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college talk > Tips for Incoming Freshman

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message 1: by Molly (new)

Molly (slinkyxo) | 153 comments I have a friend going into her freshman year in college and she was commenting about how she had no idea what to expect for college and she felt like she wanted real college students opinions rather than reading some dumb manual her school gave her..

This got me to thinking..I know there are some people here who are starting their first year in maybe it would be a good idea for us upperclassman to share our wealth of knowledge with them!

My tip: Check out ALL the options for a meal plan! If they make you have one, then actually use it! If you don't think you will ever go there, then don't sign up for one!

message 2: by Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner), The Founding Bookworm (new)

Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner) (perpetualpageturner) | 4407 comments Mod
I would say that the one thing I learned from my freshman year is that I don't need to pack my whole entire room! I used maybe half of what I brought and just ended up not having enough space and it was a pain in the ass to move! So..look at what you have packed..and remove half of it!! I ended up with WAY too many clothes, books, & other random things that I never even touched! Also..don't buy bulk in everything. I made that mistake..some things you definitely need to buy in bulk..but others..definitely not!

message 3: by Danielle (new)

Danielle (thewolvessaid) If you don't know your alcohol limit, then don't drink a lot of alcohol! There's always a ton of freshman who make asses of themselves because they get too drunk. Being dragged home by your friends, barfing in random people's apartments, blacking out, etc. is not cool or attractive!!!

message 4: by Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner), The Founding Bookworm (new)

Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner) (perpetualpageturner) | 4407 comments Mod
Another thing I thought of:

Be involved with school related extracurriculars! There are so many to choose from! Sports, clubs related to your major, intramurals, etc.

I regret not being super involved with extracurriculars just because i didn't want to commit. I think i would have benefited from being more involved in our SIFE team or from joining Student Senate as I had a ton of opinions and suggestions.

message 5: by Lynn (new)

Lynn I definitely agree with Jamie about the packing!! haha. AND with Danielle about the drinking. All us upperclassmen probably remember that "one girl" or "one guy" from our incoming class that blacked out and/or did something really really stupid. And if yalls college's are anything like mine, that kid didn't make it past freshman year. Don't feel obligated to drink! It's not really as cool as you probably think it is. I would never think twice about someone not drinking. It's not a big deal.

Definitely get involved. You'll really make connections and it helps w/ homesickness.. If you're religious, most college's have different religious groups and a lot of them have like houses where they meet and have dinner once a week so it's really home-y. That definitely became my "family" so to speak.

If you're shy/nervous about meeting new people, look for other shy-ish people and just say hi! That's how I met one of my really good friends (the one I was the maid of honor for this summer!) I had seen her in my hall during move in and I saw her sitting alone at a presentation and I just came up and said "Hi, I'm Lynn. Can I sit here?" Don't worry if that person doesn't end up being your BFF!! b/c just having one acquaintance gives you the confidence to make more and more friends!

Don't stress too much. Let it guide you, but don't let it bog you down! When things get to be too much, seek out the counseling center. It's nothing to be ashamed of and no one's going to judge you.

This is for a little later in the semester, once you've made some friends--- when you don't have anything to do, just hang out in a high traffic area (campus center? club office? library? etc..) I'm always running into people to talk to and sometimes we'll end up taking off on crazy adventures. Some of my best times have happened just b/c I ran into someone while I was walking from one place to another. Just be open and flexible.

Above all: remember that Freshman year will be the easiest in terms of academics. You'll have more free time this year than any other year. So take advantage of it. Keep on top of your grades so that your GPA can take a little hit in later years, but remember to save time just for fun. You don't have to study 24/7! Be open to people that you might think aren't your type. Just hang out and have fun! DON'T try to be someone you aren't! Real friends will love you for you.

