How to Actually Survive Your Freshman Year of College

Anonymous
How to Actually Survive Your Freshman Year of College

First off, congratulations on being lucky enough to avoid having your Freshman year start in 2020. I can mainly start off this piece by not having to talk about potential imminent threats to your health and safety, so that's good.

1. Avoid Looking Like a Total Noob

A few days before your classes start, go find them. Nobody wants to be the person stumbling in all sweaty and late on the first day making an embarrassing impression because you didn't realize the old freshman English hall had moved clear across campus due to construction. While you're at it, find out where the best food is on campus, the registrars office, your counselor, where the dorm laundry is, etc, because that'll be one less thing you have to worry about.

2. Learn to Basic

How to Actually Survive Your Freshman Year of College

Haven't ever cooked a meal? Don't know how to put air in your tires or pump gas? Never had a credit card or a bank account or paid taxes? Haven't ever done a load of laundry? Guess what....you're a freaking adult now. Mom and dad can't (and more importantly won't!) do these things for you anymore because you're a big boy/girl. SPEND some actual time learning how to be a basic adult who is self-sufficient. Go grocery shopping by yourself, iron your own clothes, learn to cook some basic things, find out how to get a stain out of a sofa, learn how to correctly use a credit card. If your parents suck or are too busy to teach you, guess what you're on...say it with me..."The Internet." and it has a ton of tools for helping you learn how to do these things. School can be super stressful...these things shouldn't have to be!


3. Seek Balance in All Things

For many freshman, this will be the first time you will have to balance your work life +family obligations (if you still live close to home or at home) + your studies + your social life. A lot of freshman struggle hard with wanting to have as much fun as possible, but also realizing they have to pay for things now as an adult and have responsibilities they didn't before. You will be treated like an adult (at school at least). Your professors don't care if you had to take care of your sister last night, or your job held you later than expected, or you didn't get enough sleep so you missed the final. Their job is to teach you, not be your mommy and daddy. You're going to have a rude awakening if you think you can pass off the same tired excuses you got away with in high school, in college. They will simply fail you because they get paid whether you do well or not.

4. Actually Go to Class

How to Actually Survive Your Freshman Year of College

College is an expensive friggin' bill not to get your monies worth. You are there for your education, so go get it. Find your passion, and dive in head first. If you have no desire to go to school or some parent forced you to go, do something else because being bitter and skipping classes, is a waste of your teachers, and your time and money. If you want to be there, be there, and take full advantage of all the resources and connections your campus has to offer and actually do your classwork and study for those finals.

5. How to Party and Live!

Basically all of this:
https://www.collegemagazine.com/10-tips-for-your-first-college-party-that-will-get-you-lit-and-get-you-home-safe/

6. Don't Do Illegal Stuff

How to Actually Survive Your Freshman Year of College

This guy my freshman year, lived across from our stadium and decided as a prank to steal one of the team flags that hung at said stadium. So he snuck out at night, nabbed the flag....then displayed it right in his window for all to see. He was swiftly arrested, charged for the theft, then expelled from campus for life. I cannot make this anymore clear....there are no second chances or people who will take things you did as just "some kids having fun." I'm not saying don't get up to some fun shenanigans, but when it goes to that illegal place or against campus rules, don't friggin' do it especially if you live in the dorms!!! Also remember, if you're 18 or more realistically, at least 16, you will be charged as an adult for any crimes you commit, and campuses LOVE to charge expensive fines for things you get caught doing on campus to dissuade such behaviors.

7. Go Outside


This is a twofer. Yes, go to class, become valedictorian like the nerd you are, but also realize for all intent and purposes, this is perhaps the last time in your life where you can be even remotely young and free. This will not last! Leave the dorm room and explore your opportunities to the fullest and do make it a habit to have at least some fun! Also don't expect to just make friends because you are on campus, you must actually leave your dorm or your house and go out and meet people. Say hello. Ask to borrow a pencil and invite some people over to study for the finals. Join a club or go to a club. Flirt responsibly. Get to know people outside of your roommates. Attend campus events. Get a group together and all go to your first college game. Don't waste this time not giving yourself every chance to get to know people because you don't want the four+ years to end, and you have no friends and you did nothing other than study.

