No, this is not a list of tips to help you achieve your goals of gaining the “Freshman 15.” You’ll have to go somewhere else for that! This is a list of my 15 tips for college freshman--since I am a college sophomore and am totally qualified to give my imput! I know I did a smaller tips post earlier this summer, I think some of those tips ended up here as well. Consider this my official tip list.
1. Don’t fret about overpacking. You’ve never lived in a dorm before; who knows what all you will really need? I don’t know you so I can’t even tell you what YOU need. This is the year you pack to much, realize what you don’t need at all and leave it at home next time around.
2. You’re responsible for you. My parents told me about a meeting they had at my school while I was enrolling in my classes: the message being that professors and even advisors are not our parents. In college you are the one responsible for getting your credits, waking up on time, eating right and showing up to class everyday.
3. Be careful with your money. If there is one valuable lesson college has taught me it is how to be frugal. Food is provided on campus with a meal plan (you don’t have to go out every night!) and the clothes in your closet will definitely get you through the semester if you just get creative.
4. Look into employment while in school. I know the work load can be on the heavy side, but this is our gateway into the real world; you need to be able to juggle. Don’t worry if you can’t get a job freshman year (I didn’t!) But if you are looking for more spending money you should look at it as an option.
5. Talk to your roommate. I feel like the awkward period of “Do I really like you?” is kind of inevitable, but you really do need to talk things through. The reality is that you are sharing a small living space for 8 months. Do you really want to walk into an awkward and tense atmosphere everyday after a stressful class?
6. Don’t be afraid to go it alone. I will admit to being one of those people who need to be with a group out in public at the risk of looking sad and lonely. But during my freshman year I got over that. All of my friends had different classes with different study schedules so I often found myself making solo trips to the museum or Panera. It’s no big deal! It gives you some time alone with yourself.
7. Know your breaking point (stress!) It’s no secret that college is can be difficult and at times a bit stressful. It is your job to know when enough is enough. There is no harm in walking away from a study session to take a breather and re-gather your thoughts. You’re not the only one who does it!
8. Comfort zone. While it’s good to break out of your comfort zone once in awhile for the sake of exploration, don’t allow yourself to feel too pressured to do something. You are allowed to say “no” and no one should judge you for it; and if they do, so what? Were you seeking their approval in the first place?
9. The actual “Freshman 15.” I know you’ve all heard the stories of people taking their food freedom too far and gaining some extra lbs. I will have you know that I made it the whole year without gaining the weight. It’s called self-control people! The healthy lifestyle shouldn’t stop for college students!
10. Greek life. While I never made an effort to join a sorority some of the girls I know did and enjoy it. Some did it for the experience, because other women in their family did, or because of their major. I think the one big turn off for me was the fact that you have to pay like $300-$400 to join. It wasn’t worth it in my mind. But if it is for you, go for it! I’ve heard good things.
11. Shop around. Textbooks are obnoxiously expensive and the school bookstore has no problem screwing you out of everything your worth. The internet has been my shining savior. Amazon has great prices for used books (and some books are available on the Kindle!) and Chegg has some lower prices on new textbooks as well if you need to buy new (for web-codes and such like)
12. Keep tabs on your laundry. If their was one saga in my dorm last year, it revolved around laundry. Wash for a half hour and dry for a full hour. You better be their to grab your clothes otherwise someone else will do it for you. I personally don’t like people touching my clothes so if you know you’re going to be a little late, leave a note saying so with your number in case someone really needs the machine.
13. Invest in extra storage. Storage can be limited in a dorm room. I hit the jackpot last year with closet space (walk-in, baby!) but this year I only get a wardrobe and a few drawers. Buy some bins to store clothes and shoes that aren’t in season yet and store them under your bed to save yourself some space.
14. Get involved on campus. Everyone says it because it’s totally true! My campus is a massive one and there is no way to get to know everyone. But if you are out to meet people and maybe make a few friends join some clubs and organizations that interest you. They have of course school government, clubs within majors, sports, and some quirky ones--Quidditch anyone?
15. Always show up to class! Do I need to explain this one?