6 Tips for Conquering Freshman Year (From Someone Who Had A Terrible One)

There are a million and one articles in the world full of tips and tricks and guidelines and magic spells on how to have the best, funnest, most perfect freshman year ever. What they don’t always acknowledge is that a freshman year of college can be awful. It can be the worst time of your life. It can be rock bottom. It’s a huge time of change, that forces rapid personal development in a new, foreign environment. Looking back on how truly abysmal my freshman year was, I’ve compiled six habits and tricks to make this time of adjustment healthy, functional, and hopefully, fun.

1. Spend time on self-care and self-help!

I wish I had spent half as much time that I spent in my freshman year watching Gilmore Girls, binge eating, getting high, and crying on literally anything that bettered me as a person. I’m not saying those aren’t normal things to do, and maybe even healthy in moderation, but I am saying you need to figure out what self-care looks like for you, and dedicate time to it. Maybe look up healing guided meditations on youtube, or do a face mask, or read a self-help book. Look for people around you who are thriving and ask them how they take care of themselves, and what they’ve learned that shaped their world-view.2. Engage with media that makes you feel seen.

Watch tv shows, read books, listen to podcasts/music that you see yourself in. Whether that is Crazy Ex Girlfriend or How to Get Away With Murder or Mitski’s new album, if you feel seen, you will feel comfortable and at ease. Whatever it is that gives you an understanding of your place in the world, dive headfirst into it. It's a sense of belonging, and seeing people that remind you of you struggle and still thrive that will enable you to do the same.3. Look for your community on campus (or outside of it!)

Every single “college guide” will tell you to join clubs. We get that, and you should totally do that. But don’t limit your view to joining clubs or a sorority, seek the people that are a second family. If you’re an artist, find your local art community. If you love fitness, join a club or yoga class. If you’re queer, find a LGBTQ support group or club. These are your people! You need your people do be your person! You know? 

4. Don’t fall back on high school friends/significant other.

This might’ve been my biggest mistake. By clinging to my high school boyfriend, I didn’t give myself the chance to make any new friends. And once I realized everyone had found a people they loved around me, my relationship fell apart and I thought I was broken for not being able to make friends. So even if you have to sit down with your BFF or your boo and explain that you totally love them, but you aren’t going to hold yourself back, DO THAT.5. Make your dorm a safe space.

Get yourself the fuzziest blanket you can find, or put up pictures of your favorite person, or just clean it once in awhile. Do the little things that make your dorm not feel like a trap, or a negative zone. It’s really easy to allow your dorm to become a space of isolation and negativity, so make sure you bring light into it! Buy yourself flowers and a glass of Martinellis! Put up a pink banner or a picture of your dog! Spend a paycheck on crystals! Whatever will make you smile relentlessly and clear that energy.6. Don’t fixate on meaningless bullshit.

A disappointing amount of the cultural mythos around freshman year is self-punishing. The freshman fifteen, campus sexual assault, the idea of getting black out drunk at a college party, the list goes on. Don’t focus on the pressure to swipe your v-card (virginity is fake anyway, take a gender studies class, love yourself) or the pressure to get shwasted with your sorority sisters. And super don’t panic about weight gain. Take care of yourself at your pace. Always always use condoms, and eat that extra donut if you want to.

You’re entering a time of transition that is, in anyone’s professional opinion, really f*cking hard. And you’re going to conquer it. You’re absolutely capable, absolutely amazing, and so resilient. Less cool people than you have survived college, you can do it to. You’re gonna be great, go kick ass and binge watch Gilmore Girls, binge eat, get high and cry. But do a face mask after. I love you, you’re going to be just fine.