Are you a college freshman or plan on going to college soon? If you answered “Yes” to that question please continue reading.
Are you nervous about leaving your comfortable and predictable life? Are you uneasy about leaving the loving, nurturing, caring arms of your family and thrown into the real world after what seems like a short 18 years? Each good-bye seems harder and more difficult to mutter?
Well calm down! You are not the only one with a one-stop, one-way ticket on the run-away train to EMOTIONAL WRECK. 18.2 million students enrolled in college in 2007. I know my statistic is dated 6 years, but it’s the only statistic I could find! There are 18.2 million students in this country who are in the same exact situation in life as you.They too are beginning to embark on this new journey of their lives.
So trust me when I say you are not the only person who is experiencing a million emotions at once and lost for words on how to describe at least one. Back to school season is rapidly approaching and many college freshmen around the country have already or are preparing to move into their dorms. I cannot believe that I was in the same exact circumstance just one year ago. Time moves so quickly and stops for no one. Every moment is valuable and should be spent wisely. I still remember my first of day of high school, for crying out loud! That’s obviously another story for another time. My Uncle paid me a visit the other day and told me that his friend’s daughter wanted to speak with me. She wanted to know what to expect as a college freshman. I am going to tell you the things I think every freshman should know entering college.
- Remember being a high school freshmen and everyone treated you like the first slice of bread? Everyone hated you and tortured you just because you were the youngest students in the school? College is nothing like that.
Colleges and non-freshmen students at colleges actually celebrate freshmen! They absolutely love freshmen, because they are ambitious, excited, and eager to get involved on campus. As a freshman you are going to be bombarded by every single club on campus! They all want you, because freshmen help boost their number of members! Clubs bend over backwards in an effort to get the freshmen to come out and support their cause. Next, your college loves you, because you are a walking dollar sign! Straight like that! They want you to love your first year there so that you do not transfer out after a semester or two. If you do not enjoy your experience and decide to transfer out, your school just lost a significant amount of money. With that being said, please remember that EVERY SINGLE PERSON ON THAT COLLEGE CAMPUS WORKS FOR YOU! College is a business transaction as well as an investment in your future. You pay them a pretty penny to provide a service and that service should be executed well. If their service is not being executed well, let them know! They do not cut you slack by giving you a discount on your tuition; so do not cut them any slack! Never take no for an answer, stay persistent until your issue is resolved and you are given the correct answer. Make them treat you like royalty! Believe me, they will, because they value your business. Finally, if you are a freshmen girl BEWARE OF OLDER BOYS! You are a fresh face on campus, the older boys are hoping that you are excited about your newfound freedom and are even more excited that they are talking to you. They will stalk you! One time I had a young man approach me while I was eating dinner and in mid-conversation with a friend. It was getting a bit ridiculous! At times I wished that I could go outside with a paper bag over my head, so that every male I came across would not feel the need to talk to me or ask for my phone number! Yes, I was asked for my phone number while I was standing in line at Subway trying to purchase some lunch! Some are brave! They want you to be excited that they are paying you attention. Since you are young and have freedom you never experienced before they want to manipulate you. They want to take advantage of the situation and make you think that they like you when in reality they really do not. Unfortunately, they do just want one thing. If you do not believe me, ask yourself why would a 22 year old male about to graduate want to be in a relationship with a freshman who has three more years in college. Ask yourself why a 21-year-old junior cannot find a girl his age. Stick with your own age group! I’m serious these older college boys will have your nose wide open. Oh yeah, do me a favor and stay away from Frat boys! Take it from me!
2. College is what you make it! These are your golden years, the last four-years before you have to get a full time job. You did not pay to sit in your dorm room! Go out, explore your new environment, and get your free snacks.
