College Freshman Tips
Here are some helpful hints for preparing for and surviving your freshman year in college!
The Freshman 20 is Real
You seriously will need new jeans.
- Drink all the water
- Give yourself a month to be amazed by the choices in your gross dining hall and eat like a college student, then get real with yourself
- Gym is fun! Find a buddy if you don’t like going alone
- Your school most likely offers classes, those are much more fun when you go with friends!
Moving in: Almost as Stressful as the Application Process
- Ship as much as you can and have a list of what’s in what box (label your boxes)
- Utilize hallway space, especially if your roommate is moving in at the same time
- Get there early! Like an hour before doors open, they’ll usually let you in
- If your dorm or living establishment has carts to check out, utilize those.
- It’s super easy to fit a lot of your dorm items in the carts!
- Sometimes there are just too many people (and sometimes opinions) in the room, make sure your family is on the same page with what you want your space to be like
You’re an adult and taking care of business until you get around your friends, and then you’re a bunch of high schoolers with adult freedom and probably none of the bills.
• Make sure that you have a good balance of time with your friends and alone time. It’s hard to get your alone time during college so make sure that you get your alone time!
Studying: Work smarter, not harder
- DON’T PULL ALL NIGHTERS!! GET SLEEP AND MAKE SURE YOU MAINTAIN A HEALTHY DIET DURING FINALS AND BIG EXAMS!!!!
- The only time you should study in your room is right before bed
- It’s nice to keep your room, your space to chill and live your life
- Studying/reading in your bed too often can train your brain to associate reading with sleep and it will be impossible to get through any of your readings
- There are probably cool places to get your work done on or around campus, or off campus! Coffee shops are a great place get work done!
- The library is depressing but you’ll probably get a lot of work done there (mainly because you want to get out of the library as quickly as possible)
- If your dorm has a study space or a quiet room utilize that!
- Try to do work during the day. You are more productive when the sun is out!
- Getting your work done during the day will also free up your conscience for Netflix or going out at night! (Trust us, your GPA will thank you later)
- DO NOT subscribe to the idea that the less sleep you get the harder you work
- In college, sleep deprivation is seen as a trophy but it really doesn’t help you, your GPA, or your mental health, to pull all-nighters just to say you did it– especially when the amount of work you have can be done during the day.
- Don’t distract your friends and don’t let them distract you — you all have your own GPAs to worry about
Dorm Room: Finally, your own place! (with school rules, of course)
- Make sure that you make it clear with your roommate beforehand what items each of you is bringing. (Fridge, carpet, tv, printer, vacuum, etc.)
- Fairy lights are a must no matter your gender (you too, boys- no one’s gonna make fun of you if your room is LIT). Most dorm rooms have harsh florescent lights that no one looks good in and are honestly stressful
- Your dorm room should be your “home away from home”
- Framed pics are always nice, take pride in your decorating process
- Make sure that you communicate with your RA’s if you are struggling with anything (Literally anything!!) That’s what they are there for!
Hate to break it to ya, but your to-do list won’t do itself…
Speaking of which, you should probably make one.
- GET A PLANNER AND USE IT
- Use it for both your schedule and your to-do list
- Put sticky notes in it
- Being organized is a virtue
- FOMO is very real and you will get behind on your stuff because of it
- When this happens, head to the library
- It’s okay to say no. There will always be another activity, another game to go to, etc.
- Have a routine
- Pick out your clothes the night before (or sleep in them if you want to wear PJs to class), go to bed by 1am every night (stick to it!)
- Do your work during the day/DO NOT procrastinate. Procrastination culture is for the weak. You’re an adult now. Just do your stuff when you know you should.
Going Greek: It’s not about being in the best frat or sorority, it’s about finding your people
(and it certainly isn’t for everyone)
Greek Life at a Big State School
The Greek community and lifestyle at a large school is way different than that of a smaller school. The Greek life at a large school focuses on making sure that all the Greek organizations are connected and feel like they have a place within the Greek community, your Greek community also tries to make sure that each organization is doing their best to make sure that their members are improving and that the organization is improving. At my school in particular, we have a very strict anti-hazing policy. If your organization gets caught hazing, your chapter will be kicked off of campus. The rush process for Greek life on large campuses is normally a week-long process (both sororities and fraternities) the week before classes begin in the summer. Rush is a very intimidating process but that is because they are trying to make sure that they get members who will benefit their chapters. You will not necessarily talk to everyone in the chapters but you will get to talk to members who share some of the same common interests that you do. The members that you get from your fraternity brotherhood and sorority sisterhood will be your lifelong friends.
Greek Life at a Small/Medium Liberal Arts School
Greek life at small schools, like at large schools, tends to focus on making sure that all the Greek organizations are connected and have a place within the Greek community. The rush process for Greek life on large campuses is different in that it is normally a week-long process (the week before classes begin in the summer). Rush can be intimidating, but- as cheesy as it sounds- just be yourself. The friends that you meet from your fraternity brotherhood and sorority sisterhood will be your lifelong friends.
Roommates: Sometimes your best friend, sometimes your nightmare.
- If you and your roommate don’t know each other before moving in, get their phone number or their or hit them up on instagram! They want to know that you’re a real person too!
- If you feel like it is necessary/ it’s not already required, talk to your RA about creating a roommate agreement.
When can the lights be on in the room? When can people come over? When can you play music? Sharing food, dishes, etc.? Who is buying groceries? Etc.
- Be detailed in your written agreement! Especially, if you two don’t know each other or you think they might avoid important conversations in the future if something is bothering someone.
- Have a signal/ground rules for when one of you has friends over
Misc: All that other stuff
- You will get sick (Freshman plague is real and it is coming for you) and you will have
to take care of yourself by yourself. Have your parents leave a bunch of medicine for every kind of illness (okay, maybe not all of them).
- Use the school’s resources!
- You have access to a free gym (see: Freshman 20 is Real), free counseling center, etc.
- If your school is large and has a transportation system, use it! Don’t spend all your precious earnings on Uber.
- If meal swipe options are limited on weekends and you’re a broke starving college student like the rest of us, stock up on bowls from your fave place on campus or stock up on fruit from the dining hall.
- Don’t be afraid to call campus police/911 if your drunk friend really needs it.
- If you have a pretty social floor, take care of each other. Someone will take care of you when you need it.
- If your school is big on sports, do yourself a favor and go to the games! You’re going to regret it later when your team is winning! (also, it’s fun to paint your face- we’re all kids here)