7 Lessons from 20 Freshman Years

Don’t be like this guy…

We took a quick poll around our office for seven different tips we all wish we had known before we entered freshman year.  While no list is always complete, we believe these tips serve as a good starting point.  After all, going to college can be a crazy time in your life, so we want you to be as prepared as possible.

  1. At some point, you will look like a freshman – While looking like a freshman is something you’ll probably want to avoid, you need to know that it will happen.  Whether it’s something you did in the cafeteria or at a party, know that everyone will make a fool of themselves and that’s perfectly OK.  Whatever happened, just know that everyone is bound to have a moment or two like that!  
  2. Search out the free food – While bees are attracted to honey, college kids are attracted to free food.  All jokes aside,  depending on different meal plans, free food can help you save money while usually costing you very little time or effort to receive it.
  3. Get a better handle on money – It’s easy to spend money, but it takes discipline to save when you can.  We’re not saying you can’t have fun and spend some of your cash, but always try to think if it can be better spent in other ways, or saved for years down the line.
  4. Create structure in your day – The move to a college atmosphere can be liberating, but the free time that comes along with this experience can create problems for some.  While time management is preached as an important skill, one easy trick to help with discipline is to set a bit more structure in your day.  Instead of sleeping until noon on a weekday that you don’t have class, try to wake up at 9 and read for an hour or two before even touching your computer (that includes Facebook on your phone).  While it’s a simple step, it can help you better manage your free time.
  5. Step out of your comfort zone – Many events in college will actually thrust you out of what you’re used to, which is a pretty good thing!  College is the time to explore your interests and find out how you react to different situations.  After all, there’s no way to learn about yourself unless you’re thrown out of your comfort zone.
  6. Pick your classes based on the professor, and not what sounds cool – Always try to get as much information you can on a professor before you pick a class.  How that professor likes to teach and how they conduct their class are important aspects to be considered when determining your workload for a semester.  Certain classes may sound really cool in the course catalog, but that doesn’t mean they will always turn out the way you expected.  When in doubt, follow the professors and classes that you’ve heard about.
  7. Avoid the fast food – Depending on where you go to school, college dining usually falls somewhere on the continuum between “terrible” and  “best food ever.”  In either case, it’s always easy to resort to fast food when you’re in a rush, or when you want to appreciate the novelty of Mom and Dad no longer being able to choose what you have for dinner.  Remember to keep everything in moderation, as in the college world, fast food usually translates to “fastest way to the freshman 15 food.”

What tips do you have from your freshman year?  For incoming freshmen, are you concerned about anything in particular?

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