Get involved on your campus! Having to meet new friends could be very intimidating! Getting involved on your campus is one of the easiest ways to meet new people. Join a club that sparks your interest. Everyone else in that group is also passionate about the same thing. Getting involved on campus will force you to meet new people, learn more about your school, help build your resume and get you out of your dorm room. Anyone who knows me knows that I am pretty outgoing, some may even consider me a social butterfly! I was nervous! The last time I had to make new friends was four years prior during my freshmen year of high school. Go to the free events! College has a ton of free events with free food! Go and just start talking to people! Really common icebreaker questions are: Where are you from? What is your major? Where do you live on campus? You are bound to find something in common with someone at the event. Also remember these people do not know each other either! They are in the same situation as you. They are a freshman at college trying to make friends that produce valuable relationships! Welcome Week is where freshmen make the majority of their friends, because everyone there is a freshman. Everyone there is new, nervous, and anxious just like you. I met some of my really good friends at Welcome Week. How did I meet them you ask? They were all sitting in a group; I walked up to them, sat down, and joined their conversation! Do not be nervous to get people’s phone numbers and to give out yours! Text your new friends and ask them to pick up lunch or dinner with you. I cannot tell you not be anxious and that you aren’t going to come across a few awkward situations, but I can tell you that you will reap amazing benefits from putting yourself out there! Making new friends is not as scary as you think. No one is judging you. This is college, everyone enrolled at your school is an adult, literally 18 and over.
3. Ariana, I was a straight A student in high school and I am scared that I am going to fail out of college. Ariana I don’t even know how I got into college!
Let me assure you that college level work is not as hard as you think it is! College level work is time consuming and takes a vast amount of effort. The key to earning “good grades” in college is time management. They suggest that for every 1-hour you are in class you should spend at least 2-3 hours studying. Spending 2-3 hours studying and doing homework sounds like a long time, but it really isn’t. Once you begin doing your work, you get so engrossed in your task that the time seems to fly by! Know what type of studier you are! I have to go to the silent floor of my school’s library, put headphones in, have a bottle of water and snack available, and take a break every two hours. Create a study schedule for yourself and stick to it! Figure out who the smartest person in your class is and become friends with them. Surround yourself with at least one student from each of your classes who do well and religiously study. Ask them if you could tag along with them to study. Every college uses Blackboard! On Blackboard you have access to the email address of every student in your class. Email some of your classmates and ask them to edit your papers if they have the time. Most schools offer free tutoring and have a writing center. Take advantage of these free resources. Those programs are put in place to help you excel. If you are falling behind, struggling in anyway, need an extension, or need further guidance; do not hesitate to contact your Professor. Email them and visit them during their office hours! They would more than happy to help you. If you were not a straight A student in high school college is your time to shine. I was not a straight A student in high school. My first semester of college I earned a 3.65 GPA and became a member of my school’s Honors College. The key to success is hard work and persistence. Do your work. Why pay your school to earn failing grades? When you go to the grocery store you do not pay for your food then leave your food at the store. So do not pay for your education and leave your degree at your college or university.
4. Party like a Rock, Party like a Rock Star!
Yes, there are parties are college. Yes, people drink underage. Yes, there are bars and clubs that serve people who are underage. Yes, people do drugs. Sorry to burst your fantasy bubble. Welcome to reality! Guess what? It does not have to be your reality. If you are under the age of 21, there is no excuse for you to consume alcohol. I get it; your family is no longer over your shoulder monitoring your every move. You have all of this freedom and do not necessarily know how to use your time in the wisest manner. Pick up a book! Start pursuing your dream. Go to the gym. Get an on campus job. Do something that is constructive and helping you build your future! For some reason freshmen feel like they HAVE to party or all of their fingers are going to fall off. In my first semester I did not go out very much. I went out a handful of times. In my second semester I surrounded myself with more people who liked to party than those who studied. My grade point average dropped. I was going out up to four nights a week. I have nothing to show for it, but a low grade point average. Only go out if you have something to celebrate. If you do not have anything to celebrate that means you have work to do. I AM NOT SAYING GO OUT AND PARTICIPATE IN ILLEGAL ACTIVIES. You can go to a party and just dance. Dancing makes people happy! When you go out to parties be careful. Travel with a crowd, do not carry a lot of cash, and be well aware of your surroundings. Alcohol poisoning is real and you can die or either be rushed to the hospital. Have fun, but remember college is an investment in your future. You pay to go to school not to drink or do drugs.
5. Be the best person that you can possibly be!
Good luck and I hope you love college! To my friends in high school good luck this school year and WORK HARD. “Good grades” in high school equals scholarship money.