Dear College Freshmen,
You are about to enter a whole new exciting chapter of your life. These next four years are going to fly by. How it flies, is up to you.
College is going to be very different from your past 12 years in school– and it’s all because of one word- choice. This next chapter of your life is so important to your future, because of the choices you make during your (hopefully) four years.
Chill Out with the Alcohol
I get it, you’re away from your parents; you wanna go to a crazy party like you’ve seen in movies, and get white girl wasted and YOLO it up. To most American freshmen, this is the pinnacle of going to college. But do you realize how many college kids go to the hospital or die because of alcohol poisoning, or how many girls get raped because of being passed out drunk? Or, how many kids go on academic probation or completely bomb out because they can’t handle the freedom away from their parents? Seriously people, have some class.
Sure, going out and drinking and partying with friends (or strangers) every weekend sounds fun- but what’s it going to get you, how’s it going to benefit you? Don’t be like everyone else. Come out smarter and ahead of your future competition.
If you are going to drink, be responsible and have control about it. Don’t make it your lifestyle of doing it so frequently. I’m not gonna sit here and act like I never went to a few parties and drank- but I was never that girl who was a regular and out of control.
There is more to life than getting drunk every single weekend. Many weekends, when everyone else would be getting sh**faced, you know what I would like to do with my boyfriend? Take advantage of the empty gym. Which brings me to my next point:
Alcohol can contribute greatly to weight gain.
The freshman 15 is not a joke. I would even go to say it’s more like freshman 20 or 25- it was for me. You have so many factors playing into this: when and what you’re eating changes, change/lack of exercise, especially if you played a sport in high school; overall, your whole schedule is different and your body is trying to adjust to it in addition to the nerves/stress you may be feeling.
Don’t eat ramen in your dorm every night just because it’s convenient and cheap; and don’t eat a bunch of crap just because you can since you don’t have your mom looking over your shoulder. Take responsibility and feed your body well. Yeah, you may have pizza, burgers, and ice cream available at your cafeteria (all day, everyday), but that doesn’t mean you should eat that every singe day. Seriously guys, balance out your meals with veggies and other whole foods.
*If you’re struggling or don’t know how to eat well on your campus, email me and I’ll help get ya straight. 🙂
You’re going to develop a new appreciation for sleep- especially naps. Listen to your body, but at the same time, make sure you’re getting your work done.
Spend your time wisely. You’re going to have a lot of options as to what to do with your time; from friends to other activities on campus like football games. Make time to have fun and create memories, but don’t let that get you behind on studying/assignments.
Don’t know what the heck you wanna do? That’s OK. I didn’t have clue either. In fact, I didn’t declare until the last semester of my Sophomore year. Your first two years are more gen. eds. based anyways- the same old, same old, you have been learning and adding onto since elementary school.
What do you love? What are you passionate about? What are you good at? Find where it is these things meet, and pursue that. If you’re passionate about something, you are far more likely to succeed in it- especially if you’re good at it. Life is too short to work most of your life doing something you hate.
Choose Your Friends Wisely
The friends you make in the beginning are super important. Often these friends, or circle of friends, are the ones you will spend a large part of your years with. Choose wisely. Surround yourself with people who have similar characteristics, goals, and mindset as you. But at the same time, don’t be afraid to diversify and befriend others from different backgrounds/cultures. You can learn a lot from people of different cultures. Seriously, I can’t stress this enough. Most of my good friends that I made in college are international and they have opened my eyes to so many things.
Be nice. The first week of college can suck. You don’t know anyone, you’re nervous, there’s a lot of unknowns and changes, maybe you already miss home, where it’s secure and everyone and everything you know is familiar. We all go through these feelings; remember that. You’re not alone.
Instead of awkwardly waiting for others to introduce themselves or start a conversation, why don’t you?
