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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UC Riverside chapter.

After three years, I am finally graduating from my undergraduate this year. It’s a very exciting time since many different events are coming up, but looking back on my college years is also very important to me. Here is some advice I would give to freshman me if I would have known what I was going to experience in college.

  1. Its okay to not be okay

Coming into college, I always expected everyone to have it all together, but in reality, it’s been one of the most welcoming places when it comes to not being okay. In high school, I felt like if you weren’t okay, it was a huge deal and people would look down upon you for being immature. Additionally, many times my mental health would not be the best or I was just not feeling great and it’s totally fine. People will relate to you and even offer good advice on how to get through things, while before it was more of like “oh don’t worry, you’ll get over it eventually” and that’s all I heard. Apart from that, College life can be very different from no longer having your parents with you. I know for me it kind of made me upset because I had never been away from home for so long. Living two hours away from home made it difficult to see my parents sometimes. 

  1. Don’t rush into things

If you’re not ready to do something, that’s okay. This has to do more with joining clubs and sororities. I kind of pushed it my first quarter of college by trying to join clubs without realizing I was not that ready to meet so many new people. It was very overwhelming, so I would definitely tell young me that it’s okay to have a small group of friends and branch out as time goes on. I also think I rushed into some friendships because of the fact that I did not branch out as much in my first year which made it difficult to actually have close friends as time went on. In a sense, my friendships with those people at the time were only because it was convenient for each other.

  1. Just be yourself and don’t try fitting into what people want of you

I think this was a really big issue for me back during freshman year. I was more focused on trying to fit into other people’s image or what they wanted me to be rather than being myself. I know that as time has gone on throughout college, I’ve managed to be happy with myself and accept who I am as a person, but during my freshman year, it wasn’t that easy. I would constantly compare myself to others. So I think it is necessary to know that it’s okay to be yourself even if not everyone likes you; that’s just part of life and it allows you to find genuine people who actually want to have you in their life.

  1. It’s a big change from high school

In a sense, I knew that college would be different from high school, but it was a very drastic change for me. The way that college life is structured is very different from being in high school, especially since you’re living either on campus or close to campus with friends. It kind of made it seem like I was always hanging out with my friends when I did not have classes. You also do not have the same class every day for an hour, and instead, only have them a couple of times a week. This was very different since I had to be on track with my classes as well as assignments. Putting these two things together could sometimes make college life difficult since it’s all on you to get your things done. So just realize this change is possible and try to figure out different methods such as using planners or calendars to stay up to date with what you need while also having fun.

These are the most important things I would advise myself on since I dealt with it during my three years of undergraduate school. Not everyone has the same experience during their college years, but if you’re an incoming freshman I would definitely check these out. Maybe during your senior year, you can even reflect back on what you wish you had known before coming into college.

Ashleen Herrarte

UC Riverside '22

Ashleen was a UCR Political Science and Philosophy major. She graduated from UCR back in Spring 2022. When she was not writing articles for HCUCR, she was usually spending time with friends by going out to eat yummy foods or watching shows at home. She hopes you enjoyed reading her articles!