I have recently seen numerous blogs and Buzzfeed posts with lists of things people learned after their first year of college. I have agreed with many and I decided to make my own! My younger sister will be going to college in the fall so what better time to make my own list. I am finishing up my third year right now. I have no idea where the time went. It really does fly by. Here are my 25 Things I Learned After My First Year of College.
Photo source: The Viewer’s Commentary
1. Live on campus your first year wherever you go.
You are guaranteed to meet new people and find your nitch group. RA’s will talk you into going to building events in order to meet more people and get more involved. Everyone leaves their doors open a lot as a friendly gesture to just say ‘hello’ as you walk by. It is like a giant hotel and you can always find someone to hang out.
2. Do your research before and after having an advising appointment.
Do not trust your advisors. I repeat, do not trust your advisors. They see so many students throughout the day and there is no way they can assist every student perfectly. They often open your file for the first time right when you sit down. My advisors, for example, do not just see Mass Communication students. They also see every other major in the College of Arts and Sciences. That is a lot to keep track of. Many will try to tell you that you need more electives and other classes when you really don’t. You CAN graduate in 4 years if you plan everything out correctly.
3. Do wake up super early and sign up for classes right when they open.
Make sure you are somewhere with really good Internet connection. I have found out that campus is usually better than my apartment complex. One semester I could not get onto the portal and I was locked up for over 2 hours. I ended up missing out on about 3 classes because they filled up.
4. Pay attention to events where there are free things.
So many events are catered to freshman to get them involved on campus. From water bottles to t-shirts to food, take every opportunity there is when you see the word free.
5. Get a part-time job if you have the time.
Whether it is off campus or on, get a part-time job. Not only will it add to your resume, it will also show that you can balance work and school to future employers and internships. You also get a break from school friends and school in general. Spending money is also nice to have.
6. You will be homesick and feel lonely during most of your first semester.
The first day of move in is super exciting and then your parents leave and it starts to set in. If you luck out with a good roommate the transition will be easier (which I did!). The first few weeks will go great then you will hit this middle slum where you feel like you have fake friendships with some of the new people you met. Then all of a sudden after Christmas you are finally falling into place and realizing where you fit in.
7. You can get by without joining a sorority.
Do I judge sororities? Maybe…yes. You basically pay money (SO MUCH MONEY) in exchange for friends. Do it the hard way and make your own friends through classes, your dorm, at parties, etc. However, there are numerous academic and service sororities that are promising. I have made long lasting friendships in college without joining a sorority. So have many of my friends from other schools. Do not feel obligated to join one.
8. Always make a friend in every class.
You don’t need to be best friends, but find someone who takes decent notes and comes to class regularly. It can be a nightmare to get the notes you missed from a day you were not in class, especially if the professor doesn’t post the notes online.
9. Don’t let guys (or girls) upset you like silly relationships in high school.
You will meet people at parties that you think are awesome and attractive and so on and then they forget about you by the next day. When it comes down to it, a lot of people in college are just trying to have fun and see who’s at there. Bad relationships will only make you stronger. So be confident and love with find you. Don’t go looking for it.
10. It’s okay to take naps.
Take as many naps as your schedule allows. This is the only time in your life you can do this.
11. Have double of everything.
It is too much work to carry around a purse and a backpack at the same time. So make sure you have chapstick, pens, lotion, hand sanitizer, bobby pins, flash drive, gum, and so on in each. It is way too complicated to switch things back and forth all the time. Your whole day will be ruined when you realize you forget to switch your chapstick out of your purse, believe me.
12. Your tolerance level goes way up.
Vomit in the dorm bathroom, loud neighbors during quiet hours, 7am fire alarms, trash overflowing in the hallway dumpster, dirty microwave, snoring roommate, the difficulty of shaving your legs in the small shower……you eventually just stop caring about everything.
13. Learn what local businesses give a student discount.
It’s usually just 10%, but hello, money is money. Everywhere you go ask if they do a student discount.
14. Invest is a good umbrella and waterproof shoes.
It seems to rain more on campus than ever before in your whole life. Walking around with wet tennis shoes or ruining your new suede boots will result in a really crappy day.
15. High school drama does not stop in college.
Girls are still poosty and guys are still jerks. There will always be drama. Try to stay out of it, but sometimes it’s impossible. Always be the bigger person and get over it. Hopefully your friends will follow suit and admire your mature personality and eventually the drama will be less and less.
16. Do all the extra credit you can.
Extra credit is super rare in college so when a professor offers it DO IT. There are barely any grades in your classes. Most are just a few exams and a paper. Extra credit can make or break your grade.
17. Take deep breaths when you have a do a group project or look over a classmate’s paper.
So many people in college seem to lack basic writing skills, not sure why this is but..I don’t even know, it baffles me. Try your best to correct grammar issues if you have to look over each others work. Also pray that you get through dreaded group projects. You will probably have to get together at 9pm on a Sunday because that is the only time all of you can get together. You will end up doing the whole project. Oh well, at least you got an A.
18. Follow the parking rules on campus.
Workers are out constantly writing tickets for those parked in the wrong lot or for their meter running up. Tickets usually start at about $15. May not seem like much, but a week’s worth of food can be bought for $15. Priorities, people.
19. Your checking account will see the lowest of lows sometimes but that’s okay.
From food to laundry detergent to extra supplies for classes, getting to that next Friday payday will seem like lightyears away. Keep a small cash stash somewhere in your room for when the money gets low. If all else fails, call mom and dad. If they are nice they will lend you a few dollars.
20. Procrastination cannot be avoided.
You will be slammed with projects and papers and end up putting something off to the side to finish later. Next thing you know it has to be uploaded on TurnItIn by midnight. Suddenly you just broke the world record writing a 5 page research paper in an hour and a half. It can be done.
21. Your hunger will find you at night and not let you sleep until you make that Easy Mac.
Taco Bell runs, Jimmy Johns deliveries, the local Chinese restaurant. They all sounds so delicious at 11pm. It’s okay, go ahead and order it. Just go to the fitness center tomorrow.
22. It’s college, you are 99.99999999% likely to drink underage.
You will give into peer pressure and most likely drink at parties. Just be smart. Make sure your phone is charged. Go, stay, and leave with friends. Have a friend who can give you a ride home if you need to. Do not get behind the wheel and potentially ruin your life or someone else’s forever.
23. You will often have more fun sitting in your dorm singing to 90s music and taking Mac Photo Booth photos than you will at that party off campus.
Sometimes you show up to a party thinking it will be the most fun night of your life. But in reality, you know no one there and the music is so loud that the cops will probably show up within 30 minutes. There is also never an even balance of guys and girls. You will either feel creeped out by all the guys checking out every girl that walks through the door or you will be constantly judged by every girl because girls judge everyone. Stay in your dorm and hangout with your small group of friends.
24. You will have let downs.
I got a C my freshman year in a random Anthropology course. Guess what, my GPA is a 3.8. You will do awful on exams or homework assignments sometimes, but I promise life will go on. You will change your major, hate your roommate at one point or another, forget to set an alarm, not get into a class you want….this list could go on forever. Your good times will out number the bad times.
25. It’s okay to do absolutely nothing.
You do not need to go out and do something every single night. Sometimes you just need a night in where you binge eat ice cream and watch reruns of Friends all night. What? I have never done that… There will always be another party or event or concert or movie or anything. Sometimes the best way to deal with stress is to just have some alone time to think and clear your mind.
I feel like I could write for days, but I am forcing myself to stop at 25. College goes by so quickly. Live every moment, have fun, make new friends, take every opportunity that is thrown your way.