And finally, my HUGEST pet peeve about freshmen: DO NOT complain about how busy you are!!!! I cannot tell you how frustrating that is to a junior or senior.

message 6: by Lynn (new)

Lynn wow! I talk a lot. ahha. I need to print this out and read it to my orientation group!

oh yeah! don't be afraid to make friends w/ older students! some of my best friends have been older than me. They help keep you grounded, give you advice, know where everything is located, know who to talk to for what, etc.

message 7: by Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner), The Founding Bookworm (new)

Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner) (perpetualpageturner) | 4407 comments Mod
Definitely agree with EVERYTHING that Lynn said!!

message 8: by Danielle (new)

Danielle (thewolvessaid) Lynn wrote: "Just hang out and have fun! DON'T try to be someone you aren't! Real friends will love you for you. "

Seriously!!! All those "cliques" in high school disappear in college. Everyone is free to make friends with whoever.

message 9: by Nuri (last edited Aug 09, 2009 11:29AM) (new)

Nuri (nools) | 145 comments Along the lines of what Lynn said: make sure your freshman year is the easiest, and especially if you're at a four-year and you don't absolutely NEED to graduate in, say, two years.

I wouldn't recommend overburdening with the classes -- at least for the first semester, if you plan on juggling a life and decent grades.

I guess this depends on what school you're going to (and on who you are), but a good rule for most competitive schools is: social life, school, sleep -- choose two.

message 10: by Matthieu (last edited Aug 09, 2009 04:49PM) (new)

Matthieu | 130 comments 1. Sleep.

2. Don't overwhelm yourself with classes. Refrain from double/triple majoring.

3. Befriend upperclassmen. Juniors/seniors are often great mentors.

4. Don't be afraid to ask for help. If you're ever unsure of something that you're working on, you should seek out the campus tutoring center. There are often plenty of seniors/graduate students who are there to help.

5. Get involved in extracurriculars.

6. Find a quiet place to study/read. These can be difficult to find on some campuses.


message 11: by Anna (new)

Anna Shumaker (annashu) Everyone has mentioned really good tips, lots of stuff I wish I had considered going in (especially the packing!) My advice is to take a variety of classes, even though you may be bound and determined to a certain major don't let it stop you from experiencing other things.

message 12: by Lori (new)

Lori Walker I would say that making sure you take some time for yourself every couple of days or every day to read or do something that you truly enjoy. I take 1 hour before I go to bed to read every night so that I can stay sane.

Try your hardest to be on a schedule (not just classes, but everything) that works and is healthy. I wake up at the same time every day and I try to go to bed at around the same time every night.

Get a planner and write things down. I like the ones that have the hours of the day so that I can block out when I have class. It helps me see when my free time is.

Sit at the front of the class and put your cell phone away. I was always really bad about having my cell phone out and when I'd get a text I'd check it, when I'd get a phone call, I'd agonize over what's going on until class got out. In my summer classes, I've put my phone away and I've done better in class.

Find a professor or two that you really like and get to know them. A lot of people don't go to office hours, so just go in and chat. It will help you out in the long run, especially if you wind up taking a lot of classes with this professor.

Study groups! I hate studying with people, but I was in several study groups this past semester and they helped out for the most part. Especially if it's a class where part of your test is identification terms because you can collectively compile a list of terms you think are possibilities. And if you're on good terms with the professor, invite them to the study group.

Lastly...if you're a church-going person, see if local churches within your denomination or one you're comfortable with offer a college students group. I found one that has a weekly home-made supper and then a Bible study. I am so glad I found it because it was such a source of support last year when I had roommate issues.

message 13: by Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner), The Founding Bookworm (new)

Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner) (perpetualpageturner) | 4407 comments Mod
I definitely agree with you on the get to know your professor thing. My school was pretty small but I still talk with professors and meet with them all the time even though I graduated. They have a wealth of connections and not to mention the fact that they are always write great recommendation letters. I love the fact i was close with a few of them!

