I’m going back to my parents’ house tonight so I can spend some time with my little brother before he heads off to college next weekend! He will be a freshman at DePaul University in Chicago. I am so, so happy and excited for him. College is an absolutely amazing experience and some of the best years of my life. I met my best friends in college. I met my boyfriend in college. I made some of my favorite memories in college. College seriously was the greatest.
But that first semester was ROUGH.
I was homesick all the time. I didn’t know anyone. I was shy, scared, and freaking out.
If only I knew in those first few months what the rest of my time there would hold for me. If I knew then what I know now, my first semester at college would have been so. much. better.
So here is a little advice from me to you college freshman, things I wish I knew when I was going to school for the first time.
- Social media lies. Do not believe those posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. People will say how much they love college. They will post tons of pictures with all their new friends. They will act like they don’t miss high school at all. They are lying. They are putting on a front because they think everyone else loves college too!
- Everyone is freaking out. People will put up a front not only online but in real life too. My college friends and I continuously say we wish we talked about how we were feeling with each other. We wish we told each other how much we missed home and how awkward things feel in the dorm. Do not be afraid to talk to the people around you about how much you miss home. They are feeling the exact same way and you will be able to commiserate together.
- Join clubs! Most schools have an activity night within the first few days of school where all the clubs on campus set up tables so you can get more info about them. Go to this! Sign up for the emailing lists so you know when the first meeting will be, and actually go to the first meeting. And go to the second. And the third. Clubs are a super amazing way to meet new people and make new friends. Find something that interests you and stick with it, even if the people you originally signed up with stop going. Upperclassman notice when you show up consistently to meetings and events and they will take a liking to you, trust me.
- Don’t go crazy. My friends and I still tell stories about people on our freshman floor and the dumb stuff they did while drunk. We still laugh at them. Do not be the person who pees on the floor in the dorm (it literally happened). That stuff will follow you forever. Be reasonable. Stay safe. But still have fun.
- Find a routine. College is weird. You have a few hours of classes a day and that’s it. Then you choose how to spend the rest of your time. You can even choose not to go to class (always go to class. Seriously. Always. Go. To. Class. You will thank me later). With so much freedom it can be easy to push off work and spend time making friends instead. Don’t fall into that trap. Create a routine for yourself. Find some time during the day to study and get homework done. Even if it’s only an hour here or there in between classes. Then you won’t feel as guilty when you participate in a floor-wide game of Heads Up in the common room that night.
Do you have any other advice for college freshman? What was your college experience like?