As my senior year of college fast approaches, I can’t help but reflect on my experiences over the past three years. For many people, freshmen year of college is a magical, wild, awkward, and once in a lifetime experience. Being a freshman means balancing your 18-year-old self with the taste of adulthood. Freshmen year can be an unforgettable experience. And while I would never change it, there are some things I wish I had known my first year.
- Explore your options
For a lot of people (including myself), the idea of being in a place where you don’t know anybody is terrifying. Many people might feel the urge to cling to the first people they click with. However, while it is possible to make great, lasting friendships immediately, forming a tight-knit friend group too quickly can cut you off from really getting to know your campus. The best part about college in my opinion is the large population of people to choose from. Most people you meet will have a grand new story and background. It is worth it to get to know as many people as possible at first, before cementing any bonds.
- You don’t have to impress everyone
Again, having to make friends all over again is intimidating. But at college, you have the advantage of reinventing yourself. No one knows what label you had in high school. You can be anyone. However, trying to outdo yourself can also backfire. Since most people don’t know you, a first impression is important. But going too far to impress someone can make you seem fake. Fake is often a huge turn off. Chances are you probably are already a pretty great person. It might seem cheesy, but be yourself, especially when meeting a huge new group of people. No matter what, genuine always gives a better impression than trying too hard.
- Communicate with your roommate
Having a roommate can either be the best or worst part of college. Some people get along amazingly well while other roommates hate each other on site. But no matter what the roommate situation is, communicating is key. Remember, chances are your roommate is also new to living in close quarters with someone else. They may have annoying habits even they don’t know about. It is the absolute worst when two roommates are secretly angry with each other over small things that turns in to a large fight or resentment for the rest of the year. If you are open and honest (but still polite!) with your roommate about what boundaries and ground rules, then it will be ten times easier making it through the year. Roommates don’t have to be best friends, but respecting each other can go a long way in making the living situation bearable.
For more tips on how to totally dominate freshman year, check out The Freshman Survival Guide: Soulful Advice for Studying, Socializing, and Everything In Between