Now I’m not talking about being a kiss ass, but once you start getting into your upper-level classes, you’ll typically be in smaller, more interactive gatherings, taught by professors who teach a few of your classes. Get to know them a bit. Speak up in class and talk with them after class every now and then- especially if you have a question or want more clarification on something. Don’t be shy. Make yourself stand out. If they like your character and work ethic, they can write you a powerful letter of recommendation later.
If you have time (after your Freshman year preferably), in addition to classes, studying, and working, join a club! You can meet great friends, connections, and gain beneficial experience from being a member of one of more clubs.
Whether your university requires it or not, take up an internship. Make your next summer a productive one, especially once you are an upcoming Junior or Senior. So many good things can come out of it: connections, a future job, further skills and experience you can put down on your resume. Sure, having a 3.5+ GPA is great- but what is arguably just as important (if not more), is to have actual experience in the field(s) you are studying, before you even graduate. Get ahead of your future competition. Add as much experience under your belt as you can get.
During the last semester at my university, I was a virtual Social Media/Public Relations intern for Together We Rise, a non-profit organization in California, who is making a tremendous impact in the lives of foster care children in the U.S. I am so glad that I interned with them because of the things I was able to experience and learn.
They have a couple of positions to apply for- hit them up!
Don’t Forget the Fam
At college/university, you have one thing to focus on- you. However, don’t become too self-centered and end up forgetting the fam back home. Give Mom or Grandma a call every now and then; stay in touch with them. You being away from home is sometimes just as hard for them too. A text, phone call, or email from you can light up their day.
Learn to accept and appreciate criticism. This is how you grow as a person and learn from experience. Professors aren’t there to give you a pat on the back and say “good job!” when you don’t deserve it- they are there to give you insight on how it’s actually going to be in the real world.
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
Try new things. Always wanted to play that sport you weren’t able to in high school because you sucked? Join an intramural team (if your university offers). Or, if your university is located in the mountains, why not go hiking with a group of friends one day on the weekend.
You don’t wanna look back four years later and think, “man, I should have tried more things.”
Actually Go To Class
Every university varies, depending on tuition; but I remember learning that missing just one class equates to about $80 wasted.
I know, some classes might seem repetitive, rhetorical, boring, or all of the above; but it’s not a good idea to continuously skip a class or classes.
I attended a private university where upper-classmen didn’t really have a mandatory attendance policy unless the Professor set one. Well, during my Senior year, I almost failed a class that did not have an attendance policy, but did have a random participation grade that almost caused me to completely bomb the class, due to missing five classes.
My professor gave me such a low participation grade, to the point where it literally dropped me three letter grades- no exaggeration.
So, take advantage of your education and respect yourself, the professor, your (debt), or whoever’s money that is paying for you to go to college.
Additional pieces of advice:
- Sometimes, you can wait and get your books a week or more after classes start.
- Stay organized.
- Use a weekly planner to keep track of all your classes and assignments.
- Microsoft OneNote is a great tool for note taking on your device(s).
- Keep your part of the dorm clean.
- So many arguments can be avoided with your roommate(s) by being respectful and not being a slob.
- WEAR YOUR RETAINER!
- Mom and Dad aren’t there to tell ya, so I’m gonna tell ya. You didn’t go through all that pain and money for nothin’. Keep your babies straight.
- Don’t be a hoe; stay classy.
- Guys like hoes for the night- not for life.🔑
I realize some of you will take this advice to heart, but end up forgetting it and do your own thing as time goes on- and that’s OK. It’s your life, your decisions. Life is a lesson to be lived and learned. But it’s my hope to influence some of you to stay smart, stay focused; and if you do stray off track, reread this post and swerve back on. Never doubt what you are capable of and what you can achieve!
If you ever want advice or just someone to talk to, shoot me an email or tweet or DM or whatever. I’m here to help. 😊❤️
Share below with someone you know who is an upcoming Freshman!
If you’re an alumni or even a seasoned undergraduate, drop some advice or experiences of yours below in the comments!
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