Ah, it's that time of year when lanyard-wearing, bright-faced Freshmen enter the world of college. You're probably overwhelmed with your mom nagging at you, new people rushing in and out of the dorm with their moving carts, and your little sister talking about how she's going to get your room now. Don't worry though, you'll get settled in in no time. Here's some tips from a fellow student, who's now entering her Junior year, on what she wished she knew freshman year:
1. Don't worry about making friends in the dorms.
Everyone's so worried about making friends the first day, but don't worry, it's not difficult. I went around with some girls the first day to every door just to say hi to people. It made me actually get out of my comfort zone, and some of the people I met I am still friends with. Also, it doesn't mean you HAVE to be BFFs with everyone on your floor and your roommate. I actually was super lucky Freshman and Sophomore year because both my random roommates turned out to be AWESOME and are still my close friends. But, if she/he's not what you expected, don't fret. You're only living with them, you don't have to hang out with him 24/7.
Also, it's okay stay friends with your high school friends that go to college with you. It's good to have some comfort of knowing they are there too, but make sure you go out of that comfort zone too.
2. Take advantage of Welcome Week.
There's so much free food that you could probably survive without buying any food this week. I'm serious. Also, keep a lookout for different colleges and clubs offering free pizza and such. Check out your school's event calendar for more information and dates.
Of course, your dorm will have events too this week too, and you should attend them. Not only for the free food, but because they are fun. You get to make new friends, get to know your hofo (that's house fellow, in case you didn't know), and get free food. Sounds like a win-win situation.
3. You will get home sick.
After the first two weeks of feeling like you're in heaven, it will hit you. Maybe it won't hit you super hard, but you'll all of a sudden want your mom's dinners or to talk to your brother. Don't be afraid to call your mom and tell her you miss and love her, but also realize it is time to grow up. Once school kicks in, you'll realize you will have no time to be sad.
4. Work hard, play hard.
Yes, college is a great time to party and meet people, but remember that you came here to get a degree too. This means you do actually have to study and work hard at school. I'm telling you, some classes will be tougher than you expect, so make time to study, study, study. But that doesn't mean you can't have fun on weekends.
5. Your major will change -- about 10 times.
I had NO idea what I was going to major in as a Freshman. Psychology? Art? Education? Then, I took Journalism 201 and realized it was perfect for me. I'm concentrating in the mass communications part of the Journalism School, and after studying abroad this semester I decided to also major in French. Not exactly what I expected two years ago. Take different classes that may not seem to fit with what you want to do because you may find a different love that could lead to your perfect major.
6. Don't invite your whole floor to a party.
So you were invited to this party of this guy whose sister is your best friend's boyfriend's brother and you invited all your friends to come along? Nope, don't think you're actually going to get into this party with all those people. Also, do not walk in packs. We will scream FRESHMANNN at you... very loudly.
7. Don't scream "I love college!" at parties.
OK, Asher Roth, we get you. But we all love college. And plus, that song was so 2008.
8. Respect your house fellows (aka super cool RAs).
Don't think you're going to get away with a giant party in your little dorm room. It's not like house fellows are evil people out to get you, but just learn to respect them. I actually am friends with a lot of the house fellows from my two years in the dorms.
9. Seriously, don't wear that lanyard.
You will look like a straight-up freshman. I'm warning you, just don't.
10. Go to a football game, at least once.
Actually, go to all of them. I've gone to all 14 home games since I've been to school at UW Madison. You're not getting the real college experience unless you've gone to a football game. Let me tell you, football Saturdays at big state schools like mine are insane. From seas of red walking down the street, to drunk old people shouting at you telling you they wish they were still your age, to the frat bros beer-bonging in the streets. You really don't even have to like football to enjoy the games.
11. But, don't spend a million dollars on a football ticket.
Wait until the day or so before, ticket prices will drop drastically. Seriously, $100 for a ticket when face value is $30 isn't right. If your school offers student discounts or free tickets, take advantage of them.
12. Learn the football traditions.
Do some Googling before the season starts to figure out what you should know before you step foot in your school's football stadium. Chances are there are a few fight songs and cheers you should be ready for.
13. Do not sign a lease with the first "Best Friends" you meet.
There's no need to lock yourself into a lease super-early in the school year. There will still be leases open after October. Last year, I didn't sign until finals first semester. So, don't stress about finding people to live with pronto.
I actually lived in the dorms for two years, and it wasn't that bad. "Like omg, you were a Sophomore in the dorms? What a loser!" Actually, there's a lot of upperclassmen in dorms, so don't rule that out either. I made a lot more friends Sophomore year, and got to live the dorm experience twice.
14. Learn the highlights of your college town.
For UW Madison students like myself, go to the Terrace at the Union to watch Open Mic Night, attend a Comedy Club show, walk Lakeshore path (but not at night, ladies), go to State Street over and over again, go to the zoo, etc. For your college town? Look it up!
15. Live it up.
You're only a freshman once (hopefully), so do everything you want to do. Make the best of friends. Figure out who you are. Do what you love. Go to hockey games. Do things that are different to you. Study hard. Eat at all the great restaurants. Even though this is VERY cliche, make the most of your year.