“I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.”- Alice, Alice in Wonderland.
College is likely one of the most stressful things that people experience in their young adult lives. Some students come in with really high expectations about the social life aspect of college and fail to realize that there is still a school aspect. Once midterm exam grades come flowing in students FREAK… It can be a shock back into reality for some people. If midterms don’t get you down, there’s any mix of social events, school assignments, work hours, student org commitments, etc that can, and likely will stress you out. Moving away from home, learning how to balance money, scheduling your time properly, trying to be involved and have fun- all of it is a lot for students to balance. And that’s only as a freshman. Sophomore year comes quickly with choosing a major, getting involved with the right organizations, starting to build your resume. Junior year swoops in expecting an internship, making sure you’re in all the right classes, figuring out living arrangements, and then the very exciting senior year. GET A JOB, that pays well, that is in your area of study, starting to pay student loans…. And this is the short list for everything that piles on. So learning to stay positive is VERY important.
There are so many resources for students through universities to talk with people who can help you get through whatever might be going on. Talking with friends or professors when things get tough is super important to not getting in over your head. Bad things happen so making sure that your professors are aware, and your friends are up to date with your situation is key to having the understanding and support that you need to get through things. Going from high school to college can be a huge culture shock, just remember that it gets to the best people. There is ALWAYS a positive thing that can be found amongst the darkest times. Reminding yourself of the good things in your life will keep you going.
Keep feelings light and vibes positive. Always move forward, because the sun will rise in the morning and you will have a fresh start to a new day. Attack life with all your power and you’ll be surprised how much you can conquer.
10 common day items that will become your best friends as a college freshman living in a dorm room. Note: these are not your typical items that you are expected to bring to college like a mini fridge, TV or laptop with Netflix capabilities, headphones, a love of coffee, etc… these are things that your mom currently has at home or that you use in your everyday life that seem unimportant. I promise you, they are the MOST important. No one told me to bring these things, I had to figure it out on my own, and it took a while. I will save you that trouble.
- CLOROX WET CLEANING WIPES- They are sold in large tubs at any grocery like store. BUY MULTIPLE, I CAN NOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH!! These things will be an easy fix to clean up any mess!
The rest are all pretty equally essential…
- Plastic baggies- again… sold in big boxes! You can keep snacks for class, keep your phone dry in the shower room, honestly the possibilities are endless!
- NY Quill- it will come in handy when you’re sick and need to sleep, but even more importantly it will be a lifesaver when it sounds like your neighbors are throwing a party and you have an important exam at 8 am!
- Plastic storage totes- they fit perfectly under a raised bed and you can keep food, extra soap, clean sheets, clothes you’re not wearing often, and SHOES! It can all be tucked into a few totes and pushed under the bed and pulled out super easy when you need them.
- Large reusable water bottle-take it to campus everyday and fill it up before you head back to your room for the night. Then you’ve got a full bottle of water for the night and you avoid the need to buy and keep a ton of plastic water bottles in your room.
- Tupperware containers- leftovers will be your savior when it’s the dead of winter and you don’t want to walk to the dining hall. Anytime you go for food, take and empty container and put your good leftovers in it and keep them in your mini fridge. Midnight snacks have never been easier!
- Post it notes- leave yourself notes!! Notes about test dates, where you parked your car, reminder to pay your phone bill, motivational notes to get you to work out.. anything. College can get overwhelming and it’s very easy to forget even the most important things.
- Flip-flops- these will come in handy for more than the showers. You can throw them on when your floor is gross cause you haven’t vacuumed in weeks, throw them on to run to the bathroom, to do laundry, or run down and pay the pizza guy!
- Paper plates and disposable silverware- you won’t always want to eat in the dining hall so when you take your food to go, or you order pizza, you’ve got things to eat with.
- Gum- keep it EVERYWHERE! You will be running late and not have time to go down the hall to brush your teeth. Or you’ll wake up in your friend’s room “still tired” from the night before, 5 minutes before class starts. Having gum in your bag will be your saving grace.
FIRST OF ALL…
You don’t always meet your “best friends” right away. Your first roommate won’t always be your “soul mate”.
I met so many people in my first semester of college that I got along with right away, and now I couldn’t even tell you their names. I met some of my best friends my freshman year but didn’t get close to them until sophomore year. Those are the people that will be at my wedding and will be in all my college stories that I tell my kids in 20 years. So don’t panic when you can’t find someone that you click with and want to spend a bunch of time with.
Second- A food plan doesn’t mean unlimited food!!
My food plan was about $1,000 and I had to individually purchase meals each day. So once I got to the end of the semester and I realized I had spent $955 already and I had 2 weeks until break, I had $45 to eat with. NOT SMART. Know what your schools food plan is!
Third- Dorms don’t always suck.
Communal showers and bathrooms might be an adjustment, but getting to know people in your hall can be really helpful when you have 3 loads of groceries to carry to the 3rd floor in the middle of winter. And it gives you some other people to binge watch Netflix with when your roommate decides to go workout.
Fourth (and probably most important)- You DON’T have to drink as much alcohol as humanly possible your freshman year.
It might be cool to drink and party with your friends. That doesn’t mean you need to drink everything in site and throw up every night. Learn your limit and don’t let yourself get to crazy. Smartphones are everywhere and your drunk shenanigans can quickly turn into an embarrassing picture that is sent around campus the next day.
Fifth- Most freshman have no idea what they are doing. Don’t be ashamed to ask for a helping hand.
You have advisers and team leaders for a reason. There is always someone who will be more than willing to help answer your questions, help you find your way, or give you some advice. Just ask. We’ve all been there… 2 hours before registration, staring at a list of classes having no idea what the difference between Poly Sci 1 and Human Studies of Poly Sci are. Ask before it’s t0o late.