10 Important Lessons I Learned My Freshman Year of College

My freshman year of college was definitely one I will never forget. I learned a ton inside and outside my classes. They all had an impact on me and I still use those lessons today. From joining a sport entirely new to me, living out of my home state, moving out of my childhood home, and beyond; I learned what works for me and I'm here to pass it on.  So, if you’re a high school student anxious about going into college, or if you’re even just someone interested in the college experience, here’s some important lessons I gained from my freshman year of college.

1. ​It’s okay to be alone sometimes

 This can apply to a lot of things, but I think everyone knows the feeling of freshman year when you don’t know a lot of people and you’re at a brand new school. So, it’s okay to eat at the dining hall alone, or not always having people to walk to classes with, or even doing work alone. There’s no stopwatch on when you need to have friends, so take your time.

2. Learn how the bus routes work

This will come in handy on those snow days where you forgot your snow boots, when it starts pouring rain out of nowhere, or even when you didn’t get a lot of sleep the night before and just don’t feel like walking. Try and see if there is an app your school has to track buses or a schedule somewhere. I promise it’ll be useful.

 

3. Join something

Whether it be clubs, sports, or new classes, join groups and organizations so you can meet people and experience different things. My freshman year, I joined ultimate frisbee (something I had never played before) and it ended up being the best part of my first year. You never know who you might meet or where you’ll go so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.

4. Take classes outside of your major (specifically subjects that you’re interested in)

Even if you are 100% sure about your major and love it, take classes that are different so you can explore new subjects and even just take a break from your main classes. You might learn some new things and make more friends.

5. Don’t freak out if you want to change your major

I ended up changing my major in freshman year even though I thought I was positive about it. It’s okay if you don’t want to do something anymore; your school most likely offers tons of options and you can talk to your advisor about it too. That's another reason why you should take a variety of classes, that way, you can find out some more interests.

6. This is your time to learn how to save money because you’re going to need to know for the future

You might not have enough time for a job, so spending money is going to be easier than you expect. This is your time to learn how to manage your money because when you’re older, you will use these lessons you've learned now more seriously.

7. You probably aren’t going to meet your best friends right away

And that’s okay! Meeting people you consider your best friends takes time and you’re going to meet a lot of people. If you don’t have “best friends” by the end of freshman year, don’t worry; you still have three more years.

8. It’s okay to feel homesick

Even if you go to college in-state, it’s okay to miss home and friends. It’s a part of the experience that you probably won’t be able to avoid. But knowing you get to go home for breaks and that people are just a phone call away can help. Try and bring things from home to fill your dorm with, like pictures or your favorite couch blanket. 

9. Keep in touch with your friends and family from home

This goes along with #8. I can guarantee they miss you too, and no matter how many friends you make in college, don’t forget about the old ones. Keep in touch by sending letters, care packages, or even just some texts to let them know you’re thinking of them. 

10. Classes are hard--so learn how to get the right help

Chances are, you’re going to have trouble in a class, and that’s normal. But when you start to realize this, get help before it’s too late. There are so many options that can help you: email the professor or the teacher’s assistant (TA) with a question, schedule an appointment with the professor or the TA, go to office hours, get a study group/buddy, or even there are often tutors available on campus. There are sometimes specific sessions in the library or classroom for the class that reviews the material, so find out if your class offers that.

Freshman year is an exiting time full of exploration and discovery so take the time to fully appreciate your first year of college. Take it from me, it goes by in a flash! 

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