College is a stressful transition period for freshmen, and I want to help make it a little bit easier for you. So, I’ve compiled all the best tips I can think of from my experiences as a college student. The tips are broken up into academic, financial, social, and personal to help you in all aspects of life!
Use a planner. You have to stay organized and know when your deadlines are to really thrive. Check out this post to see my planner + tips on how to utilize yours!
Always go to class. You can’t learn if you’re not there, and you have no idea what you could be missing out on! Go! You’re paying for it.
Be professional. This is the start of your professional life. Treat it as such; email professors correctly, dress appropriately, etc.
Try your hardest. You won’t be great at everything, but effort goes a long way.
Get a comfortable backpack. You’ll wear it every day. Get one that’s practical, sturdy, and comfortable so it can hold all your books!
Talk to your advisor. Genuinely discuss what courses you need to take and when it’s best to take them. I know so many classmates who messed up their timeline by not really knowing!
Establish a study routine. The sooner the better! Maybe you’re better at night in the library, or in the morning in your dorm; either way, study!
Boost your GPA with easier classes. Freshman year is typically lots of basic classes. Instead of slacking off, make sure you get great grades and good routines to carry on to harder classes!
Talk to your professors. They’re there to help you. Seriously, they’re not scary. They want to know you and help you succeed.
Take notes on paper. It’s so important to take notes on paper to help them sink into your brain. Plus, you can make them pretty! Check out this post on note-taking tips!
Stay ahead. Do your homework the weekend before it’s due. Start your papers early. Study a little bit every day.
Recognize your strengths. Use those to your advantage and be proud of yourself for them!
Take classes that interest you. If you have extra time in your schedule or elective opportunities, try something totally unique to challenge yourself and learn something you’re passionate about.
Get help. Your campus has resources out there waiting for you. Find a tutor, writing center, TA, etc. to help you out if you’re struggling academically. The sooner the better!
Make a budget. And then actually stick to it.
Spend less on things, more on experiences. Items break and fall apart. Moments are timeless.
Get a job. If you can handle schoolwork and a job, it’s so worth it. I worked on campus and found it so rewarding. I made connections, met people to write me letters of recommendation, and made some extra money!
Rent your textbooks. Sometimes I think “oh maybe I should buy this book to use as a reference later,” but I never actually will. Rent your books from Amazon to save money.
Invest in a good computer. They’re so expensive, but this is something I use every single day. It holds everything–pictures, documents, schoolwork, etc.
Use up all your meal swipes. If you pay for meal swipes at the beginning of the semester, you’re throwing money away if you don’t use all of them. Gift them to other students, get meals for the homeless, etc, just don’t let the university profit from them.
Make money online. Use Heartbeat to get paid for instagram posts.
Apply to scholarships. You might think you won’t qualify for anything, but there are so many different scholarships out there for so many different things. Apply! Try!
Spend less on your dorm. I bought a million things I didn’t need that I thought were important at the time. Buy the bare minimum and then add from there what you need.
Use student discounts. So many different clothing stores and food places offer discounts if you just show your student ID. Even 5% is worth looking into.
Venmo your friends. Use your venmo account to quickly pay back your friends or give a little gift.
Open your dorm door. I literally made so many friends my freshman year by opening up my dorm door and handing out freeze pops. Just propping your door open can prompt people to talk to you! You’ll get to know your neighbors.
Talk about your problems with your roomie. The sooner you can discuss your issues, the sooner you can work them out before they escalate. Talk about the issues with your roomie and with anyone else you have them with! You don’t have to be best friends, but you should be comfortable with us!
Try out every club. You don’t know what you like until you try it out! You’ll meet new people and explore your interests. Stop by their meetings. Normally at the beginning of the year, clubs will have interest meetings with free food… score!
Call your relatives. Talking to your mom or grandma on the phone will literally brighten their day so much. Definitely worth it to connect to them.
Don’t visit home too often. Family is so important, but so are the connections you’re making. If you go home too often, you’ll miss out on valuable time to make friendships and to study!
Post on Facebook. For the relatives you might not be close enough to talk to on the phone, you should post pictures and updates on Facebook so they know what’s going on in your life!
Add friends on Facebook. When you meet new people, adding them on Facebook is an easy way to make sure you stay connected.
Stay connected with high school friends. Write letters, FaceTime, call, email… anything! If they’re important to you, stay connected.
Be vulnerable. My freshman year, I made great friends. One of my new friends told me, “Close, you hide behind humor to keep from being vulnerable.” That hit me hard, and it was true! Being vulnerable makes you a real person. It can be hard, but it’s worth it.
Ask for phone numbers. When you meet people you’re interested in spending time with, you should ask for their phone number or snapchat to make sure you’re able to talk later!
Sit next to new people in class. If you’re in the same class, you at least have one thing in common! Strike up a conversation. You can really make friends anywhere.
Live on campus. Dorms have a bad reputation, but they’re so worth it in terms of location and making friends. The resources you can get from your RA and hall are invaluable.
Find a coffee shop. Or another place off-campus where you can study without distractions!
Find an exercise you love. The freshman fifteen is real, and so is your metabolism slowing down in adulthood. Exercise actually makes you feel better in the moment, and helps you stay healthy. Find one you love so you can do it all the time!
Take the chance to start over. Find a new haircut or dye your hair. Revamp your wardrobe. Don’t talk about something in your past that you’re uncomfortable with. Everything is new. You’ve got a chance to start over!
Seek out help when you need it. Academic, financial, personal… there’s always someone who can help you out. You just have to ask for it.
Talk about mental health. There’s a stigma around mental health. The more we talk about what’s going on in our brains, the easier it will be to defeat the stigma.
Quit or don’t start caffeine. Caffeine is an addicting drug. Don’t drink it if you can help it! Your body can regulate its own wake/sleep cycle if you let it and practice healthy habits.
Downsize your wardrobe. Start your minimalism journey when you’re living in a tiny space anyway.
Volunteer. This looks amazing as a resume, is so rewarding, and helps others. Your school will have lots of opportunities for you!
Go vegan. The single greatest thing you can do for this earth. When you’re changing your lifestyle anyway, it’d be relatively easy to add another change in. Do it slowly or all at once; it’s wroth it!
Journal. You’ll want to remember these moments. I use a One Line A Day journal that makes it easy to record one thing a day that seemed worthwhile. Whatever way you journal, it’s a good idea.
Relax. Find a way to breathe and center yourself. Meditate, take a walk… whatever helps you relax when the stress of school becomes too much.
Spend time alone. You need to get to know yourself, too! Become comfortable with being alone. Go to a movie, eat dinner, get to know you!
But remember you’re not alone. There’s always someone there who cares for you and is looking out for you.
I definitely don’t know everything about college, but I do know what was important to me and what I wish I had known. What else do you want to know about college? What advice would you give to freshmen?