Advice for College Freshmen: What to Expect (and Avoid) in College

This post is all about the best advice for college freshmen.

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Your freshman year of college is an exciting time. It’s a new beginning and a chance to start fresh.

You’re probably thinking some dorm room ideas for decorating your dorm or thinking about what items you need to get for college. But have you considered this amazing journey you’re about to begin?

Before you start this exciting journey, here are some things I wish I knew going into my freshman year of college.

As the years go by, you’re definitely going to relate to this more and more. So it’s great to get a head start right now!

This post will show you the best advice for college freshmen and all the things you’ll realize once you start your first year of college.

 

The Best Advice for College Freshmen:

1. It’s okay to not know what you want to do with your life

There’s always so much pressure to have your life all figured out, am I right?

Before you even make it to the first day you’re expected to declare your major and know what you want to do with your life.

If you’re someone who already does, congrats! If you were unsure like me, don’t worry, everything will unfold itself in time.

The good news is that you’re most likely going to be taking a bunch of general ed courses in your first two years of college so there’s still time to try new things and figure your major out later.

Lots of college students change their major at different points in their college career. Don’t be afraid to make that change if the time comes.

In the end, it’s all about what is best for you.

Related: 30 Things that will Transform Your College Dorm

 

2. Be Yourself

College is nothing like high school. You’re going to meet a lot of new people and make new friends in college.

It’s a chance to reinvent yourself and put your best foot forward.

Just make sure you’re authentic and you’re not trying to be something you’re not to impress other people.

I went to a diverse school with over 30,000 students. If your school is that big, you’re almost guaranteed to find people you will genuinely click with.

After all, it’s better to be comfortable and be yourself with people than to have to keep an act going for approval.

 

3. There will be ups and downs, but it’s going to be okay

College can get tough! Life can get tough!

You’ll find yourself extremely stressed out with a lot of deadlines and a lot to do outside of school (especially if you work).

The best piece of advice I can give you is to hang in there.

It may not seem like it at first, but you’ll get through it. Even if it seems like your world is falling apart and someone just ripped the ground up from underneath you.

It will definitely get tough. But you will get through it!

 

4. Learn as much as you can

I don’t just mean in school. I mean from the people around you and the experiences you go through.

One of my favorite quotes by John Dewey is

“we don’t learn from experience, we learn from reflecting on experience.”

If you happen to get a job or internship that offers some valuable skills, soak it all in. You never know when it’ll come in handy down the line.

If you or someone you know makes a stupid decision, learn from it. Don’t repeat the same thing over and over.

And if you meet someone in your field of interest, invite them to lunch to pick their brain and learn from them.

Take advantage (and create) every opportunity to learn something! (People are always willing to help you while you’re young!)

 

5. You’re going to be lost/confused sometimes

You’re not going to have the answer to everything and you’re not going to have a solution to every problem.

That’ll be the case whether it’s something major or whether it’s a minor inconvenience.

You’re not stupid, you’re not clueless, and you’re not hopeless.

You’re human.

Seek out help if you need to and learn from experience.

 

6. You don’t know everything

This is similar to #5 but it applies to your ego and life in general.

If someone (especially an older person) is trying to teach you something about any aspect of life – listen.

You don’t know everything. Get out of your head and put your pride aside so you can learn a valuable lesson.

I know this can be hard because older people always think they know everything and that we know nothing but sometimes there’s a valuable lesson to be learned.

Related: 13 Essential Items Every College Student Needs to Get Through the Semester

 

7. DO NOT TAKE ON MORE THAN YOU CAN HANDLE!

As a way of making friends (and building my resume), I joined about 4 student organizations in my first two years of college and I tried to be active in all of them.

That was on top of 18 credit hour semesters every now and then and working part-time.

Don’t do this to yourself. Do not try to join too many student organizations and take on a heavy load.

Know your limits and prioritize your interests.

Pick 1 or 2 student organizations that you’re interested in and sign up. It’s going to be harder to do more with your schedule. Trust me on this. Some of them are very demanding.

For more advice on how to pick student organizations in college read my ultimate freshman guide.

 

8. Prioritize your health ~ it’s more expensive to be unhealthy

I remember getting a lot of junk food (and fast food) in my freshman and sophomore years of college because it was cheaper (and more appetizing).

Well, guess what? I got sick and had to go to the doctor and it cost me a fortune every time!!!

No matter how appealing it might be to eat out every day or live off of snacks, don’t do it! It’ll have consequences on your health down the line.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s okay to have a snack every now and then, (especially when you go out with your friends) but it shouldn’t be your whole diet.

If you’re considering going vegan (like I am), Sam has a great article on tips for being vegan in college.

 

9. Quality is more important than quantity when it comes to friends

This is a big one. Fortunately for me, I realized this a long time ago. However, a lot of my friends didn’t and they learn just as I learned.

It’s better to have one really amazing and loyal friend than to have 7/8+ fake ones.

Don’t get obsessed with expanding your friend group so much so that you harbor toxic relationships for the sake of being a “socialite.”

Value the people who always have your back and don’t take them for granted. It’s hard to find real friends!

Related post you need to see: 11 Lessons You’ll Learn the Hard Way in College

 

10. Try new things

This is one of the best pieces of advice for college freshmen I can give.

Your freshman year of college is the perfect time to explore your interests and do things outside of your major (and your comfort zone).

You might enjoy some things more than you thought.

And if things don’t work out or take a bad turn, you have 3 more years in college to try new things.

Your workload will be the lightest and you’re also more energetic and eager because college hasn’t worn you out yet! (haha)

 

11. Step outside of your comfort zone

Speaking of which – I’d definitely encourage you to push yourself beyond (what you thought were) your limits.

Trying new things is one aspect of it, but I challenge you to make daring goals and put a plan in motion to achieve them.

If there is something you’ve been holding back on because you’re scared or just very pessimistic about it – do it anyway!

Regret is the worst feeling you can have. It’s better to say something didn’t work out than to ask “what if?”

 

12. Have fun and treat yourself!

Most importantly – don’t forget to enjoy yourself in your first year of college!

I think this one goes without saying because most incoming freshmen have the idea of going out every weekend and having fun.

Personally, I think as long as you’re doing well in school and you’re priorities are in check it’s fine to go out and have fun with your friends!

Don’t forget to treat yourself too!!!

This includes self-care, putting yourself first, and buying yourself something every now and then.

 

 

This post gave you 13 pieces of advice for college freshmen to know what to expect in their first year of college. Like it? Share it!

Advice for College Freshmen - What to Expect and Avoid in College

 


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