It’s that time of year again: Back to School! While I, myself, haven’t been a student for a few years now, I was for most of my life and remember this time of year well! Going away to college is the best and scariest thing many freshmen face. It’s exciting because it’s something new. It’s terrifying because it’s a whole new adventure you’re starting and have no idea what the future holds. I remember the car ride up to Ithaca (my alma mater, Bombers for life!) and being so terrified and full of adrenaline. While I had the absolute time of my life at school over the four years to follow, it wasn’t always an easy ride! While I made some mistakes, I wouldn’t change a single thing because the lessons I learned made my college experience everything I needed it to be! Here’s five things I wish I knew before my freshman year.
- Time Management
While high school exams and projects may have you thinking you understand time management, let me tell you, college is a completely different ball game! You are exposed to so many new things that sometimes it’s hard to juggle them all and still come out on top. After my first semester, I learned that I HAD to prioritize my time better or I wasn’t going to make it. There’s a time for fun, there’s a time for friends, there’s a time for sleep and there’s a time to work hard. Sometimes you have to sacrifice fun, friends and sleep to make sure you can work hard, but it’s all worth it in the end. Work Hard, Play Hard.
2. Not All Professors are Good Professors For You
When I was registering for classes, I just registered for the times and courses I wanted and needed. I didn’t pay much attention to who the professors were because I figured, it was college and everything would be fine. That was SOOO not the case! Ratemyprofessors.com became my best friend for every semester thereafter. Just because a professor is teaching a college course does not mean that you’ll learn a lot or that they’ll teach the way you learn! All professors have different teaching styles and you have to find what works best for you. Once I found professors that taught in accordance with the way I learned, life was so much easier! Abuse the heck out of RMP, because it’ll save your GPA!
While I am never one to criticize weight gain (or loss!,) the freshman 15 is something you should be aware of. While of course it’s okay to put on some pounds, it is something you should be mindful of. For me, I went from being a year round athlete eating home cooked meals to no sports and an ice cream bar and fries at every meal! The dining hall experience is new for so many people. You’re allowed to skip out on your vegetables and have ice cream for dinner. Nobody is going to yell at you for having pizza for every meal. You’re a free spirit and can do whatever you want! As Uncle Ben once said “With great power comes great responsibility.” Man, oh man is that true! While you can have french fries with every meal, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should. It’s important to try and stay a bit health conscious not just for concern for your weight, but also as brain food! You’ll have more energy, which will help you focus more (and you’ll be able to party longer into the night without being dragged down by carbs!)
4. It’s Okay to Feel Lonely
I was so self conscious the first week or so because I was totally out of my comfort zone. I had moved up to Ithaca, said goodbye to my family and felt totally alone. It seemed like I would never make friends. It was lonely and sad and of course I had my roommate, but I still felt out of place. I tried to be strong because I thought I was the only one struggling with feeling friendless. I’ll never forget that I put up a status saying I felt “friendless” because I had finally reached my breaking point. It turns out I wasn’t alone! A girl that I will never forget, messaged me on Facebook and invited me to grab lunch the next day with her and her roommate because she felt like she needed to meet people too! It truly changed the entire game for me. I ended up meeting a ton of AWESOME people and it gave me the confidence to talk to even more of my classmates and form relationships that will last forever! I thought I was the only one feeling lonely, but it was great to know that other people were in the same boat even if they don’t show it. What I meant to say is it will get better. If you’re reading this Regina, THANK YOU SO MUCH. After that, I was never homesick again. I now find myself homesick for Ithaca and all of the lifelong friends that changed my world.
5. Don’t Take Anything For Granted
As a freshman, I thought I had all of the time in the world. Four years seems like a lifetime. You think high school went fast? Let me tell you, college flies by ten times as fast! Take advantage of every opportunity. Get your work done. Sign up for crazy clubs for hobbies that interest you. Stay up all night laughing with your hallmates. Study hard, but don’t forget to have fun. While GPAs are incredibly important, don’t let the four years fly by without memories to show for it. These years will be something you cherish forever so enjoy it while you can! Before you know it, you’ll no longer be a freshman, but a post grad writing a blog post about being a freshman!
Well, my loves, that’s some advice that I have after having been through it all. I loved college and the memories I made in Ithaca are some of the nearest and dearest to my heart. College is about learning. It is about learning a craft, learning about yourself and learning about the world in general. It’s some of the hardest and most rewarding moments of life. I hope this helped even just a little bit if you’re just starting college! Let me know in the comments if you have any tips about college or anything you wish you would have known!