By Lauren Beccue
If you’re in high school, you’ve probably heard (and said) it a million times: “I can’t wait for college.” College is arguably one of the most exciting times of a person’s life. However, there are still some things you need to know before you start your first year so that you don’t make one of these all-too-common #FreshmanFails.
#1: Not getting involved.
Too many freshmen start off their year without joining any clubs or organizations – which often leads to a very antisocial semester. So, don’t wait! JOIN SOMETHING: a sorority, the school newspaper, student government, the Quidditch team (yes, those do exist). It doesn’t matter if you know anyone in the organization – that’s how you’ll get to know people.
#2: Not getting to know your professors.
Yes, they’ve got a Ph.D. and have written seven different books you can barely understand the titles of. So, understandably, a lot of kids will be too intimidated to get to know their professors, but here’s a secret: professors WANT to talk with you. Ask them questions about the class, talk about career options, or just discuss whatever interests you! Bonus: that professor could be a great person to use as a reference (which you’ll need when applying for scholarships and internships).
#3: Being afraid to talk to strangers.
Everybody is at least a little scared to start at a new school with new people. The best tip is to just be brave and introduce yourself. Whether it’s your dorm neighbor or that girl sitting alone in the cafeteria, they will probably be just as eager to meet somebody new.
#4: Thinking you can “just get by” like in high school.
High school was a breeze, so college will be too, right? Wrong. College is challenging, and you have to take initiative. Don’t procrastinate or skip class just because attendance isn’t required. Better to learn this now than after you get those less-than-stellar first semester grades.
#5: The dreaded “Freshman 15.”
A lot of freshmen unfortunately discover that the “Freshman 15” (AKA the 15 pounds you gain your freshman year) is very real. Just because your mom isn’t there to cook healthy, well-balanced meals anymore, doesn’t mean your diet should consist solely of fast food and Ramen noodles. It’s tempting at first, but when you have to buy new jeans because the old ones no longer fit, you’ll wish you’d chosen an apple over pizza in that cafeteria line.
#6: Clinging to your high school friends.
Nobody wants to lose touch with their high school besties (and you shouldn’t). However, they shouldn’t be the only ones you hang out with and talk to, even if you’re at the same college. Remember that college is a time to spread your wings and meet new people as well.
#7: Taking that newfound independence a little too far.
It’s not uncommon for freshmen to come to college thinking it’s just one giant party. Not to say you shouldn’t party and have fun, but have some discipline. If you have two exams tomorrow, maybe skip the frat party tonight? When it comes to school and social life, balance is key.
#8: Going “potluck” on the roommate situation.
Getting a random person assigned to live with you for a year often doesn’t end well. However, sometimes rooming with your BFF since 6th grade isn’t the best plan, either. Best advice to find someone you can get along with while still branching out a little? Find your roommate online. There are tons of sites (like RoomSurf) and Facebook groups where you can search through potential roomies and get to know them first. Think of it as the eHarmony of college roommates.
#9: Hibernating in your dorm room.
Sometimes, it’s just easier to chill in bed with your laptop all day (we can all relate). But at some point, you just have to gather up the courage to leave that dorm room and go socialize! You can’t have the “college experience” if you’re trapped in a tiny dorm all the time.
#10: Being too afraid to change your major (even though you HATE it).
Yes, you may have planned on becoming a nurse since you were five. However, if you realize that you aren’t really interested in any of your classes and blood makes you totally squeamish…maybe it’s time to consider a major switch? Don’t be too hasty, but also remember it’s okay if you do change your mind. That’s what college is for – figuring it all out.