I get it. You just graduated high school where you were the top dog. You’re ready to tackle college and you know exactly what to do. You know your parents’ advice is outdated and you’ve read enough blog posts that you’re ready.
I was the same way. So if you won’t listen to your parents and you’re looking for one more post to read, at least consider the top ten things I wish I had known as an incoming college freshman.
1: Don’t Take 18 Credits.
No matter what you think, college is different than high school (unless you took Mrs. Mays’ BC Calculus class. That is exactly like college). Plan to study three hours for every hour in class (well, I said plan… we all know that we wait until the night before to study but it’s the thought that counts). You need it. Plus, you don’t realize how much time you don’t have in college because you now cook your own meals, you do your own laundry, you buy your own groceries and you do your own cleaning (this is where you’ll begin to miss Mom). In my opinion, the best way to have a balanced school/work/social/personal life is to take between 12-14 credits. You’ll thank me later.
2: You Don’t Always Have to Buy the Newest Edition of a Textbook.
More often than not, an older version is almost exactly the same and costs significantly less money. I tend to wait until after the first day of class to buy my textbooks. Then I ask the professor’s opinion of different versions and I avoid spending $200 on a textbook I don’t actually need (which has actually happened). And thanks to Amazon Prime, you can get most textbooks within the next few days (yay for student discounts and two-day shipping).
3: Pick Three Majors That Interest You.
Your first semester at college you need to pick three majors that interest you (even if you’re already a hundred percent set on one major). Take one class from each major. This will give you the opportunity to explore any career route that has peaked your interest. You’ll be grateful you did some exploring before it was too late.
4: Join Clubs and Volunteer.
Take advantage of the clubs and volunteer opportunities on campus. They will give you the experience you’ll need when applying for jobs without requiring you to have any prior experience. One regret of mine is that I wasn’t involved enough in the opportunities my campus had to offer. It would have made job application season so much easier. Get involved. Get Experience.
5: Keep Your Dating Standards High.
This is where a majority of my college regrets lie. There are plenty of fish in the sea. Don’t just fall for the first person that shows you a little bit of attention. You’re worth more than that.
6: Get a Sports Pass.
If your college offers a sports pass, get one. Even if you don’t have any friends yet. It will help you make friends and it’s a great way to be involved in your school. Not getting a sports pass is one of my biggest regrets of Freshman year.
Don’t be that guy or girl who never does their dishes. Simple as that. Also, don’t be that roommate who leaves mean notes about dirty dishes (guilty as charged).
8: Call Home Often.
You need it and they need it. No matter how crazy or annoying they are, family will always have your back. Moms usually know the right things to say and Dads usually have your best interest in mind. Call home.
9: Keep Your Chin Up.
You’re not the only lonely person in college. There are plenty of people to make friends with. It just takes time and practice. Keep your chin up and try new things. You’ll make friends.
10: Don’t Lose Sight of Who You Are.
After years of late night papers and endless jobs to pay the bills, it’s easy to lose a little bit of yourself. Don’t become so focused on grades or internships or getting the right job that your personality begins to dull. Invest in yourself as much as you are investing in the future. Go the the gym. Read a book. Paint a picture. Constantly do the little things that make you who you are.
What is your advice to incoming college freshmen? I’d love to hear your tips and tricks in the comment section below!