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10 Things I Wish I Had Known as a Freshman

 

Sometimes I can't believe that I'm already a senior - I still remember that clichéd moment of my freshman year when my parents left me in my dorm room, turned the car around and headed back to Minnesota. But in reality, that was a long time ago, and I've learned a lot since then, both in and out of the classroom. If I could go back and give some advice to my freshman self, what might I say? 

1. Your professors are there to help you. Seriously. If you have a question, it's okay to send an email, to stop by their office hours or to pull them aside after class. My first semester, I was so nervous about looking stupid that I often didn't ask the questions I had, causing me to be even more nervous. Any decent prof will be happy to clear up questions and help you in the course - they're glad you're interested.

2. You're probably going to get sick. Around the third week of class every year, a plague descends on campus. It's almost inescapable. Sudafed is your friend. Also, tissues.

3. Don't work so hard. While some people have the opposite problem, as a freshman, I was always either a) in class or b) studying. Seriously, I'm not sure if I ever spent a Friday night away from my pile of textbooks. It's important to work hard, but you have to relax too! Stress tends to get magnified in college, especially if you never give yourself a break. 

4. Get a planner. Use it. Otherwise you’ll forget something. I promise. Relatedly, post-it notes are the best.

5. You’ll make friends, but you have to put some effort into it. You can’t just sit in your room and hope that someone knocks on your door. Once you start inviting people over or going along with a group to meals, you’ll be much happier.

6. Too much Ramen is bad for your skin. Trust me.

7. College is hard. Even classes in your major may make you feel like a huge idiot. I remember that in one of my first lit classes, I came home in tears because I didn’t see any of the stuff my teacher was talking about. It’s okay. If you care, you’ll work at it. And if you work at it, you’ll learn.

8. Don’t wear your keys around your neck. Seriously, it’s like a neon sign proclaiming “FRESHMAN.” Just don’t.

9. Sh*t’s gonna happen. You will oversleep. You’ll forget about a reading assignment. You’ll go to the wrong classroom and look like an idiot. You may as well get used to it, because it’s inevitable. But…

10. You’ll survive. In fact, it’s going to be amazing. It might seem awful and stressful at times, but not only will you survive all your crises (like when I bought the wrong textbook, found out it was unreturnable and had to spend another $200 on books), you’ll learn from them and thrive after. 

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