How To Survive Your Freshman Year Of College

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How To Survive Your Freshman Year Of College

1. Um, your actually important

When you land on the vast shores of your new college, the temptations are going to be everywhere. You are free from your parents, from rules, from teachers, from old friends and exes that held you back, so a lot of freshman get drunk on this freedom...and forget that, oh, they also need to do some classwork and study from time to time. Your freshman year grades count just as much as your junior and senior year grades which a lot of kids find out when they are meeting with their college counselor explaining to them why their GPA is so low. You, as the new adult you, will need to find work-school-social life balance. You'll roll your eyes at orientation when they tell you that or the speech about look to your left and right and one of you won't be here on graduation day, but it is absolutely true.

2. But don't be a total book nerd

There are people who take the studying to the extreme. They always have to study and always have to make flash cards and read the next 3 chapters. I'm not saying don't aim to do extremely well, but don't also ignore all the opportunities around you and the experiences and people who will come your way. Remember, some of those life long friends a lot of people have came from those experiences and hanging out in college.

How To Survive Your Freshman Year Of College

3. Forget about who you were in high school

No one gives a crap about your valedictorian status, your football stats, your most popular student in the yearbook picture, in college. You are starting over from ground zero with a populous that is probably 10x the size of your high school at least. This benefits you if you had a bad rep or you were bullied in high school because suddenly with so many people, and everyone worried about class, work, their social life, and their relationships, no one is worried about you and your problems. Embrace the freedom and be who you truly are. If you wanted to be the jock, but weren't allowed to, join a team. If you want to put green dye in your hair, do that. If you couldn't find many friends like you in high school due to your race or sexuality or religion, there are typically many more groups and people who will help you to know and feel that you aren't as alone as you thought you were.

4. Make any and all efforts to get along with your new "assigned" roommate

If you weren't lucky enough (or smart enough) to pick or get a roommate ahead of time of your own choosing, you are going to be stuck with whatever roommate or roommates you get. If you've never had to share a space, get used to the reality check of it really quickly. Don't be the slob who leaves his or her stuff everywhere, don't continuously "forget" to scent the bathroom after your drop a deuce in the toilet, don't use, eat, take, or 'borrow' your roommates stuff without asking first, respect that your roommate may need to sleep or study and don't have friends over every single night of the week. Talk to your roommate(s) about each others habits and rules about their stuff or when they might need the space. If one or both of you has a bf/gf, create that warning system or agree ahead of time when they can come over, because it can get real awkward if you don't. And be that nice roommate. If you know your roomie likes coffee, occasionally pick one up for them or invite them to hang with your friends.

How To Survive Your Freshman Year Of College

5. Join Something, Take Something

Unlike high school where you were forced to join clubs just so you could look good on a college application (that sh*t worked though, didn't it), you can join whatever you want in college. This is the time to really go about perusing your personal interests or just finding out what they are. Take all those weird classes as electives, switch your major a couple of times, find your true place.

6. Be a safe idiot

Inevitably most of you will go to some epic college parties, join that frat/sorority, or go to some really weird off campus "thing." Do what you want and take on the experience and have fun, but be a safe idiot. Let your roommate or someone know where you're going and what time you should be back, charge up your cell phone in case of emergency, go with a friend, don't drink drinks you set down and didn't have eyes on, don't eat anything in brownie form, do not accept dares to steal or vandalize campus property, have a designated driver, use protection, and try your darndest not to do anything illegal especially if you are on campus. One night of fun has ruined a lot of lives and being a freshman, you tend to be the most vulnerable at the big boys and girls tables. The last thing you want is the campus police calling your parents and informing then of what you've been up to on your way to being expelled. Not a good look.

How To Survive Your Freshman Year Of College

7. You have one, maybe 2 years to make the best friends you'll ever have

In your freshman year, most have a bit more time on their hands to hang out and be social before the crushing weight of your later years and the reality of "really" becoming and adult begin to settle feverishly into your brain. Actively try and make new friends. Be as friendly as possible, offer to start study groups, invite people to your band gigs or campus movie nights, do it all. It is harder later on to form a good group of friends because everyone sort of goes off into their major or has to work/study crazy hours and its harder to just hang. Not impossible, just harder, so when everyone is brand new and equally trying to make friends with everyone, seize the opportunity and run with it. Experience all the firsts you can together. The last thing you want to be is a senior with no friends in a sea of 12,000+ people.

8. Take the help

Even if you don't feel like an adult, your teachers will treat you as someone capable of coming to them for help if they need it. They aren't going to be handing out extra credit, or warning you your grades are plummeting, or calling your parents every five minutes. If you aren't doing well, ask for your teachers help or attend their additional study sessions. You're paying for your teachers to be there and for their instruction, so take full advantage and don't fail or drop simply because you couldn't be bothered to take personal responsibility.

How To Survive Your Freshman Year Of College

9. Know your deadlines, know when not to skip

I know with a lot of my classes, some paper or some test was worth half my final grade. You miss those and you're screwed. Some teachers do take attendance and count that towards your grade, and some teachers love to give pop quizzes which account for part of your grade as well. These things add up in a big way. If you are the type that's already planning not to show up for class, all I can say is make sure you know what you're doing. Teachers generally don't want to fail their students, but they know who comes and who doesn't even in big freshman classes, so you showing up end of the semester begging for extra credit won't fly because they literally don't know who you are because you've been absent so much or they have no records of you taking the pop quizzes or going to the study sessions. Knowing your deadlines, creating a calendar, helps big time. You know you can party all the way up until Tuesday, see, but then Wednesday and Thursday you'll need to cram (I mean study, right, study) before Friday's exam.

10. Don't Do the Fat Thing

Even as I type this, you're shaking your head and saying things like, "no, it won't happen to me." They don't call it the FRESHMAN 15 for nothing! You're probably used to mom and dad cooking, and having restrictions on times and foods you can eat as any good parent would do, but you probably aren't living with your parents anymore or coming home at odd times because of work/school/your social life. Start on day one with an exercise/healthy eating plan. Campuses are littered with poor choices you can make including the ones related to your diet. Find out where the healthier eats are, or invest in a microwave, mini fridge, and George Foreman grill to be able to cook some things in your dorm room or cook in your apartment. Hit up the campus gym and stake your claim by scheduling your gym appointments along side your class schedules and sticking to them. It's not a good look coming home for Christmas looking like Santa Clause.

How To Survive Your Freshman Year Of College

How To Survive Your Freshman Year Of College
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