Today I want to focus on something that bloggers love to talk about - tips and tricks for incoming freshman! I had what you might call a *ahem*, unique freshman year experience, as it was a chain of events that set off lots of self-discovery and led to issues with anxiety that I'm still recovering from today. But hey, let's focus on the positive! As self-titled perpetual college student, I figure I can impart some knowledge on the incoming freshman, taking from tried-and-true tricks, and also drawing from my own personal experience. So, let's begin!
1. Don't sign up for morning classes if you can help it: Seriously. Don't. Some universities will help you pick your schedule, and although that is well and good, you will not want to be going to class in the morning if you had a late night out. It will be very tempting to stay in your nice, warm bed and skip. If you're able to get enough sleep by going to class later in the day, then do that. Trust me.
2. Don't bring your car to campus: Most campuses don't allow freshman to have cars anyway, so there's really no need for a car or to pay for a parking pass. Many universities have shuttles that bring students to mall outlets nearby and there are also usually some stores or cafe's within walking distance, so save yourself the money and the frustration of trying to find a parking space and leave the car at home (and be environmentally friendly in the process!)
3. Talk to your roommate: No really, talk to them. Lay out rules and boundaries, especially if the two (or three or four) of you are sharing a room instead of just living in separate rooms in a suite. This is super important, because if they go to bed early and you stay up late, there could be a lot of pent-up aggression and frustration if neither person feels comfortable talking to the other about how they feel about. Talk about what to do with dishes, if either of you go out or not at all, what to do if a boyfriend or girlfriend is over - just talk about it. ALL OF IT.
4. If you really hate your roommate/s, you can switch: It is possible! It sort of sucks, having to move your stuff out of a room to another part of the dorm or to another building, but it is possible. If you can't get along with your roommate, the residence life is usually more than happy to help and the RA's are generally very supportive. It is possible. Don't feel like you have to stick in a situation because moving is "too much work".
5. Don't bring your laptop to class: You will be tempted to go on Facebook, Tumblr, and Reddit. It can be nice to type notes instead of write them, but in all honestly a lot of professors don't even allow laptops anyway for that very reason. And who knows, you might actually learn something in the class if you pay attention! :P
6. Explore different classes: Don't feel obligated to take classes in just your major. College is a time to expand your mind, to really learn about you. Take a class on something you don't know about, and you might be surprised to find that you have a new passion. Don't just go to college for the degree, go for the experience of learning about yourself and the world.
7. Avoid the temptation to take huge classes: A lecture hall might seem tempting, and trust me, I know. I used to love large classes and being lost in the crowd, but it wasn't until I transferred schools that I found my love of small classes. Yes, you have to participate more, which seems like the only downside. But really, you get out of a class what you put in. I also found that in small classes, my professors were just so much more dedicated and willing to talk to you one-on-one, plus you get to explore the material in more detail. Yes, I am nerd.
8. You will make new friends: My freshman year, I had a group of friends that I hung out with until I realized that I really hated them. Well, hate is a strong word. I just realized that they weren't my cup of tea: There was nonstop drama, whining, and talking behind other people's backs. I realized: If I heard everyone talk about other people to me, what were they saying about me behind everyone else's back? But fear not: The friends you make your freshman year probably won't stay with you throughout college. Don't worry about it! You will meet tons of people in your classes, and through clubs, and in your dorm.
9. Don't buy books until you have to: This one is IMPORTANT. Books cost so much money, and the campus store makes them at least three times more expensive than they need to be. Amazon and half.com are your best friends, and don't order the books until you're absolutely sure you'll need them for your classes. Some professors just ask for the reading as an add-on and it's never discussed in class. Some campus libraries have large textbooks on hold so students can take them out, copy pages to do homework, and then return them. DO NOT buy your books until you're absolutely sure you'll need them.
10. Look up your professors before you take the class: ratemyprofessor.com is a valuable asset! Don't be afraid to switch out of a class if you hate the professor. Also, keep in mind that although online reviews can be helpful, oftentimes freshman will comment that a professor is awful simply because they gave them homework or made them participate in class. Use your judgement wisely, but know when to be critical of the online reviews.
I hope this was helpful, and I hope that all of the incoming freshman have a wonderful first semester. Remember: Don't be too hard on yourselves, study hard, and enjoy your first year of college! Learn about you, and become who you were meant to be. Explore and expand your horizons!