Dear College Freshman…
This is my last semester of college.
I’m assuming there are many freshman feeling all the feels, including the same ones I’m experiencing. As my journey through school is closing, I’ve been reflecting on the past three years. It’s difficult, exciting, and I’m glad it’s almost over.
Yet, I still find myself reminiscing.
As I’ve been processing this milestone, here is some unsolicited advice for new college freshman with a few unpopular opinions included ;).
College is NOT the best time of your life.
I know, I know, but hear me out.
The best time of our lives should always be the one we’re living in that current moment. Don’t put unnecessary pressure on your life.
Plus, everyone will tell you the same thing when you get married and when you have grandchildren.
Just LIVE IN THE MOMENT FOR CRYING OUT LOUD. You owe yourself the chance to do that.
I want you to live a life you love. Always.
If you don’t make it to class, you don’t make it to class. No big deal.
This is probably where your mom says, “NO, NO SHE’S WRONG, GO TO YOUR CLASSES.”
Okay. Yes. You should. Obviously.
Let me also assure you, I don’t just go around skipping classes willy nilly.
However, sometimes we get opportunities or it’s just one of those days.
In my design classes, I usually have three absences I can take. Generally, I take them at some point in the semester. Sometimes it’s for a conference or it’s a trip my family invited me too. I let my professors know, I do my work, turn it in on time, and I go. Whatever the reason, I go. Sometimes, the people closest to you are more important than a few days of school. With good communication, professors are willing to work with you.
Side-note, I’ve had a professor literally allow me to take a test in an airport at the same time the rest of the class was taking their test.
It’s okay to fail.
Yes, it’s expensive to fail. I know. But sometimes, it’s unavoidable.
Failing doesn’t mean you’re stupid or you can’t do college, it just means you’re a normal human being. Learn from your mistakes and press through it.
It seems relevant to also add that getting a “C” in a class, is okay. I have seen many of them in my short lifetime. Despite the challenge, I worked hard and I came out of the class with a new understanding and appreciation for the topic.
It’s okay to not have a degree plan your first year.
Most people change their degrees anyways. Save yourself some money, take the basics, and try a few new things out. You might surprise yourself and find something you never knew you were passionate about.
Pick 3 Priorities.
Obviously, that’s why you are there. Not to sleep, not to watch Netflix, not to see your boyfriend. Get the education you are paying for.
Personally, my other second priority is church, I am committed to go to church no matter the situations I’m dealing with, the stress, or the homework I need to get done.
Third, I am pursuing a career as a published author, so my last priority is to write.
And write. And write.
If someone asks me to do something outside of these priorities, I do not make time. I attempt to only commit if the time is already available. Many times, this is my worst failure. It’s amazing how difficult saying no will always be.
Try to keep yourself from being so committed that you have no down time. College is a crazy time and you need to let your mind and body process those things.
Learn to let the small stuff go… I’m talking roommate here.
There is nothing worse than living with someone you cannot stand to be around.
Love the roommate who is hard to live with no matter what, but don’t let them walk all over you. I’m not ashamed to admit I called my apartment and asked for a mediation session with my past roommate.
Why? Because school is stressful enough. I didn’t need to deal with the crazy of someone who couldn’t live with other people.
And that’s okay.
It made the apartment aware of the situation and it helped me and my other roommate when we asked to transfer apartments.
There is nothing worse than living with someone who cannot stand you.
Don’t be the person who makes two people so miserable they ask to be removed from an apartment.
No one likes that person.
Let things go. Discuss your expectations of each other, but remember, you are not your roommates parents. Don’t act like it and treat them kindly.
Finals are a big deal, but not that big of a deal.
Finals are rough, but they don’t have to be. As a Freshman, your finals are nothing compared to your major classes (at least in my experience). The more you stress, the less you sleep, and the worse you will do on your test.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.
Don’t be the person who slept in the library because they didn’t study far enough in advance.
Don’t forget about your family.
They love you. They miss you. They want to see you.
Go home and see them every once in a while. Get your parents birthday gifts and update them on your life.
Let them in on the loop during this brand new phase of life.
Friends will come. Friends will go. Choose wisely.
Friends are hard. Some people have great experiences. Some people don’t.
But, I’ll tell you, the closest friend I’ve made in college lives in Georgia and I didn’t even meet her at school.
Don’t look around desperate to find a friend, you’ll only find unhealthy and co-dependent relationships. Instead, form relationships with people you meet and let it happen naturally.
They say it can take at least six months to form real and lasting relationships.
So, keep putting yourself out there, asking people questions, getting to know them, and embrace the person they are in that moment.
Keep your eyes out for the people around you.
The first year is hard. Don’t get so self-focused that you forget about the people around you. In college, you are surrounded by hundreds of people experiencing the same things you are.
You are lonely. You are anxious. You are depressed.
And that’s normal.
College is hard. You’re moving away from everything you’ve grown to love. You’ve exchanged your comfortability for four years of expenses, experiences, and professors challenging the person you thought you were.
We come out of it changed people. It’s my prayer for you to come out of college a changed person for the better.
Someone who loves well.
Someone who knows how to deal with stress.
Someone who is ready to face the outside world, knowing God has the victory no matter what happens.