I remember the first day of my freshman year. I had two classes, one in the morning and one at night. I had practice for volleyball in the middle of the day and weight lifting right after it. It flew by in a flash, but I knew I would always remember it.
Now, at the end of my sophomore year in college, I have learned so much from my university. Not just school, but about myself. Looking back on freshman year, I can think of a few things that I wish I knew when I started college.
Here’s a list of ten things I wish I knew before I went to college!
#1 Schedule classes in the time that works best for you.
In my first quarter, I had an 8am. It was Statistics, a math class that I needed for my major. For most of high school, I had a class that would start at 7am. It shouldn’t be that bad, right? I would get an extra hour of sleep! I was wrong. I don’t know how I did it in high school, but I am definitely not the morning person that would thrive at an 8am. Some people are, and that’s amazing! I’m happy that they can schedule their classes in that time. People like me can enjoy our 10:30am classes just as well.
#2 Make sure you can eat healthy.
The Freshman 15 is very real. I was fortunate enough to have a sport to help keep me in shape, but I have seen many freshmen go through it. I changed a lot of dietary habits myself between my first and second year of college. It’s hard to find a good, affordable way to eat healthy when you’re living in a dorm and don’t have a kitchen at your disposal.
If your university has a dining hall in a buffet style, like mine, make sure that you take advantage of all the different options. There are, of course, usually choices such as hamburgers and fried foods, but there are probably also salads and chicken and other dishes that make for healthier alternatives. Of course it’s okay to indulge every once in a while and eat the food that you’re craving, but make sure it’s in moderation and in such a way that the Freshman 15 can be avoided.
#3 Take advantage of your easier classes.
While this might seem like a no-brainer, many people find it easy to relax their first year of college. For my first quarter, I was so excited to live away from home, in a dorm, living near all my friends and spending time with my volleyball team, it was easy to not try as hard as I possibly could in my classes. I made good grades, but I could have gotten higher if I had really applied myself in any of my 101 classes.
GE’s are required by most universities or can be taken at a community college close to home. The easiest classes I have ever taken are GE’s and I should have taken advantage of how easy they were. Getting an A in a GE will boost your cumulative GPA and help you in the long run.
#4 Find a way to document your experience.
As stressful as it is, college has been by far one of my favorite experiences in my entire life. Thanks to apps like VSCO, Snapchat, and Instagram, I can keep my favorite memories in the form of photos or videos. I’m lucky that Snapchat added the Memories option just as I left for college because I have been able to save so many great memories through it.
Take as many photos, videos, or snaps as you can. With the technology available today, you’ll be able to look back on them as much as you’d like for years to come!
#5 Utilize the resources on your campus.
At your university, there are most likely resource centers located around your campus. I like going to the Women’s Resource Center at mine for printing or other academic needs. There’s also the library and the resources located there. It’s always beneficial to use the things around you to the best you can.
There are also clubs and organizations you can join for enjoyment that helps your resume! Find someone or something on campus that makes you happy and makes your time at college more enjoyable.
#6 Know what to bring and what not to bring if living on campus.
When I was a freshman, I brought almost my entire closet with me. Not only did I struggle fitting it all in the closet in my dorm, I barely wore a quarter of my closet on the regular. I brought so much that I didn’t need and it was a waste of space in my room that could have been utilized better.
My second year, I brought way less, but it was still too much. The way that I’m going to fix the problem for myself is, as I’m packing, hold up each item of clothing and ask, am I really going to wear this consistently? Hopefully that will help me when packing for my junior year.
#7 Know how to do laundry and cook for yourself.
I can’t stress how important this one is. When I first came to college, I had the most basic grasp of laundry. I use Tidepods and dryer sheets, so I’m stilling “cheating” in the way that I’m not doing laundry in the most normal way. When I get my own apartment and have my own washer/dryer, I plan on learning the complex way to do laundry but while I’m in college, I’m using Tidepods.
I learned how to cook for myself and my boyfriend in my sophomore year, when I lived in apartment-style on-campus housing. After some trial and error, I managed to get five or so dishes that I could make within half an hour. I suggest learning how to make them before you leave for college so that you don’t waste any food trying to learn and accidentally burning it.
#8 If you have a roommate, establish rules.
In your college career, you will most likely have at least one or two roommates. My freshman year, I shared a dorm with a teammate and my sophomore year I shared the apartment-style suite with friends from freshman year. Sharing a room with someone is hard, especially if you are very different people. Setting rules about quiet hours, cleanliness, overnight guests, and other important issues are crucial to a good roommate relationship.
If not enforced by your RA, I suggest printing out some rules and getting both you and your roommate to sign and agree to the rules. You can set the rules together and make it a bonding experience.
#9 Make friends in your classes.
This is one of the most important things I wish I had done my freshman year. When I missed class (traveling for volleyball games), I had to make sure I had a way to get the notes from the class and got the homework assignment. I relied on telling the teacher beforehand and asking for the materials afterward. If I had reached out to my classmates, it would have been a lot easier.
In my second year, I made friends in every class and actually ended up staying friends with most of them (shoutout to Ana from Com100)! I was up to date with all of my assignments and didn’t have to worry about a teacher not wanting to give me the notes.
#10 Bring a reusable water bottle so you can stay hydrated while on campus.
My freshman year, I bought my first Hydroflask. This was one of the best decisions I made, so I’m adding it as advice instead of something I wish I had done. On the days that I have classes, I’m usually walking around campus all day. On the days I didn’t have my water bottle, I found that I was less focused and more distracted.
Studies have shown that a higher intake of water leads to a higher focus, so this is a neat trick for difficult classes. If you have a reusable bottle, you can refill it around campus and save the environment while being a better student. There’s no letdown in the situation!
These are all the things that I wish I had known before I started college! I hope that they help you or someone you know. Comment below if there are any things I should have added or questions you might have!
Thanks so much for reading!