Another thing..if at all possible..try to do a study abroad..even if it is just a trip like I did which was for my lit and arts class and it was 10 days and it was for credit and when we got back we just had some papers and stuff to hand in by the end of the summer.

haha and Lori..I was totally the opposite of you with the schedule thing. My schedule was the most crazy one that changed everyday. Some nights I would go to bed at midnight and then other nights it was 4am. I would say that if you are a person who needs your sleep and you NEED to have a set what Lori says. But..if you don' it up a little's the only time in your life where it's really OK to have a crazy schedule and do what you want. Just don't let it affect your schoolwork. I just happened to work best late at night.

message 14: by Lori (new)

Lori Walker Jamie, I don't think it's bad for people to stay up if they work better later in the evening. I'm looking at it from a health point of view. From what I've seen, very few people can actually get by on 3 or 4 hours of sleep night after night after night (and goodness knows, I wish I was one of them). I have a friend that never goes to bed until like 4 or 5 or even later and then she'll take a 3 hour power sleep. She's sick all of the time and she has a hard time handling those inevitable things that pop up at the worst time.

message 15: by Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner), The Founding Bookworm (new)

Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner) (perpetualpageturner) | 4407 comments Mod
Oh definitely. I knew ppl who got sick all the time bc they never slept and college can be so stressful. I think the only reason that I was able to do it was that I'd take naps at weird times. My rhythm was all off. My roommate was more like you..she couldn't do it at all..even if she tried. I always felt bad when she had to stay up later than normal..she always looked like she was going to die. It's just interesting how different ppl have different sleep schedules.

Anyways..I definitely agree. Health-wise people who have schedules like that need to be very careful!

message 16: by Lori (new)

Lori Walker This girl doesn't take naps.

message 17: by Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner), The Founding Bookworm (new)

Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner) (perpetualpageturner) | 4407 comments Mod
Oh does she do it??
Naps were necessary.
I have a friend who works 50+ hours a week sometimes and he always says he never really sleeps. I never know whether or not to believe him because HOW can a person function like that for an extended amount of time!

message 18: by Lynn (new)

Lynn I once stayed up 36 hours straight, no napping. But that's the most I've gone (plus that was summer. ahaha) I've been like both Lori and Jamie. This semester I'm going to really focus on going to bed at the same time and waking at the same time. and not napping. Naps usually make me feel sick-y after I wake up. But I've also been that sickly kid on campus (I guess due to lack of sleep. I don't know why but I was getting sick all. the. time. last winter)

message 19: by Ryan (new)

Ryan Thomas | 2 comments There comes a lot of freedom with college and you should use that freedom wisely

message 20: by Lori (new)

Lori Walker Ryan's advice is really good. Don't go totally wild because you're going to look back and cringe over the dumbass-worthy things you've done. And also think about how well Facebook and other sites are able to capture those moments...

message 21: by Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner), The Founding Bookworm (new)

Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner) (perpetualpageturner) | 4407 comments Mod
haha I agree Lori!! I've seen quite a few embarrassing pics on facebook that I'm SURE people were regretting! Thankfully I don't think I had any of those! Sidenote..speaking of embarrassed do you think all the drunkass girls that get put on Girls Gone Wild or something like that feel!? Reason enough not to get that crazy..I wouldn't want my vajayjay all over the world. lol

message 22: by Tami (new)

Tami | 3103 comments Mod
I would add, along with the sleeping thing, to make sure you are aware of what/how you are eating. I have seen freshman gain double their weight and I have seen others cut theirs in half. Neither are very healthy. Since mommy isn't there to cook or nag, it is really easy to have that pint of ice cream for dinner! :)

message 23: by Ashley (new)

Ashley (ash88) This has already been said but it is the one thing I would recommend. SLEEP. and DON'T try to take on too much!! I learned the hard way....

