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8 Tips For Incoming College Freshman

Listen While Reading: Do You Want It All // Two Door Cinema Club.

I’m at a school that I love, I’m in a city that I love, and I’m studying what I love. Now, fortunately for me, I have all of those things, but I think that the last one is all you really need to be happy and successful in college. The first two are simply perspective. You have to go into college with the attitude that you’re going to make the absolute best of your academic and social life, even if it isn’t what you had imagined for all this time while you were obsessing over your dream school that you ended up getting rejected from or couldn’t afford. It’s a harsh truth, but yeah most people don’t end up at a college that they thought they would go to because the U.S. sucks at making college affordable, but that’s okay. It’s on the colleges to decide they want you or how bad they want you by the amount of money you receive, but it is fully on you to decide that you want a college back and are open to all that it has to offer. My experience is at a small liberal arts school in Austin, Texas and if you told me that was going to be where I ended up my freshman year of high school, I would have laughed in your face. Now that I’ve actually lived a semester here though, I love it. I’m over the moon that I chose St. Ed’s. I no longer think, what if I had applied for this scholarship or literally begged that school for money so that I could go elsewhere. I’m content where I am because I love my classes and I decided I was going to be happy and live college to its maximum potential regardless of where I am. You’ll discover that it’s still really hard and stressful no matter where you are and that the opportunities after graduation are incredibly expansive no matter if you go to an Ivy League or a school with a 60% acceptance rate like mine. All that matters is that you are getting a degree in something you enjoy and are pleased with your life while you work for your life in the future. So, here’s a small list of things I learned my first semester of college.

  1. Unless casual hookups are what you’re looking for, learn to spot a fuckboy because there’s loads of them just waiting to strike.

  2. Get comfortable with writing because you’ll be doing an excessive amount of it for assignments and tests as well. You may even find that it’s easier than multiple choice because you are in control of laying out all that you know for your professor and won’t get mixed up by seeing other options.

  3. Call your family/friends often. They miss you and you miss them.

  4. It’s okay to not have friends right off the bat. I didn’t have any friends for just about the entire first month. It was honestly an incredibly lonely and terrible experience that fueled my homesickness even more, but you just have to stick it out for a while and eventually you’ll find a crew or, at least, someone.

  5. Once you make friends, don’t go crazy with alcohol/drug usage. Or even just hanging out. Just know when you need to get away to study. Partying can be fun, but having your life in order is a priority because you’re paying to be there or you worked really hard so you wouldn’t have to pay so make it worthwhile and don’t destroy your grades because you only care about your social life.

  6. Get acquainted with the janitorial staff and the dining hall crew. Yeah, they’re paid, but it gets old having to serve ungrateful people all day long so learn their names, ask them how their day is going, and find out about their life outside of this job. Many hold that job so that their child can come to the university for free or at a discounted cost or also because they can’t support themselves with their true passion like playing an instrument or being an artist. They’re complex human beings with feelings and aspirations just like you and if you’re going to see them regularly, so these things are important to know about them.

  7. Be open to all kinds of experiences and people. There are students and professors from all over the globe, of all different kinds of ethnicities, cultures, and religions with lives completely different from yours. You grow from absorbing yourself in surrounds like these so embrace it.

  8. I didn’t have any roommate issues so sorry I can’t help you there. Try being friends with them because that just makes college so much greater. I love mine. I’m experiencing separation anxiety without her, she’s my homegirl. If you’re not able to have that with your roommate that just really sucks.

Overall, keep in mind that I’m not really qualified to speak about college life, I’ve only lived a semester, but I know that it is a learning experience that will be unique and awesome if you let it be because no matter where you end up, a 4.0 is hard to attain and you’ll meet people that you’re smarter than and maybe not as smart as.


Words by Andrea Guzman // Photography by Sydney Ferrara.

© 2015 Reef Magazine

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