A big sister’s advice to her younger sister for her freshman year.
After a summer of planning and organizing for your first year away at College, the time is drawing near for you to embark on this new journey.
It’s around this time when you start to look for answers on how you’re going to deal with your first year. You're excited, but you may also be experiencing some anxiety, as most do, when leaving home for the first time. Here’s some life lessons and tips that I wish someone would’ve shared with me before I headed to college. You can refer to them as Freshman do’s and don’ts.
If your roommates suck, guess what? You're stuck with them!
You will quickly learn that if you don’t like the way things are going at college, you can’t call mom or dad to fix it.
Take your roommate situation for example.
Unless it’s an extreme situation, if your roommate sucks, you’re stuck with them for the year. One thing you can do is get acquainted really fast with others on your floor so at least you have other outlets outside of your room who you can hang with in the communal spaces. Also, claim your space. You have an entire campus to roam and enjoy but we all need a space of our own to go back to at the end of the day so claiming your space is crucial. When you are far from home that tiny space on the left or right side of the room becomes your lifeline. This also let’s that sucky roommate know that just because you guys aren’t a good fit, doesn’t mean you are going to let her run you out of your own room.
2. Explore your college town
If you're going to college out of state, the first thing I’d recommend is exploring your college town. This will give you an opportunity to find the best places to take friends, find the best places to shop, check out the local events and even find cool places that are date worthy. Exploring your college town is a great way to cure boredom in the event you just feel like taking a break from campus.
3. Join clubs
Being homesick is one of the worst things to deal with during your first year at college and the best cure for that is to participate, participate, participate!
Log in to your school’s page and check out all of their clubs and organizations to occupy your time while you're at college. The great thing about joining a club on campus is that the people who run it are very inclusive so even if you're new they won’t make you feel like an outsider. Speaking from personal experience, the best thing I ever did my freshman year was join the community service club which brought me out of my comfort zone. Every week we supported different groups of people within the community so I was able to help others in need while forming new friendships with people who attended my college. I also joined a Sorority which was something I never aspired to do, but provided me with lifelong friends and a huge network I would have for life. Joining clubs in addition to your school workload will leave no time for being homesick.
4. Eat at different dining halls on campus
The best part about your first year at college is all of the foods that you get to eat. Don’t get me wrong I love a home cooked meal as much as the next person but there is something so satisfying about a large variety of foods when you’ve had a long day of classes.
As a freshman, you’re so busy with classes, student activities, and studying that you sometimes forget to grab breakfast (it’s happened to me many many times). The dining hall is probably where you’ll spend most of your time during freshman year. It's a great way to expand your horizons and try new foods that you might not have thought you’d liked. Also, eating at the different dining halls on campus is a great way to make new friends. I met one of my best friends on a line in a dinning hall and throughout our time at school, we made plans to try and have dinner once a week at a different spot on campus.
5. Take a deeper tour of the campus before classes start
This is a great way to get familiar with your campus before the stress of the first day arrives.
And I’m not talking about the tour they took you on when you were visiting colleges.
This particular tour is about exploring areas that you will enjoy spending time over the next four years. Figure out where your classes are going to be and where the best places to study are; getting that out of the way. After taking the more studious part of the tour, find new places to hang out rather than the library or the dining halls. The campus quad during the first months of Fall semester was a great place to relax after a day of long classes for me. Also, some campuses offer shuttle services to off campus destinations. For example, during the fall they might take you to a farm to go apple/pumpkin picking or some schools take students to places like sky obstacle courses. These are things that they don’t show you on your regular campus tours.
The most important thing that I want to share is to make the most of every experience because your college years will go by so fast! They will be both exciting and stressful, but I promise it will be the best years of your life. Now go kick freshman ass like I know you can!
Your big sis