When I reminisce about my freshman year, I think about how painfully fun that year was. I was completely new to the college experience and didn’t know what to expect. Here are some things I wish someone told me before starting my first year.
Set high expectations for yourself and others.
It’s important to have expectations starting off any new chapter of life. They keep us grounded and accountable for our actions. It’s so easy to move onto campus and throw away our morals and general upbringing because we’re away from home and treated like adults. Being without adult supervision is not an excuse for bad behavior. This only hurts us in the end. We need to have those high expectations for ourselves and especially others. Don’t give people permission to treat you poorly because “you’re in college now.” I think one of the main reasons why students suffer their freshman year is because they don’t carry the level of expectations that they need to succeed.
I was one of the college freshmen who didn’t really think to have high expectations. Now I didn’t throw out my entire moral compass, In general, I usually have high expectations for myself, but I thought I no longer needed them since I was able to make it to college and adulthood without stressing. My GPA nor my personal life were not too impressive finishing my first semester. My best advice to combat this is to develop a strong sense of your morality before you leave for college. As much as you’ll grow and change, your morals won’t. You’ll need them to navigate through college.
Those that start with you, won’t see graduation with you.
This is so sad, but unfortunately true. According to the Washington Post, more than half of students drop out during their freshman year. So think about it. More than half of your freshman year friends will decide to drop out. Not to mention the ones who will decide to transfer or take a gap year.
I think that this is part of the reason why college friendships are lifelong. There are so many peaks and valleys to being a college student. So being able to connect with someone freshman year and manage that relationship is very special. I can honestly say that the friends I made during my college years are the closest relationships I ever had. Some of them I met randomly, but most I met by being approachable in-between and after classes. I wouldn’t have made it without some of them. They became my sounding board and support system. You’re all going through the same things together. Never again will you have the opportunity to be this close to people until you have your own family.
Take advantage of all of the free food opportunities.
In college, you need to remember one rule: Free Is Me! That simply means if an organization on campus is offering anything free, you should attend. This especially includes free food. Most of us don’t cook often so getting that free pizza and t-shirt will always be worth it.
While I was a student at Augusta University, I racked up in everything. I collected so many shirts that I had to leave some at home during breaks. Sometimes, I would be one of the last ones to leave an event so I could as much of the leftover food as I wanted. These weren’t my proudest moments, but I wouldn’t take them back. Attending events will help you build a network of not only friends but with faculty and staff. It’s important that they can recognize you and have positive interactions with you.
Value academics over everything else.
College isn’t solely about academics. During this experience, you’ll be tested in all areas of your life. Prioritizing and time management is an ongoing battle. While you’re in college, your academics should always be a top priority. There will always be a party to go or something to binge-watch on Netflix, but that test or assignment you’re procrastinating isn’t going anywhere.
Freshman year is a time where you can take charge of your life and make your own priorities. Yes, you will have to make sacrifices but it’ll be worth it in the end. One of my biggest regrets from freshman year was not starting off strong academically. And to be completely honest, my GPA didn’t get much higher from where I started freshman year. It didn’t even come close to my high school GPA. Having a strong academic career while in college is the single most valuable asset you can have matriculating through college. Don’t play with your GPA.
It’ll be the most fun year you’ll ever have.
As scary as it is to start this new chapter, freshman year will hands down be one of the best years of your life. The entire college community will come together to make sure you feel supported in every way. They want you to enjoy this year so there will be special events and programming just for you. You should take advantage of all of these opportunities.
I loved freshman year. There were certainly some moments I regret, but I survived. Hopefully, I won’t have to relive any freshman year anytime soon. Whether you’re going to college soon or graduated, have fun, but make wise choices.
What did you learn from your freshman year?