8. Ask for Help

How to Actually Survive Your Freshman Year of College

Yes, you need to learn how to do things on your own now, but while this is mostly true, if you are doing poorly in your classes, if your mental health is an issue, if you are having financial difficulties, if you're struggling in a toxic abusive relationship---ASK FOR HELP! I swear to you, there are people all around campus, both that work for the University, or new friends you meet or family back home that will help you if you let them know your struggles. Do not feel shame about this or hang around anyone who would make you feel shame about needing to ask for help. Most campuses, especially now, offer free or low cost counseling to students. Most of your professors offer meeting hours or study sessions outside of class as well as general study sessions offered by your university. If you are struggling to pay your tuition--talk to your bank, to on campus financial services, apply for a work study job, talk to any family who can help you out---there are options. The earlier you can ask for help, the better. You are not alone!


How to Actually Survive Your Freshman Year of College
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  • DianaWest

    Also, start studying for an exam at least 1 week before. trust me, no matter how brilliant you think you are, cramming 1 thousand pages worth of notes into your skull the night before is going to end in a disaster. and you will forget half the things you studied on your way to the exam room. try to study consistently throughout the semester. have a few key points that you keep revising at least once or twice a week. that should make studying for the big exam much easier. find out how you learn best. i know that i am an auditory/linguistic learner and i study best independently. so what i do is i will sometimes read my notes out loud. i will spend a few minutes reading one page of notes in my head (maybe read it 3 or 4 times) and then i will spend a few minutes summarizing what i just looked at out loud without looking at my notes. i like to pretend i am a teacher and teaching someone the stuff. find out what works best for you. or if you prefer to watch videos or listen to audio lectures, etc. do that. don't stick to one type of learning or studying style just because your friends are doing it. also: if you plan on going to grad school, you need to start thinking about whose ass you are going to kiss. make a list of maybe 3 or 4 professors and try to speak with them regularly. at least every other week in office hours and speak at least once or twice in class per week.

    also: volunteer as much as possible if you cannot get an internship in the field you are interested in. join a club or two. try for a few leadership positions. anything is better than nothing on your resume. and do your best in school because a high gpa always opens up more opportunities for you. and don't forget to have some alone time to relax. when i am in school, i usually spend 6-10 hours a day on school work from Monday to Saturday, and on Sunday i do jack shit. i mean, i might spend 2-4 hours on some school stuff, but Sunday is my day off so i don't go bat shit crazy.

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    • Anonymous

      One of my favorite college stories was the day I procrastinated and needed to do a 20 page work cited term paper worth quite literally 40% of our grade as it was counted as our final. The Professor told us we could turn it in any time before the end of class on the last day. By sheer will power, I finished this thing at 6am the same day it was due then promptly crashed HARD. Woke up at around 10:20 (class ended at 10:30). Like a total maniac, still in my pajamas, hair not done, no make-up, no backpack, I sprinted down 3 floors of my dorm, down these huge back stairs of our building nearly snapping my ankle missing a few steps, RAN about 10 blocks to the English Hall, then got to the door and the lights were off. I knew I had failed. Pissed at myself, I jiggled the handle out of frustration and the door opened to 30 pairs of eyes staring back at me. Turns out they were watching a movie in the dark. Two minutes to spare, I got an A in that class. It was legend, but NEVER did I do that again. It wasn't cute to almost fail a class or break my ankle or run across campus (which literally everyone was staring at this crazy looking girl running in her pjs), I was exhausted. Studying for a test this way would have never worked for me. Do what you said 100% and learn the way you learn and focus on your studies and actually study. Putting in the work is how I graduated with honors.

    • DianaWest

      oh my God that was intense. yikes. i've had a few close calls myself. i was pushing it a bit with an online exam. i had about 3 mins to upload the exam to my school site, my internet has a tendency to disconnect for about 30 mins at least once a day, and i was praying that this would not be that moment. i also submitted something late because the dumbass that i am, i could not find the damn author's name for a journal article i cited and noticed that at the last minute as i was reviewing my bibliography, and started sweating profusely. i submitted my essay at 12:01 am and got 10 percent deducted. yay! i got a 75, would've gotten an 85. at least it wasn't as bad as your case where you could've failed the class.

    • DianaWest

      also, what i do whenever i have an exam or a paper due is i put on about 6 alarm clocks to wake me up. i put one right next to my ear, and a few further away and make sure they are out of arm's reach as i've had cases where i missed a lecture because i turned off my alarm clocks and went back to sleep. all 3 of them.

