My Advice for College Freshman

Last year Hanna at The Millennial Next Door did a post with her advice to college freshman. I really liked this idea and filed it away in my head as something I wanted to do this fall. Now that classes have started across the country for college freshman, it seems time to break out my own advice to college freshman.

College goes by in a flash & before you know it you're wearing an alumni shirt and hugging your senior year roommate goodbye!
College goes by in a flash & before you know it you’re wearing an alumni shirt and hugging your senior year roommate goodbye!

Choose Your Electives Carefully
Once you leave college your opportunity to spend time learning about things unrelated to career or family really starts to get squeezed. It can be tempting to only choose electives that are deemed as an “easy A” or make you giggle (*cough*humansexuality*cough*),  but most colleges and universities offer so many interesting classes. Take advantage of this opportunity to learn about things outside of your major. It’s likely you’ll have to choose from a list of required electives so go with the ones with which you’re most interested. I took a class about Venice, one about Buddhism, and another about women in the Bible (in this historcal context, not religious).

It’s Your Decision to Go to Class
Once winter rolls in and Richmond has the smallest dusting of snow or ice I always see angry comments on Facebook towards VCU for not canceling class, embarrassingly usually from parents. As hard as it is for these parents to let go, ultimately it’s your decision as a student to go to class. If you feel circumstances make it too dangerous to go, then don’t go. Once you get into full-time job world, it will be unlikely that work will be cancelled unless it’s a serious weather event. So when it snows or ices, it’ll be up to you to decide if you go in or not.. and if you don’t go in, you’ll likely have to use up a vacation day. Missing a class here or there is fine, but you’ll be expected to show up to work so why not make showing up a habit now?

Find the Activities that Interest You
Everyone has their own interests and their own things they want to explore in college. There’s nothing wrong with Greek life just like there’s nothing wrong with student government. There’s also the option of getting involved with activities outside of your college in the local community, even if it’s a part-time job. Just find some activities that interest you and go for it!

I worked part time at a local gym in college. These were my coworkers. We had a lot of fun together.
I worked part time at a local gym in college. These were my coworkers. We had a lot of fun together.

Take a Summer Class
If you stick around campus for the summer, take a class (or two). In my experience, summer classes were more laid back and it was nice to stay in somewhat of a routine. The tiny bit of homework over the summer isn’t a big deal and it’s less classes that you have to take during the regular semester which is a nice bonus.

I met Liz in a summer class. She's been my best friend ever since.
I met Liz in a summer class. She’s been my best friend ever since.

Enjoy It!
College can be stressful at times. It’s the first time you’re really out on your own figuring things out while trying to complete a degree. Trying to balance work and play can make papers and test seem more stressful and make simple decisions seem so complicated. Try to enjoy college as much as possible. Don’t beat yourself up about a bad choice, learn from your mistakes, and enjoy the freedom of staying up late and going where you want when you want while you can.

Graduation is the best!
Graduation is the best!

I could go on and on, but those are a few pieces of advice. What would you add?

2 thoughts on “My Advice for College Freshman

  1. Hanna @ TheMillennialNextDoor

    Whoa thanks for the shoutout! I totally forgot about that post, I had to go back and reread it! Haha!

    Sometimes I can’t believe how immature I was in college. Some of it is just being young, but, I still kick myself for skipping class. It wasn’t, like, all the time but there were some classes where I had a very liberal attitude about attendance, let’s just say that. That’s probably the one thing I’d do differently if I could do it all over again. I was recently talking with an acquaintance who is going to school part time for a new degree, and he was talking about how different the mindset is between the older adult students and the college-aged ones. Now I think about some of the older returning students in my college classes and how they must have felt about my naive, spoiled, youthful apathy when they had to shell out their hard earned money and free time to be there and thus needed to make sure they were getting every penny’s worth. It’s amazing how much your attitude toward school changes when you have to work your butt off and sacrifice to be there. I know I was young but part of me wants to go back and smack some sense into my old too-cool-for-school self.


  2. This is such a good post! I have to say my advice would be to do more. I was definitely that stressed out person who worried too much about getting work done, and actually if I’d had a few more activities going on (for instance, running), I would have had an outlet, and a way to structure my time better so I was actually more productive! I think i was also just too scared of stepping out of my comfort zone!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s