The second semester of my freshman year I was taking 17 units and working 40 hours a week. So when I wasn't in class, working, or doing homework, I was hanging out with friends, which left 0 hours for sleeping. About a month before school was out I got really sick, and found out that I had Mono. (No I wasn't making out with a bunch of guys lol.. what a lot of people don't know is that main way to get it is by exhausting yourself and not getting enough sleep.)

I had to drop all of my classes and move back home and it took A MONTH AND A HALF for me to get better. I didn't get to see any of my friends for a long time.. and a month and a half on a couch was sooo hard for me! I'm always doing something.

Lets just say lesson learned lol. It's not worth it. And if you try and take on too much, your body knows better and will slow you down if you don't do it yourself.

BUT besides that HAVE FUN!!! and go to your classes, even if you don't think that missing a day will end up being a big deal... chances are there are going to be several questions on the final from that day. So even if your teachers don't take attendance, don't skip... too much :)

message 24: by [deleted user] (new)

Tami wrote: "I would add, along with the sleeping thing, to make sure you are aware of what/how you are eating. I have seen freshman gain double their weight and I have seen others cut theirs in half. Neither a..."

Oy ve... my freshman year I gained about 10 lbs, then visited home where my dad made fun of me and then I came back the next time (a month or two) about 25 lbs lighter!

message 25: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly (kimberlywithat) | 2140 comments I was one of those who lost weight. Because of my schedule I would skip breakfast, be on campus from 9:00-1:00 without any breaks, so no time for food. Then I'd hurry home grab something quick to eat, usually just a piece of bread, and go to work until 8:30 and finally eat when I got home. I lost 10 lbs, I think.

message 26: by Annie (new)

Annie Hartman (anniebananie) | 242 comments **DO NOT ROOM WITH A FRIEND FROM HOME!!!

message 27: by Annie (new)

Annie Hartman (anniebananie) | 242 comments ^^the girl I roomed with freshman year I had been friends with since kindergarten.. we no longer speak.

message 28: by jessi (new)

jessi (infinitevantage) | 157 comments Definitely try to use a planner to stay organized. I have a set of colored pens and I color-coordinate stuff (everything for History will be in blue, American government in red, Math in brown, etc.) and that is very helpful. Scheduling things in advance is helpful so that you can have time to enjoy yourself on most days, but still get things accomplished. At the start of every quarter, I take all my syllabus papers and just go through and write down everything that I will need to read, write, etc. in my planner. That way most of what you need to know for the whole period is there, and you just have to make a few adjustments when a professor decides to push something back or whatever.

The suggestion to get to know your professors is an excellent one, especially professors in your major because you will need someone for advice and recommendations and whatever when you are older. It's really easy to do in smaller classes, because if you just participate a lot, they are bound to remember you and you won't need to make too much more effort to stand out. And they will be a lot more willing to help you if you run into trouble.

message 29: by Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner), The Founding Bookworm (new)

Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner) (perpetualpageturner) | 4407 comments Mod
I WISH I would have been more organized..if I could go back again..i would definitely use that suggestion Jessi. I always wound up forgetting that a HUGE assignment was due in a week and then I started to panic!

message 30: by jessi (new)

jessi (infinitevantage) | 157 comments Oh, and this doesn't have to do with classes, but I still think it is useful. At my university, the campus police are real cops, and not rent-a-cop security guards. It's good to know this, because some people assume that the campus officers have little authority, but the ones here can actually arrest people and do anything a regular cop can do. I don't know if it's like this everywhere, or if it's just because I go to a big school, but it's good to be aware of your rights and such.

message 31: by Jessie (new)

Jessie (Jessie08) | 128 comments I'm going to be a freshman this year and I've loved reading all the helpful hints on this thread. So thank you everyone for all the great advice! I'm getting so excited for school to start!

message 32: by Anna (new)

Anna Shumaker (annashu) Jessi, at my campus they were mostly just students with out any real legal authority (like RA's) there were a couple of real cops though. I would suggest not slacking in gen ed classes just because they are easy and required because at some point you might need some help from the prof. so it would be helpful to make a good impression.

