1. Get involved. I know this is a given, but it’s important. Go to football games. Go to sponsored events. Show up to a club meeting. If you can’t find someone to go with you, go by yourself. I can’t tell you how many events I wish I had gone to, but didn’t because I didn’t know anyone else going and was afraid of being alone. (hint: everyone else feels the same way)
2. Don’t buy books until the first week of class. Unless the professor personally emails you to tell you you need the textbook the first day of class, just wait. I had a syllabus that had the words “TEXTBOOK REQUIRED” capitalized, bolded and underlined. Turns out she was just borrowing a syllabus from another class and we didn’t need the book. There goes $90.
3. Rent books. And if you can’t rent them, buy them and then sell them back. (but not to your bookstore, never to your bookstore. Try Chegg.com or Amazon.)
4. Use your meal plan. I know the food sucks. And I know you’ll get sick of it. But you’ll also get sick of Ramen, macaroni and cheese, and anything else microwavable. You’re paying (or your parents are, if you’re lucky) $4,000 dollars for this, you may as well use it.
5. Freshman Fifteen: mostly a myth. Some people do gain it. Others don’t. Others lose weight. It’s all about self control. Yes, you have pizza available to you at 2 in the morning. But you also have a state of the art rec center available to you.
6. Don’t room with your best friend. JUST DON’T DO IT. I know you’ve heard this before. I know you laughed and said, “me and my best friend are different!” YOU’RE NOT. TRUST ME. You’re not going to love them so much when you realize they’re a giant slob who sleeps in till 2 in the afternoon. And you’ll love them even less when they’re vomiting in your sink or having sex with a Jersey Shore look-alike 10 feet away from you. At least if you room with a stranger and wind up hating them, you never lost a friendship.
7. On a related note, if you’re going to have sex with someone in your room, just shoot your roomie a quick text. It’s common courtesy.
8. Clean up after yourself. You’re not going to be able to focus if your room is a mess. So wash your dishes, do your laundry, and throw away the food that’s been on your desk for three days. Because your roommate hates you.
9. Locate the nearest Starbucks. Even if you’re not a coffee person, you will be.
10. You don’t have to make a 180. Of course you’re going to change. You’re on your own for the first time. Experiencing your first taste of freedom. You’re going to learn new things about yourself. But that doesn’t mean to have to completely change who you are a person.
11. If you want to party, you can. If you don’t want to, you don’t have to. Let’s be candid- drugs and alcohol are out there if you want them. But if you don’t, no big deal. They won’t be forced on you, and you can find plenty of other things to do.
12. NEVER TAKE A CLASS BEFORE 9 A.M.
13. Familiarize yourself with the library. Even if you study in your room. You’re going to need a place to go when your roommate won’t stop playing The 1975 on repeat.
14. Bring shower shoes.
15. Ask questions. If you don’t know, ask. Ask your teachers, your resident assistants, the bus driver, anyone. Most people are happy to help you. That’s their job!
16. Leggings are pants. Boys- accept it. Girls- embrace it.
17. Use your resources. Study sessions. Office Hours. Teacher Assistants. Tutoring. You’re paying for them, use them! You’d be surprised the impact that these things can have. Very few students actually use office hours, and when you do, the professor will remember you. Same goes for TAs. I visited my TA to have her read and edit my paper. As a result, she put me on a list of kids whose essayd she was going to grade personally, and she gave me a 98% on a paper that was worth 25% of my grade.
18. Get a Netflix subscription. You’ll thank me later.
19. BE EXCITED. It’s the time to try new things and make bad decisions. I promise, college is great.