1. Be prepared for your dreams to change, and embrace it!
When I was a wee freshman, I wanted to be a physicist. It took me two semesters to realize that not only was I terrible at physics, but it made me miserable. If you come in knowing what you want to do, be ready to possibly find out that you’re much better suited, and all around happier, doing something else. If you’re totally undecided, then be open to anything and everything. Try a bunch of different classes, take your general requirements early and you’ll find something you love super easily.
2. Try a whole bunch of new things you’ve always wanted to do (and some you never knew existed)!
Always wanted to try Quidditch? Join the team! Want to make new friends quickly? Join a club or greek life. New roommates want to try some Vietnamese cuisine? Tag along! This is college, it’s your time to branch out and experience new things, so be adventurous and have fun!
3. That being said, don’t do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable.
Wherever you’re going to school, there will be people you will fit in with and who won’t force you to do things that you don’t like or be someone you’re not. You don’t need to prove yourself to anyone, so don’t be afraid to say no. Or to shout it.
4. Sleep. It’s a sweet, precious commodity. Get as much as you can.
You might be tempted to stay up all night and talk with new friends, or party, or just surf the Internet til dawn, which you should do…but not all the time. You’ll find out soon that getting sleep is the single greatest thing in the world. Also, naps are going to be your new best friend.
5. If you feel miserable in your freshman year, it’s likely one of three things: your friends, your major, or your university.
There’s no shame in transferring! If you feel like this school is not your best fit, keep searching for a place that works for you. But sometimes it’s as simple as changing your major or your friends. When I was a freshman, I had a group of friends who made me feel stupid and miserable, who made me feel like I didn’t belong. But I eventually left those friends, and became much happier with my college experience.
6. But in all honesty, the first month is going to be Hell.
You’ll be home-sick, getting used to the buildings, figuring out where not to eat, establishing a routine - all of these things will take time and the best thing you can do is not give up hope that you will someday figure out a system that works for you.
7. Dont be afraid to ask for help - we’ve all been there before.
It might seem like you’re all on your own, but you’re really not! There are friends, counselors, professors, and advisors who all want you to succeed, so don’t be afraid that you’ll look stupid if you’re having trouble concentrating, or that you’re weak if you can’t handle living away from home. The worst thing you can do it keep it bottled up until there’s no escaping it.
8. Everyone has a freshman roommate story, be it good or bad.
For those of you who are dorming, living on campus can be great, and at first dorming will feel like one giant sleepover. However, unless you know who you’re living with, your roommate might not be compatible with you. Hell, even if you do know them ahead of time, you might find that living together is horrible. Or they might become your best friend, you never know. Still, don’t stress it too much - just be sure the following year you find people you want to live with.
10. Remember: There are thousands of kids going through this with you, and even more who have already survived it. Take comfort in that.
Freshman year might seem like an impossible journey that’ll never end, but it will. People have made it through, and you will too! Talk to your friends about your stress and you’ll soon see that everyone is internally freaking out.
11. Most importantly of all: Be yourself, or at least figure out what that means.
For the first time in your life, you’re calling the shots, you’re making the decisions. That doesn’t necessarily mean you will know what’s best for you physically/mentally/emotionally. Take the time to figure things out, don’t let other people tell you who they think you are, and most of all, understand that there may be some things you discover about yourself that you don’t like. Change them if you want to, or accept them. College is the best time of your life to get a good grasp on what you want and who you want to be before being thrown out into the cold, corporate world. Just remember, you’ve only four years ahead of you, make the best of it.
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