message 33: by Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner), The Founding Bookworm (new)

Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner) (perpetualpageturner) | 4407 comments Mod
Same with my school. They were always just students and they were the worst because they were ALWAYS on power trips..I think there was one that wasn't a complete tool

message 34: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly (kimberlywithat) | 2140 comments Don't procrastinate! I just watched my idiot cousin do ALL of his work from 4 of his classes the very last week of term. Another cousin and I ended up helping him with some of his homework so that he didn't completely fail. He managed to pass, but it was close. (He owes me big). If you have online classes try to set aside a certain day for a specific class. (that is what my cousin failed to do).

message 35: by Lynn (new)

Lynn I HATE online classes for that exact reason!! I procrastinated soooooo much and would never log on. Luckily, the teacher was nice and let me make up work. But since then I have sworn off online.

Jessie, best of luck on your freshman year!! It's an awesome time in your life. It may be hard transitioning at first, but if you don't love it by Halloween I don't know what to tell you.

message 36: by Katerina (new)

Katerina | 252 comments You don't HAVE to declare a major right away if you don't know what you want to do. Take some gen ed classes rather than going through the hassle of switching your major 3 different times.

message 37: by Lori (new)

Lori Walker Similarly, you can always change your major, especially if you're in your first or second year. After that, it gets to be difficult because you have to take a bunch of classes to make up for the time you've lost, but if it's really worth it to you, talk to whoever is financially responsible for your school about it. I think most of us who have changed or added majors lately found that our parents were cooler about it than we thought because we had logical, adult explanations.

message 38: by jessi (new)

jessi (infinitevantage) | 157 comments Katerina wrote: "You don't HAVE to declare a major right away if you don't know what you want to do. Take some gen ed classes rather than going through the hassle of switching your major 3 different times."

I would definitely refrain from choosing a major too early, unless you're certain of what you want to do. Just take gen ed classes to get some requirements out of the way and explore things that sound interesting to you. It's best to take classes in a subject before declaring something your major, because very often you will find that it isn't quite what you expected (this can be good or bad) before you went into it.

message 39: by Tami (new)

Tami | 3103 comments Mod
I don't think it has been mentioned yet, so Don't be afraid to talk to the counselers lots!

Not sure it that is what all schools call them. They help with the class choices, to make sure you are headed towards a certain degree, maybe suggest clep testing or move you onto a more advanced course or two while you still are doing general ones.

I HATE going to ours' office, but I notice things seem to run much smoother after I do visit with her.

message 40: by Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner), The Founding Bookworm (new)

Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner) (perpetualpageturner) | 4407 comments Mod
I definitely agree! I ended up being real close with mine and it seemed to help get everything in order for me to graduate on time and also it really helped when I was in a tight spot with getting into a class that was full or getting a class to count for something else. If you let them get to know you, they will always end up helping you out.

message 41: by Lori (new)

Lori Walker I made good friends with my adviser. He always thinks of me whenever something special comes up and someone asks for bright students. The same goes for professors. Visit them during office hours. Invent a question you need answered, go in, and strike up a conversation. It will help to have an ally and it will be easier for them to write you a rec letter later on.

message 42: by David (last edited Sep 16, 2009 02:39PM) (new)

David (canadiandave) Ok, first, reading novel-based textbooks. It's ok to read it all if you want but first, spend 30 minutes max and identify the main thesis of the book and the author's supporting points. You'll understand more about a book this way than reading it cover to cover. (I didn't learn that 'til I was a senior).

Second, if you think a grade is low and you pretty much know where you should be in a class, TALK TO YOUR TEACHER!!! I've had four grades bumped up from B's to A's because the T.A. added my scores wrong (or forgot to enter the scores for two assignments for my entire section in one case).

Third, find a class you can take that will let you relax. I took ballroom or folkdance classes every semester to keep me sane. If dance isn't your thing, take swimming, rock climbing, art, photography or a C.S. Lewis English class or something like that.

