50 Totally Real Things You Should Know Before You Go To College
"Don't drink the jungle juice at frat parties. Just don't."
We asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us what people need to know before they go to college, and they gave us some extremely useful pieces of advice:
1. "Books are expensive. Buy them second hand. Or even better, from Amazon where they buy them back."
3. "I wish I'd spent more time away from home before college so that I was prepared for how homesick I felt. Being away from my parents was harder than I'd expected, and I had moments when I wanted to seriously break down over my bowl of Top Ramen."
4. "GET INVOLVED! Whether it's Greek life, a club, or a sports team, it will help you meet more people and fill your resume!"
5. "Don't drink the 'jungle juice' at frat parties. JUST DON’T."
6. "It's OK to change your major a few times if you don't know what you want to do, and there's no shame in starting college 'undeclared!'"
7. "The 'Freshman 15' can easily turn into even more, so utilize the dining hall's healthy options — like salad and fruit — and use the campus fitness center. Working out is also an easy way to de-stress!"
8. "You'll meet lots of new people, but you won't become friends with everyone. And your friendships from freshman year will be different from every other year and that's OK."
9. "Never share a room with your best friend from high school. IT WILL RUIN YOUR FRIENDSHIP."
10. "If you feel uncomfortable with anything, trust your gut. I was a wild child in college, but I always managed to leave parties right before shit went down. Trust your instincts always."
11. "I wish I knew that high school drama never really ends — there are bullies and drama queens at every stage in life."
12. "You probably won't marry the first person you fall for in college. You'll meet lots of people and have both good and bad dating experiences. So just go with the flow instead of expecting to find the love of your life."
13. "You will get sick. A LOT. A college campus is basically one giant petri dish, so bring lots of vitamins and cold medicine!"
14. "Talk to your professors. They are valuable resources and they can help you with time management, research, drafts, or even just lend a bit of empathy and perspective when you need it."
—Emily Barnard Hullo, Facebook
15. "Tell your roommate right away if you're not cool with them having sex while you're in the room. It'll prevent an awkward conversation later, trust me."
16. "Never walk anywhere after dark alone. Most campuses have escorts and security — use them!"
17. "I wish I knew to buy some socially acceptable pajamas."
18. "That the library is not the best place to study. But it's a great place to meet up with your friends and waste time doing everything but studying all night!"
19. "SHOW UP TO CLASS. Even if it's a huge lecture hall where you feel you won't be missed. Professors do notice who participates, and they're more likely to raise a grade or give extra credit if you're one of those people."
21. "'Liquor before beer, you're in the clear. Beer before liquor, never been sicker' is a fucking lie."
22. "Random hookups can be fun — no last names, no numbers, no strings! But stay away from people who live on your floor or are in your classes."
23. "I wish someone had told me to get an internship early in my college career. Employers value experience over everything."
24. "Registering for classes can sometimes feel like WWIII. If you're not ready to hit that button as soon as the time slot you want opens, you're fucked."
25. "For the love of all things holy, do not be afraid of being yourself. We're all weirdos anyway."
26. "Attend Greek life info meetings even if you aren't sure Greek life is for you — I wasn't planning on joining a sorority, but I did, and it was one of the best decisions of my college life. Plus, it's helpful for networking!"
27. "Invest in a quality mattress topper. Your bed will be your lifeline throughout college, so you'll want to be as comfortable in it as possible."
29. "Wait until after college to get married. I was married at 19, and divorced at 23, and I'm still sad about all the things I missed during my college years because I was busy juggling college life and married life."
30. "If you don't get along with your roommate, don't be afraid to ask for a room transfer. This isn't the hill you want to die on."
31. "Look up your professors BEFORE taking their class so you know if their style is right for you. Some of them really care about their students personally and others, well, don't."
32. "It's OK to start at a junior college, especially if you don't know what you want to major in yet. I spent four years trying out different classes at a junior college until I found something I loved."
33. "Be smart about your stupid decisions when it comes to sex and 'experimentation'. Learn about yourself and take risks, but don't do anything that will really fuck up your life."
34. "Your high school relationship won't last, and it'll be hard. But you'll come out on the other end full of self-love."
35. "You shouldn't choose your major for the money you could make, but for what you love learning about."
36. "Never again will you have so much freedom with so little responsibility, so enjoy it!"
38. "I came from a small town where most girls were expected to join a Panhellenic sorority in college. Three years and thousands of dollars later, I realized it wasn't for me. So I joined a business fraternity instead that was diverse and inclusive, and have never been happier. Don't let what's expected of you define how you find your tribe!"
39. "Self-care is important. If you're feeling so stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed that it feels like the world is caving in, it's time for a break. Take a few hours to do something that relaxes you. Your brain will thank you."
40. "READ THE SYLLABUS. Some professors won't mention upcoming assignments until right before they're due because they assume you've already seen the due dates. I learned that the hard way when I had to write a huge term paper in one night."
41. "You'll have to put in effort to keep your pre-college friendships in your life, and you need to be prepared to let some of them go. People drift apart, and it's OK."
42. "Don't be afraid to eat or grab coffee ALONE! Nobody cares who you're with or what you're wearing. Eventually, your high school mindset will start to fade away."
43. "Meet with your advisor OFTEN to make sure you are on track in your degree program. Those relationships usually help with internships, networking opportunities, or jobs, too!"
44. "If you commute to school, it might take a little extra effort to make friends and feel like you belong."
45. "Being in college doesn't just magically fix your social life. If you were lonely and friendless in high school, you're going to be lonely and friendless in college unless you start talking to people, joining clubs, and trying to make friends."
46. "You have to sleep. Seriously. Sleep is the best way to consolidate memories and information, and if you are so tired you can't focus, you'll be wasting your study time anyway. Sometimes, staying up late to finish a paper is necessary, but pick your battles."
47. "Research your student loans before committing to them. Some of them are more difficult to pay off."
48. "Remember why you're there. It's so easy to get caught up with friends, relationships, parties, activities, gossip, and all the other shit in-between. But don't let it interfere too much with your actual education. It's easy to let your GPA tank, but it's much harder to get it back up."
49. "Give your school a chance, even if it wasn't your top choice. The school I ended up at really was the perfect school for me, and now I can't imagine ever being anywhere else."
50. "And finally, college is great, but don't worry if your experience isn't perfect. Ultimately, it’s only about 5% of your life."
Some responses have been edited for length and clarity.