My Freshman Year



My freshman year at UNH has definitely been an unforgettable experience, and is full of many great memories. But like all things, it had its ups and my downs. There are some things that I have learned the hard way through experience, but things I wouldn’t change for the world. My first year of college was an absolute roller coaster of emotions, but it was also something I will never forget. Here are some of my tips for incoming freshman, so they can learn through my experience, and my reflections of my first year.

1. It's Harder to Make Friends Than You Think

I feel like everyone makes it out to be that once you get to college you immediately meet your forever friends, future bridesmaid, and family away from home. I agree that some of the friends you make in college become your new family, but actually meeting them can take a little time. In order to make friends you need to get involved, and try to meet new people. It could be as simple as joining a club or organization, hanging out with other students in your dorm, or even meeting friends from classes.  I am so grateful to have all the friends I do today from college, but if I didn’t make an effort to meet people, I wouldn't have the support system I now have.

2. Try Living in a Freshman Dorm

If I could do one thing differently, I would chose to live in all freshman dorm. I thought going into college that I wanted to live with upperclassmen and that it didn’t really matter where I lived. In the end, I love the dorm I am currently living in and am so grateful I got the opportunity to live there, since it is difficult for freshman to get in and is one of the nicer dorms on campus. My room is very spacious and is located in the heart of campus. The only complaint I have about it is that there are not a lot of freshman who live there. One of the benefits to living with all freshman is that I feel like you make more friends because everyone is in the same position as you. After reflecting on my freshman experience, I would advise incoming freshman to live with other freshman for the benefit of meeting people their age.

3. Wait to Buy Textbooks

One piece of advice that I got before coming to college was to wait to buy textbooks. I am personally glad I waited because half of the time you don’t need books, or might know someone who could lend them to you. I know for me, I didn’t spend a lot of money on textbooks my freshman year because for some of my classes there was a free version and I knew people who already had some of them.

4. Get Involved

There was such a drastic difference between my first and second semester. My first semester was pretty tough for me, so I wasn’t as motivated to be involved in clubs or organizations as the semester went on. Second semester I was determined to change that and get involved. I wanted to meet more people and actually be a part of something. That's when I decided to join Her Campus, and I am so happy I did. Through Her Campus I have made  great friends and have been able to have my voice heard through writing. Joining Her Campus was by far one of the best decisions I have made in college so far.

5. It’s Okay to Struggle

College is not easy. It is a big adjustment for people and is a completely different way of living than most people are use to. It takes a lot of work and things happens. It’s okay to take time to adjust or realize that you need help with something, because everyone struggles in college at one point or another. Whether it be with school work, friends, your health, or anything else, everyone has been there. There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help because everybody does.

6. Study Smart

In high school, I had awful studying habits, so when I came to college I quickly realized that I had to find a way of studying that worked for me. I have personally found it helpful to find people in your classes to study with for big exams and finals. Even if it’s just one person I have found that it is very beneficial. I also suggest going to office hours. If you aren’t sure about some material or have any questions for your professor go to their office hours. That’s why they have them, and you shouldn’t feel intimidated. Whether you need silence when studying or don’t mind background noise, I recommend finding a spot on campus that works for you. If you need absolute silence, try the quiet rooms in the library or your dorm if your roommates aren’t there. If you don’t mind a little noise, maybe go to one of the lounges in an academic building, or a coffee shop downtown. I personally enjoy studying in Paul College and Saxby’s.

7. It’s Okay to Fail

It’s going to happen at one point or another. Everybody fails, and at the end of the day it really isn’t that big of a deal. I know that when you have been studying for hours for a big exam and then get it back and realize you didn’t do as well as you thought, you feel defeated. Failing an exam, quiz, or project doesn’t determine your worth. All you need to do is move forward and not give up.

8. Try to Get Out of Your Dorm

For me, I don’t like the feeling of staying cooped up in my dorm all day. I need to be out doing something productive, which is why I enjoy studying outside of my room. After my classes I try to stay out around campus so I don’t go back to my room and curl up in bed after class. Sometimes I even go for walks around campus with my friends or go get coffee just to get out.

9. Make Use of the Gym

One of my favorite things about my dorm is that it is right next to the gym. I know first semester I didn’t go nearly as much as I wanted to. In the second semester, I made much more of an effort to go, and now go almost every day. Honestly, you are paying for it, so might as well use it. I find going to the gym very therapeutic, so after a long day going to the gym helps me de-stress.

10. Have Fun!

I understand that most of us are here to get an education, but it’s also important to have fun. It’s all about balance. College is also about making memories with your friends and enjoying yourself before heading out into the real world to be an adult. It’s four years of your life that you should be having fun, especially since it goes so fast.

It’s crazy to think that my freshman year is coming to an end, because it really did seem to go by in the blink of an eye. I have met so many amazing people and learned a whole lot. It is safe to say that my first year at UNH was a success and I can’t wait to see what my next few years here have in store for me.