Fourth, if you fall asleep on the first day of class, it's usually a bad sign. Switch to a different section - that teacher isn't good for you.

Fifth, review what you learned in class for ten minutes after every class.

Sixth, make powerpoints for memorization where you have a picture, phrase or something show and you have to describe it, name dates, or whatever. Then hit the button and see if you're right. It takes awhile to put together, but it helped me Ace all my humanities classes.

Seventh, if it's easy to switch majors and you think you might like a particular one, go ahead and declare it (just take GEs if you're not entirely sure). You can always switch majors, but they often change requirements and that usually involves making them harder, so the earlier you're in, the better, even if you aren't taking the classes for it.

Eighth, don't date your roommate's ex, even if s/he is cute and asks you out. You're just asking for problems (not that I'm speaking by experience....ok, maybe I am).

Ninth, early to bed, early to rise. By early, I'd say midnight, preferably 11. None of that 3-4 am stuff (except the occasional weekend) or you'll end up sleeping in, missing class, and pretty much blowing a semester. Also, I study better in the morning.

Well, that's mostly what worked for me.

message 43: by jessi (new)

jessi (infinitevantage) | 157 comments It's definitely good to study before and after classes. Like, wake up earlier than you need to (unless you have a ridiculously early class when there is just no way), and study some over breakfast, or just read a book or the news so you kinda get in that train of thought. And reviewing material right afterward definitely helps while it's still fresh in your mind.

Also, I don't know if it has been mentioned before, but utilize It can be so nice to know about a professor before taking a class. Sometimes, there is just no way around taking a class with a professor who makes life difficult, but it can usually be avoided.

message 44: by Tami (new)

Tami | 3103 comments Mod
I really like number 8 David. So true!

message 45: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly (kimberlywithat) | 2140 comments Jessi, I love That's how I pick most of my teachers.

message 46: by Roshio (new)

Roshio | 53 comments Hmm I'd say one thing is to study of course in your Freshman year (well 1st year here in Ireland) BUT also have fun! Cause it just gets tougher as you go on. So go out enjoy college! (unfortunately i didn't go out as much as i should have )

message 47: by Ashley (new)

Ashley (readerandwriter) Register for your classes early. Don't wait until the last minute. Also check to see if there are any state like exams that your college requires you to take.

message 48: by [deleted user] (new)

i dont know if you guys covered this or not, if you have to use the restroom you can just go, its the one thing i love about college and ofcourse you can eat in class i love it

message 49: by Molly (new)

Molly (slinkyxo) | 153 comments Especially in light of swine flu..and plenty of other sicknesses that go around dorms..treat yourself well. Clean regularly..disinfect..try to not drink/eat from people alot..wash your healthy..(lots of fruit)..sleep regularly so your immune system isn't weakened. Exercise to help keep your body healthy and not as susceptible to being sick.

message 50: by Lynn (new)

Lynn I thought this was a really great thread and one that could be beneficial to reread every semester! I already posted a bunch of tips (see above), but here are a couple more:

Enjoy each day to the fullest...
- Time goes by SO quickly. Take time for the little things and enjoy them. The deepest conversations that I've had have taken place randomly, usually late at night, and occur just because... just because we were both sitting in the lobby, just because she knew I would listen to her without judging, etc

... unless you don't feel well, then take some time for yourself!
- I used to beat myself up for taking down time, but it can really be a good thing. Sometimes you need a break from everything. I think it's totally ok to have a night where all you do is watching an incredibly sappy 80's movie.

Find your gurus.
- I've found a ton. Some are staff members. Some are faculty. Some are students. Some are older than me. Some are younger. They are all listeners, they are all wise, and they all give great advice. They will help you find your way when the path is dark. Or, they will stumble with you down that dark path and will sing silly songs with you to take your mind off how scary it is not to know the way

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