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  • Crissy_J

    Become a master at taking notes during lecture. The professor is basically telling you what’s on the test, if you bother to pay attention. After each class spend time going through your notes and highlight the key points. Also, don’t be afraid to stay after class and talk to your professor. Ask for tips and advice on how to pass the class with an A grade. If the professor offers extra credit assignments, do all of them. Try to be social and get to know your classmates. Form study groups if possible. Never forget why you’re in college, and don’t let it drag on. Make sure school and your studies come first. Everything else takes a backseat, including partying. Talk to a school counselor if you have any questions about scheduling your classes so you graduate on time. Doing all this got me through college.

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    • Crissy_J

      One more thing, don’t forget to visit the career center at your college. That place is a gold mine. I was always stopping by and finding out when job fairs would come up. I would also always be on the hunt for any internship fairs or opportunities that would pop up. I landed a big time internship at a major employer through an internship fair that was modeled after the speed dating model. We had about two to three minutes (can’t remember exactly) to impress potential employers through timed interviews. It got my foot in the door in a lot of ways I never imagined. So always keep that resource center in mind.

    • Anonymous

      These are some excellent points. Professors don't want to see students fail and I think a lot of students and particularly freshman think that 'I'm just one kid in a sea of 100 students in a class,' which is true, but any professors you go to, once they see your face during their office hours and know you're serious and want to do well, tend to want to help you do that with extra study hours and extra credit, but start asking these things and talking to them BEFORE you fail. I was casually talking to one professor I had, and his main thing was that---I'm 100% willing to work with students before a final, before grades come in, but when students show up the last day of class begging for extra credit---he said, look, I tell them, I've been here at all my office hours, at all the study sessions I offered in class and online and handing out extra credit which none of some of the students did all semester and then all of a sudden last day, they want a hail mary....doesn't work that way.

      Also with campus recourses for sure....use them. Get your college discounts, use ALL the campus facilities you can (which you are definitely paying for), use the career center, talk to your counselors---it's a wealth of info and resources at your fingertips or your footprints.

Most Helpful Guy

  • ArrowheadSW

    Good advice. One thing I learned when I moved away, was to not just assume that everyone is mature and "of a higher mind" just because "it is college now" and no longer high school. I met some mean and toxic people there, so I learned that not everyone had their head together just because it was college... LOL

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  • EmbraceThePain

    Fairly comprehensive list, I’m sure you touched upon the main points. Of course, a lot of this is going to slightly differ for everyone, such as myself who had my parents to help me through university financially so I didn’t have to worry about getting job, taxes, etc.

    Reply
  • joeldalton

    Just remember this: You can always retake a class, you can never relive a party

    Disagree 2 People
    Reply
    • Anonymous

      That's a really overly expensive tip. Classes aren't free in college.

  • DWornock

    Those are good rules to follow. Normally your first year of college is easy enough. The college provides food and a room. You do need to be motivated enough to attend class and study.

    Reply
  • collie22

    Get your classes as soon as you can before they fill up. Get your home work done and stay away from the party's

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      Seriously, get your classes asap because one year I ended up with a 6pm class which SUCKED because all my other classes ended by 2pm...so I sat around until 6 and then had to walk back at night. Not my idea of fun.

  • Abdulwahh

    1 study every second day 2 hours
    2 build relationship with people
    3 stop stressing

    Reply
  • AdithyaR

    I'm following all the points except 5 and 7.

    Reply
  • Hannahbananaaaaa

    Either way, you won’t survive it

    Reply
  • Texasguy99

    Try not to get hazed too much

    Reply
    • zagor

      That doesn't happen if you go to a real school and not one dominated by the lame greek crap.

    • I go to smu. I play rugby and didn’t get involved with the Greek life

    • Anonymous

      I'm not sure you can try not to get hazed too much as from what I've heard, that happens to you rather than can you control it. My Uni was pretty strict with their rules and regulations for Frats---(of course some stuff can happen off the radar, we'll never know) but as far as I know, while I was there, there were no incidents legal/police wise involving them.

  • Anonymous

    best advice don't go to college save your money and invest it in a house a rental property and make money that way. college is the biggest scam and waste of time money and resources you will ever encounter

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  • Anonymous

    I'd add one more suggestion because I think it's super important and I think its important is not openly acknowledged often enough: Have sex! This is something you're going to want to do a LOT of, so it's especially important that you figure out how to make it happen early on. If you're not having the sex you want, figure out why and figure out how to make it happen. Then get out there and get it on!

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    Reply
    • damm failed at that part and still a virgin :(

    • Anonymous

      @poneglyphs You went to college, Man? What was the ratio of men to women like? Why no sex?

    • Went to a community College for 3 and university for another 3. I tired getting date or girlfriend but most of the time I got ghosted or stood up.

      50/50 ratio

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