Are you starting college in the fall? Are you close to nearing the end of your high school career? Then this post is for you.
To kick off my back to school/college series, I’m sharing with you 10 things I wish I knew before starting my freshman year in college! Even if you have older siblings, have read a million of these posts, or have a general idea of what college may look like, one can never be too prepared. (Take it from the girl who probably wasn’t prepared enough.)
1) Everyone feels as nervous/weird/unprepared as you do. Even if no one is showing it, every freshman who is starting college is FREAKING OUT. They don’t know what to expect either, so it is okay to let your guard down and quit pretending like you have a clue of what college is like.
2) The friends that you make the first couple weeks of school, or even throughout the first semester, are not guaranteed to be your BFFs all throughout college. Friend groups are constantly changing in your freshman year. It wasn’t until sophomore year that I felt like I had a steady friend group. Learn to enjoy the time that you are spending with others around you as you meet lots of new people.
3) There is never a time that you don’t have homework. Yes, your homework might not be due until the following week, but throughout my college career, I have almost always had some assignment to do or work on. Take advantage of those days where the “only” thing that you have to get done is that end-of-semester project. You’ll thank yourself come finals week.
4) It is possible to avoid the “freshman 15.” If you choose to eat well, move and exercise regularly, and regulate your sleeping patterns, there is a good chance that you can dodge the freshman fifteen. It isn’t inevitable–it just depends on the individual’s choices and habits.
5) It takes a lot of effort to keep up with friends at home or at other universities. If some of your friends live at home or are going to a different college and you want to keep pursuing a friendship with them, be intentional about it. Call them while you are walking to class, send them a quick text, FaceTime them while you are doing laundry! If you are good enough friends, both of you will find time and put in effort to talk to each other.
6) It’s okay to say no. Whether it is a small event in your residence hall, an event that the university is putting on, or a group of friends wanting to catch a bite, there is always something social going on. It is okay to put yourself and your priorities first and say “no.” (I’m still learning this, FOMO is a real thing.)
7) You don’t need to bring that many “cute” clothes to school. Throughout high school, I was the girl who always wanted to look cute and I paid special attention to what I was wearing. However, after the first couple weeks of college, I found my regular uniform to be a t-shirt with my school’s logo on it, a pair of leggings and some Nike’s. Sure, bring a couple of cute pieces to mix and match, but comfort wins over cuteness when you are rushing off to class, running on 3 hours of sleep.
8) Scheduling is important. The only way that I have found to survive is to plan on how I use my time and my energy, before the day even begins. Get a planner, look at it at least three times a day, and keep track of what you have to get done and what you would like to. Plan, plan, plan!
9) It’s okay to rest. Similar to number six–more on this later, in a future post!
10) Independence has its’ benefits and disadvantages. This isn’t meant to scare you–trust me, I love being independent. However, sometimes independence can feel a lot like loneliness. Not always, but sometimes. This is a growing pain of growing up, but it will get easier. Take comfort in the fact that friendships form slowly, family is one call away, and most of the other students around you feel the same way.
Know that this first year will be an incredible adventure, whatever it may bring. College is a wonderful and unique time of growth, maturity, freedom, and fun. I hope that you feel more prepared, and more excited, after reading this post!