insight into the adult world and what it means to be independent. But, with independence comes tremendous responsibility… Remember that.

5.Call home often… Your mom and dad miss you.

This was never a problem for me my freshman year; I missed my mom like crazy and called home more than was socially acceptable (not ashamed). But, for those of you who may forget, call your mom and dad often. Tell them about your day: the test you aced, the club you joined, the conversation with your professor. Anything. They want to hear about it.

6.You’re going to be broke. I promise.

“That’ll be $12.00.” “$12.00?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?” I promise. It’ll happen.

7.Finals week sucks.

Literally, there is absolutely nothing worse than finals week. My advice? Grab a cup of coffee (or 5) and get to the library early enough to find a good seat (they fill up fast). Practically, study in advance and don’t cram (though, we all do), and try to avoid the inevitable stress coming your way… I believe in you.

8.Ordering pizza is NEVER a bad idea.

Sure, the Freshman 15 is totally real, and I’ve shamelessly experienced it myself. But, on those long nights, or short nights, or in between nights, or any night really, pizza is always a decision that will never bring you regret (except maybe when you go home and step on a scale… yikes).

9.Joining Greek Life is an amazing, life changing decision.

As I previously alluded to, I was terribly homesick my first semester in college. So, naturally, I decided to join Greek Life my second semester at St. John’s, and I fell in love with Theta Phi Alpha. Being part of an amazing organization has brought me so many opportunities, lasting friendships, and unforgettable laughs and memories. I can honestly say that it has changed my college experience for the better. If you have the opportunity, I totally encourage you to go Greek.


10.Each semester is a new start. Learn from the past, but don’t let it ruin your college experience.

That’s the true beauty of college… each semester, each four-month block, can be viewed as a fresh start. Shake off the baggage from the previous semester: the relationship gone wrong, the toxic friendship, unfavorable professor, bad grade, etc., and look forward to all that is to come.

Demery is a Criminal Justice major at St. John's University, but she is currently investigating other options for her future career. At all hours of the day, you can find her with a Diet Coke in one hand and super cute Erin Condren planner in the other. She is a self-acclaimed professional organizer and enjoys spending her free time at school with her sisters of Theta Phi Alpha and friends on campus.
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